Scout Law

Effort

The other day I went to the high school to pick up my youngest son from Football practice.  Practice was running late, so I hung out and watched as the players ran sprints and did up downs.  Now, for those of you that have played a little football, you know that after 3 hours of practice the last thing you want to do is wind sprints and up downs.  But the team seemed to run and run and run.  After each lap and set of up downs the coach would tell them to watch the ball and then they would get in a ready position.  The idea was to be disciplined and ready to finish games in the fourth quarter.  He asked the players to give more effort.
The longer they ran.. the less effort the coach would see.  They were tired and as they got more tired, the less effort they would give.. the less effort they gave, the more mistakes they would make, the more mistakes they would make, the more they ran… and so went the cycle.
It all came down to effort.  Who was willing to give more when it counted.
I stood there and watched and thought.. yep, it is about effort.  Life is about effort.  You can over come many things with more effort.  The harder you work, the more you will be rewarded.  If you apply the effort to any task you will eventually see results.
In the fourth quarter, weather that is on the football field, in the classroom, or in a Scout troop effort matters.
Here is what I see way to often… a lack of effort.  I see this in most things in life.  Way to many times we see our young men just try to get by, to “Max the Minimum”.  To give the least amount of effort and expect the same results.
We see that a lot in our Scouts..  Way to often do we see them avoid patrol chores, planning, or pitch in when they are needed.  Way to often do we see them demonstrate a lack of effort when it comes to finishing tasks like service projects.  And then there is advancement.  I see a lot of Scouts that expect to be moved along, just like when they were in Cub Scouts, with their peers.  Or I see the effort coming from their parents.  That lack of effort will not get the work done.  I suppose that’s why only 4% become Eagle Scouts.
Now, we won’t make them do wind sprints and up downs.. no we just encourage them to “Do their best”.. well, I guess what I am saying is that maybe “Their best” is not good enough.  Maybe they need to apply more effort and make their best better.
This is the game of life and where do we want them to be in the fourth quarter.  I want them to be winning.
I want them to be successful.  I want them to work hard for what they get, not expect a hand out or to be “moved along” with their peers.  No I want to see them give the effort to their lives.  It is then that they will appreciate the things that they earn.  It is with more effort that they will be great men.
I love these teachable moments they seem to pass in front of us each day.  Watching as my son and his team mates ran until they proved that they wanted to be winners made me look at other areas of our life.  Wouldn’t it be great if every one in the School gave that much effort, or in the neighborhood and community.
Living the Scout oath and Law takes effort.  It’s not easy and it’s not designed to be.  People that do not give effort just get by.  Those that give extra effort succeed.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Advancement, blog, Character, Competition, Ideals, Scout Law | 5 Comments

Prepared. For Life

As everyone that reads this blog knows, the BSA’s new(er) slogan is as the title reads… “Prepared.  For Life”.   I have often stayed away from advertising gimmicks and jingles.. “An Army of One”, and “Be all that you can Be” come to mind.  But this one hit home as I thought about how Scouting does impact our lives.  Yesterday was my first day back from vacation and so I spent a little time catching up on emails, reading my favorite blogs, and cleaning camping gear.  My good buddy Adam posted a piece about his vacation last week.  It is a great article and illustrated just how Scouting is Preparing us for life.
I was and I suppose still am reluctant to tell this story in light of Adams blog post, but once again I find myself in need of sharing this wonderful thing called Scouting.
Last week we spent at Glacier National Park.  If you have never been.. GO!  It is truly an amazing place.  So as you can imagine when I go camping I go prepared.  We are ready to sustain for a week in comfort and have a good time out in the woods.  This time was no exception.  Since it was family time, I went a lot heavier than I am used to, the big cabin tent, the big stove, the coolers etc.  But I still had my day pack which had my 10 essentials in it and since we were in Glacier NP, a canister of Bear spray.
One afternoon as we sat in camp, a scream came from the road in front of our camp site.  The boys were throwing a football around and one fell.  HE ran straight into our site crying.  Why our site and not to his parents.. I don’t know.  Maybe instinct told him that I had just completed the Wilderness First Aid course, or that I was a Scoutmaster, or he had no idea where he was.. either way.. here he ran into our site bleeding from the hand.
I had him sit down and told him to look me in the eyes.  Josh, my youngest son, had already got to my day pack and retrieved the first aid kit.  I told this youngster to relax and that he was going to be fine.  His alligator tears started to dry and I just kept talking to him.  Found out that in three days he would be turning 9 years old and that he was from Canada.
All the while I gloved up and started treating his cut.  He had fallen on his hand and took a good layer or two of skin off his palm.  Cleaning the area and bandaging with non stick pads I was done with the bleeding part.  Then I started looking for possible fracture.  He asked why I was poking and pressing on his wrist and hand.. I told him I wanted to make sure he was ok.  He was.  Right about that time, his dad came into our camp.  He said he had heard the scream and started heading in this direction.  I told what I had done and that I think everything is going to be ok, keep it clean and if he needed I would change the dressing the next day.
He saw the Scouting stickers on the back of my truck and made a comment about them stating that his son had run to the right place.  “Who else would be ready to anything”, he said referring to the stickers.
So all of this got me to thinking about just how we Prepare our Scouts for life.
It’s not just first aid and camping skills, but as the mission statement states, Making ethical choice throughout their lives.
I often talk in this blog about character and making choices.  Being fit and healthy, being of service to others, and of course skills that will help them get through life.
Scouting is a great platform for this learning, discovery, and practice of the life skills that these young men will need as they go through it.  Being Prepared for as Baden Powell said.. Anything.
So it’s not just about camping and fun.  It truly is a game with a purpose and all of us should remember what that purpose it.  This new(er) slogan.. Prepared.  For Life.  Is the Boy Scouts of America mission statement in three words.  It is our call to action as Scouters.  It is what we are here for.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, comments, fitness, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Just fun, Leadership, Methods, Scout Law, Scouting, Scoutmaster minute, Service, Skills, stories, training | Leave a comment

Going All in

Our Scouts like to play card games.  In their tents.. on picnic tables.. when ever we stop for an extended period of time, it seems that a deck of cards come out.  Now, they are not gambling, no money exchanges hands, and for the most part they are simple games.  But as I watched a recent game I realized that had this been a real hand of poker and they were playing with some skin in the game.. it would be a great metaphor for the Scout Oath and Law and more importantly.. a Life of Character.
You see.. we have the Oath on one hand and we have the Law on the other.  They are the cards that we are dealt and they are the cards we must play.  The cards represent our values, the values that are found in the Scout Law.  The chips we play with represent our character.  As we live the Scout Oath, we promise to live the parts of the Scout Law that shape our character.. and so as we go through the poker game of life, we bet that we are going to keep those promises.  When we have a Royal Flush.. that would be a great hand, we bet it all.  We go all in.
The problem is that ‘going all in’ requires us not to lose.  When we lose this hand, we lose our character.
Now I am willing to go all in.  I have to, and so do you.  You should not pick and choose which parts of the Law are important.  You focus on what needs work and highlight the rest.. but the 12 points of the Scout Law are equally important.
I asked a Scout the other night about values.  I asked him to tell me where he gets some of his values.  The response was immediate.  “Treat other people like you want to be treated” he said.  I asked him if that sounded like the Scout Law.  He did not see it at first, but then I asked if he wanted his friends to trust him.. he said yes.. How about Friendly.. yes.. and courteous.. yes.. we went through each part of the law.  The answer was yes.  So you want people to treat you like they were living the Scout law?  Yes, he said.  Then I told him that he should go all in to. 
We all need to go all in.  See the game with a purpose is a good game.. even when playing cards.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, Scout Law, Values | 2 Comments

Values drive behavior

Today I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, the Dennis Prager Show.  I was listening to an older show in which he was talking about values, which, if you listen to his show for more than 10 minutes you will find that values is the main subject and the answer to most of our problems.  Anyway, the discussion today was about economics vs. values.  The argument was economics does not drive behavior, values drives behavior.  Now I am not going to turn this into a political post.  I could care less what your political affiliation is or how you view our political process.  I am however going to agree with Dennis Prager in his article “Science demands big government”.  Go ahead and read it for yourself and get back to me.  The point that I want to make is that I agree that economics is not the reason for bad behavior.. a lack of values is the reason for bad behavior.  We can all point to example after example of ‘less fortunate’ people that are good citizens, work hard, have good family lives, and do not engage in crime.  We can also point to example after example of ‘rich’ people that are crooks.  Individuals that have it all that do terrible things.  Just look at Madoff and his gang of financial thugs.  Ok.. you get the point there.
It all comes to values.  What values you were taught as a youngster and the values that you keep to drive your behavior.
OK… Are you ready for this… THE SCOUT LAW!
Yes ladies and Gentlemen.. the Scout Law has no economic boundaries, no financial limits, no ethnic affiliation, no class structure.  The Scout law is a set of values that shape behavior to a positive direction and ultimately ask for good behavior.
Take a look at the 12 points of the Scout Law.  These values should be a part of your life.  Take these twelve words and look at them closely.  Which one is not a good value?  Which one would allow you to do harm or demonstrate bad behavior?
The Scout Law is a great foundation for good behavior.  No matter where you live or how you were raised.  Living the Scout law you can not be a bad person.  I challenge you to prove me wrong.  Now.. be honest… you really have to live the Scout law.. not just say the words and call it good.  Saying words do not constitute “living” the values contained in the Scout law.  As much as knowing the 10 commandments without practicing them would not constitute living them.
So if we want to make the world a better place… lets try the Scout law.
One of Baden Powell’s ideas in starting Scouting was not to raise future soldiers but to grow a world wide peace movement.  The values found within the Scout law are universal and found in one form or another in Scouting organizations around the world.
The original Scout law appeared with the publication of Scouting for Boys in 1908 and is as follows

1. A SCOUT’S HONOUR IS TO BE TRUSTED. If a scout says “On my honour it is so,” that means it is so, just as if he had taken a most solemn oath. Similarly, if a scout officer says to a scout, “I trust you on your honour to do this,” the Scout is bound to carry out the order to the very best of his ability, and to let nothing interfere with his doing so. If a scout were to break his honour by telling a lie, or by not carrying out an order exactly when trusted on his honour to do so, he would cease to be a scout, and must hand over his scout badge and never be allowed to wear it again.
2. A SCOUT IS LOYAL to the King, and to his officers, and to his country, and to his employers. He must stick to them through thick and thin against anyone who is their enemy, or who even talks badly of them.
3. A SCOUT’S DUTY IS TO BE USEFUL AND TO HELP OTHERS. And he is to do his duty before anything else, even though he gives up his own pleasure, or comfort, or safety to do it. When in difficulty to know which of two things to do, he must ask himself, “Which is my duty?” that is, “Which is best for other people?”—and do that one. He must Be Prepared at any time to save life, or to help injured persons. And he must do a good turn to somebody every day.
4. A SCOUT IS A FRIEND TO ALL, AND A BROTHER TO EVERY OTHER SCOUT, NO MATTER TO WHAT SOCIAL CLASS THE OTHER BELONGS. If a scout meets another scout, even though a stranger to him, he must speak to him, and help him in any way that he can, either to carry out the duty he is then doing, or by giving him food, or, as far as possible, anything that he may be in want of. A scout must never be a SNOB. A snob is one who looks down upon another because he is poorer, or who is poor and resents another because he is rich. A scout accepts the other man as he finds him, and makes the best of him — “Kim,” the boy scout, was called by the Indians “Little friend of all the world,” and that is the name which every scout should earn for himself.
5. A SCOUT IS COURTEOUS: That is, he is polite to all—but especially to women and children and old people and invalids, cripples, etc. And he must not take any reward for being helpful or courteous.
6. A SCOUT IS A FRIEND TO ANIMALS. He should save them as far as possible from pain, and should not kill any animal unnecessarily, even if it is only a fly—for it is one of God’s creatures.
7. A SCOUT OBEYS ORDERS of his patrol-leader, or scout master without question. Even if he gets an order he does not like, he must do as soldiers and sailors do, he must carry it out all the same because it is his duty; and after he has done it he can come and state any reasons against it: but he must carry out the order at once. That is discipline.
8. A SCOUT SMILES AND WHISTLES under all circumstances. When he gets an order he should obey it cheerily and readily, not in a slow, hang-dog sort of way. Scouts never grouse at hardships, nor whine at each other, nor swear when put out. When you just miss a train, or some one treads on your favourite corn—not that a scout ought to have such things as corns— or under any annoying circumstances, you should force yourself to smile at once, and then whistle a tune, and you will be all right. A scout goes about with a smile on and whistling. It cheers him and cheers other people, especially in time of danger, for he keeps it up then all the same. The punishment for swearing or bad language is for each offence a mug of cold water to be poured down the offender’s sleeve by the other scouts.
9. A SCOUT IS THRIFTY, that is, he saves every penny he can, and puts it in the bank, so that he may have money to keep himself when out of work, and thus not make himself a burden to others; or that he may have money to give away to others when they need it.

These were written for the Scouts in the whole world, yet of course it focused on Scouting in the United Kingdom. As other groups started up Scouting organizations, each modified the laws, for instance ‘loyal to the King’ would be replaced by the equivalent text appropriate for each country.
Baden Powell later added ‘A Scout is Clean in thought and word and Deed’ in the 1911 edition of Scouting for Boys.
The Law around the world is similar.  In Australia the Scout law reads:
A Scout is trustworthy, A Scout is Loyal, A Scout is helpful, A Scout is friendly, A Scout is cheerful, A Scout is considerate, A Scout is thrifty, A Scout is courageous, A Scout is respectful, A Scout cares for the environment.
In Bangladesh the Law looks like this: A Scout’s honour is to be trusted. A Scout is a friend to all.  A Scout is courteous and obedient.  A Scout is kind to animals.  A Scout is cheerful at all times.  A Scout is thrifty.  A Scout is clean in thought,word and deed.
In Germany the Scouts say the Scout Law in this manner;  As a boy scout …… I meet everybody with respect. All scouts are my brothers and sisters.  … I go through the world confidently.  … I am courteous and helpful wherever this is necessary.  … I shall not do things just by halves and shall not give up, even in difficult situations.  … I shall develop my own opinion and stand by it.  … I shall say what I think and do what I say.  … I shall live modestly and in an environmental conscience manner.  … I shall stand by my origins and my faith.
And finally, in Scout Africa the Scouts understand their values like this; A Scout’s honour is to be trusted.  A Scout is loyal.  A Scout’s duty is to be useful and to help others.  A Scout is a friend to all and a brother to every other Scout.  A Scout is courteous.  A Scout is a friend to animals.  A Scout obeys orders.  A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties.  A Scout is thrifty.  A Scout is clean in thought, word and deed.
Given the fact that all of these places on our planet where boys and girls learn through the Scouting movement and share a common set of values.. should we not have a better world?  The answer is yes.. BUT… First.  We need more people to be in Scouts and more important… we need the Scouts to not just recite or rattle off the words of the Scout law.  We need them to LIVE IT!
So take a look at the Scout law.. can you handle it?  Can you live it?  Can it change behavior?
I think so.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Scout Law | 2 Comments

The Duke

Most, if not all of us have hero’s, idols, or sports figures that we are fans of.  Now, I am not one to oogle over celebrities or go out of my way to get an autograph.  In fact I am quite the opposite and continuously preach that we need to be careful of who we “worship” in regards to being fans.
Having said that…
Today is one of my favorite actors birthday’s.  Marion Robert Morrison, also know as John Wayne was born this day in 1907.  Now it can be debated that John Wayne may not be the best role model, but as an actor he always played the hero.  He was an enduring American icon, he epitomized rugged masculinity and is famous for his demeanor, including his distinctive calm voice, walk, and height.  He played Football at USC (not my favorite school… but at least it was Football).
John Wayne as a character and man symbolized American values and ideals.  By the middle of his career, Wayne had developed a larger-than-life image, and as his career progressed, he selected roles that would not compromise his off-screen image. In his last film, the Shootist, he refused to allow his character to shoot a man in the back as was originally scripted, saying “I’ve made over 250 pictures and have never shot a guy in the back. Change it.”
John Wayne was and will always be a character that we can look to as a man!  He treated women with respect, he understood the value of service, he lived through his characters a sense of duty.  In his “real” life he believed in these things also.  He raised his family that way and even toward the end of his life, he publically supported conservative causes and promoted a life of ideals and Values.
Now I know that you have all heard or seen this before, but I am going to post it here on my blog just in case you want to use it or be reminded of the great man who was John Wayne.. yep.. one of my hero’s.
So here is how it went.  John Wayne was invited to speak at a fund-raising dinner for a Scout ranch.  The ranch was to honor Mr. Wayne by naming the ranch the ‘John Wayne Outpost camp’.
At the dinner, John Wayne spoke reciting the Scout Law.  He said during his speech that the” twelve points of the Scout Law are “nice words”. “Trouble is” he continued, “we learn them so young we sometimes don’t get all the understanding that goes with them. I take care of that in my family. As each boy reaches Scout age, I make sure he learns the Scout Law. Then I break it down for him, with a few things I have picked up in more than half a century since I learned it.”
Then be broke down the law like this:
“TRUSTWORTHY  The badge of honesty. Having it lets you look at any man in the eye. Lacking it, he won’t look back. Keep this one at the top of your list.
LOYAL The very word is life itself; for without loyalty we have no love of person or country
HELPFUL Part sharing, part caring. By helping each other, we help ourselves; not to mention mankind.  Be always full of help — the dying man’s last words.
FRIENDLY Brotherhood is part of that word. You can take it in a lot of directions – and do – but make sure and start with brotherhood.
COURTEOUS Allow each person his human dignity; which means a lot more than saying, “Yes, ma’am” and “Thank you, sir.” It reflects an attitude that later in life you wish you had honored more… earlier in life.  Save yourself that problem. Do it now.
KIND This one word would stop wars and erase hatreds. But it’s like your bicycle, it’s just no good unless you get out and use it.
OBEDIENT Starts at home. Practice it in your family. Enlarge it in your friends. Share it with humanity.
CHEERFUL Anyone can put on a happy face when the going is good. The secret is to wear it as a mask for your problems. It might surprise you how many others do the same thing.
THRIFTY Means a lot more than putting pennies away; and it is the opposite of cheap. Common sense covers it just about as well as anything.
BRAVE You don’t have to fight to be brave. Millions of good, fine, decent folks show more bravery than heavyweight champs just by getting out of bed every morning, going out to do a good day’s work, and living the best life they know how against the law of odds. Keep the word handy every day of your life.
CLEAN Soap and water helps a lot on the outside. But it is the inside that counts, and don’t ever forget it.
REVERENT Believe in anything that you want to believe in, but keep God at the top of it. With Him, life can be a beautiful experience. Without Him, you are just biding time.”

John Wayne then thanked those at the dinner for putting his name on the outpost camp and said, “I would rather see it here than on all the theater marquees the world over.”

John Wayne is an American icon.  I have been a fan for as long as I can remember.
I will close with my favorite quote from John Wayne:
“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Ideals, Just fun, Oath and Law, respect, Scout Law, Values | 2 Comments

Methods

Over the last couple of weeks Scouter friends and I have had numerous discussions about Scouting in our District.  After the last Scoutmaster training session it became pretty clear that many Scouters have heard about the methods of Scouting, but do not really put them into practice in their units.  Kind of like knowing that the BSA has a mission statement, but really it only applies at the National Level.. ahhh right?  Ahhhh.. No.
We got to talking last weekend about the methods of Scouting and how we should be using them in our units.  During the outdoor skills portion of the Scoutmaster training, it was unclear to many participants that the methods needed to be used to have a well-rounded program.. for that matter.. a Boy Scout Troop.
So I thought I would discuss the methods of Scouting over the next, lets see, 8 blog posts.
To quickly remind every one of what the methods are, they are:  Ideals, Patrols, Outdoor Program, Advancement, Association with Adults, Personal Growth, Leadership Development, and the Uniform.
Those eight methods are the steps that we take to reach our goals of Citizenship, Character, and Fitness.  The Boy Scout program (or the achievement of the goals) are dependant on all eight methods working at the unit level.
To start off the discussion we will dive into the IDEALS of Scouting. The ideals of Boy Scouting are spelled out in the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout motto, and the Scout slogan. The Boy Scout measures himself against these ideals and continually tries to improve. The goals are high, and, as he reaches for them, he has some control over what and who he becomes.  These ideals are the foundation for everything that follows in the Boy Scout program.  Without the ideals, it is just a club that goes camping.  The building blocks for the Scouts character is directly tied to the ideals found in the Oath and Law.  It is extremely important that every Scout learns the Oath and Law and practices these ideals daily.  As a Scout advances it is a good idea for the Scout to do a self check on where he is in his character development.  This is tough at times and some Scouts will understand or mature at a faster rate than his peers.  That is why the self check is important.  The Scout is not measuring himself against his peers, he is measuring himself against the Oath and Law which are lofty, but simple concepts that grow with the Scout as he negotiates his life.  The basic understanding that he must be a person that strives to achieve those ideas outlined in the Oath and Law is important and should not be taken lightly by the Scoutmaster.  It is ok to call out a Scout that is not demonstrating those values.
The other part of the ideals of the Boy Scouts of America are that they are not only an individual responsibility, but they are ideals, values, that are shared among the group.  We all know and believe that the values expressed in the Oath and Law are good and true.  We can all agree that every Scout, no matter what his background, education level, learning capability, or social status, can live up to the Oath and Law.  It is hard, but it is attainable.  Expecting that from every Scout and Scouter is reasonable.
These shared ideals are the foundation for the rest of the program.  If they are modified or removed, there is no reason to continue.  Character development hinges on the values found in the Oath and Law.
Dictionary.com defines Character as:
(noun)
1.  the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.
2.  one such feature or trait; characteristic.
3.  moral or ethical quality: a man of fine, honorable character.
4.  qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity: It takes character to face up to a bully.
5.  reputation: a stain on one’s character.
The Boy Scouts of America in setting one of its goals to develop men of Character considers this in its values.  Time tested, tried, and unwavering values that shape a mans character.
The qualities of being someone who can be trusted, a man who is loyal to his family, friends, School, work etc.  A young man who is helpful and works with a smile on his face, friendly, courteous and kind.  Someone that is obedient to our laws, parents, employers and faith.  A man with a cheerful spirit not someone who belly aches and brings down the morale of the team.  A man who is thrifty with his money, time, and resources.  This is the man who will develop a sound attitude of stewardship.  Brave is not just for standing up for himself, it is standing up for other people, ideals, values, and that which the Scout believes in.  Being Brave is important in the world we live in where our values are tested daily.  And then the part of a man’s character that keeps him clean and reverent.  These are matters of the mind, heart and body.  The Scout should stay clean of mind and body.  Spiritual health is important to for a well-rounded man of character.  These values, when put in to practice demonstrate the attitudes of character.  They are if you will.. the characteristics of character.  I think we all can agree here that without them Scouting is not Scouting.
The method of our Ideals is the foundation of Scouting and the launching point for all of the rest of the methods.  Everything ultimately comes back to the Oath and Law and as a Scoutmaster we need to continuously teach these values, not only with our words, but our actions.
St. Francis of Assisi said; “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”  We should do the same with the Oath and Law.
Let me know what you think.  Leave a comment or thought.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, comments, fitness, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Methods, Motto, Oath and Law, Scout Law, Scoutmaster minute, training, Values | 1 Comment

SMMPodcast # 104

Welcome back to the SMMPodcast, we dusted off the mic and got back to talking Scouting!  We are trying out a new segment.. “The Mobile Thought”..  In this show, we talk about Reverence, Troop Elections, and Youth Leadership.
Hope you enjoy the show.  Let me know what you think.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Direct LINK
Listen here

Categories: Advancement, blog, Character, Citizenship, Ideals, Leadership, Methods, podcast, respect, Scout Law, Scoutmaster conference, Service, Values | Leave a comment

Tenderfoot and Porn

So if you are reading this.. you are either on the blog or got it via email and you are looking at this post electronically.. it was brought to you from the wonderful world of the internet.  The world-wide web.  I think we can all agree, especially those of us that grew up in an age when the words internet and blog did not exist and the web was something that a spider made, that the internet is a wonderful thing.  Those of us that use the internet as a tool for communicating, learning, sharing, and staying in touch find a lot of value in this great invention.  But like everything, people.. yes people have a tendency to mess things up.
The internet is a great thing, people who manipulate it and find ways to make it harmful, is another story.  It is shame that in this world of great technology we have to be watchful of what is on the net.
I suppose it is much like the stories we hear from our parents about how they never locked their doors in their neighborhood or that they could leave the keys in their cars.  Then times changed and on went the locks and security of belongings took center stage.
I read a study today about pornography on the internet.  It made me sad to hear that the average age of boys that find pornography either by mistake or using a deliberate search for it is 11 years old.  11 years old!!!!  This hit home as we are in the process of working with our new Scouts on their trail to first class.  Internet safety is now just as important as Safe Swim Defense or Youth Protection.  Our youngest Scouts are 11 years old and fall right into the age of the boys in this study.  We talk about bully’s with them, we talk about “Stranger Danger” and the 3 R’s of Youth Protection, but how much do we talk about the “bad parts” of the internet.
We use the internet for everything.  Our Troop has a website, we do a lot of communicating via email and the Facebook site of the Troop and the internet offers great scouting resources.  All of which we want our Scouts to have full access to.  But what about when wondering, inquisitive eyes start searching?  How do we tackle that subject?
Now, there are “Net Nannies” out there and restrictions that you can place on the computer users, but more and more pornography and other questionable sites just seem to pop up.  The sick and twisted individuals that prey on internet users are trying to, as much as we are trying to spread the good word about Scouting, spread their destructive and harmful garbage.  We need to be up front with our Scouts and know that this smut is just a click or two away from this blog and other great sites.  We need to educate them on why these sites are bad.  We need to bring it all back to the Scout Oath and Law.
Is the site I am looking at in keeping with the values and moral code set forth in the Oath and Law?  Would it be something that I would sit with my Mom and Dad and look at?  Education and expectation is critical when introducing this subject to your Scouts.
The internet is a great thing.  I love it and would find it hard to live without now.  There are thousands and thousands of great sites out there.. and then there is lots of garbage too.
Protect your Scouts, Educate your Scouts, and be aware that Tommy Tenderfoot is the average age of a boy in America searching for porn.  Be prepared!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Advancement, blog, Character, Ideals, Oath and Law, Scout Law, technology, Values | Leave a comment

“Do unto others…”

Bare with me as I rant on humanity.
I have been around the world and seen a lot of things… some good, some bad.  Today I had a day which caused me to ask What the hell is wrong with people?
Excuse me if the language is strong or the message makes you feel uncomfortable.. but What the hell is wrong with people?
I am going to assume that if you take the time to read this blog, at some level you agree with the Scout Oath and Law.  You may not agree in total, but we can again assume that you believe that people should be helpful and that we have an obligation to treat others as we wish to be treated.  Right?
Ok.. so lets go from that point then.. we agree at least this much.
Today in the fair city of weirdness (I am glad to say I do not maintain an address within the city limits of Portland) I witnessed to acts that almost got me throwing punches.
First.
The city of Portland has a rather larger transient community.. call them hobo’s, bums, homeless, whatever, the fact is this population has made Portland home.  I am not opposed to this.  Portland has many outreach organizations, shelters, and government sponsored (paid) opportunities for these people.  This has in one way or another made Portland a desirable place to be homeless.  Before I go any further.. please know that this post is not in any way shape or form bashing those that find themselves in these dire straights.  There are many reasons for one to find themselves on the streets and I have the utmost compassion for those in real need.
The story here is how one of Portland’s finer citizens treated one of these folks out on the street. 
I was at an intersection waiting for the light to change.  It was a rather long light, so I found myself watching as a BMW pulled up next to me.  A pan handler approached the BMW with his sign asking for “Anything helps” .. you know the typical verbage on your average Portland pan handlers sign.  The man holding the sign looked like a fellow just down on his luck.  He was clean and dressed in modest clothing.  With him was two kids, I would guess 10 and 14 years old.  They looked embarrassed to be standing on the corner begging.
Then I heard yelling coming from the BMW.  The pan handler said “Thanks anyway” and turned around.  This is where I lost it.  The driver of the BMW then asked, in a loud voice, if the guy wanted a drink.  The man turned around just in time to take a large drink thrown at him.  It soaked him from about the belly to his knees.  The look of shock on the kids faces brought my blood to an immediate boil.  I threw my UPS truck into park and jumped out of the driver’s seat.  I ran up to the driver of the BMW and asked “What the hell is the matter with you?”  He looked at me with a surprised look and then the light turned green and he sped away.
The pan handler had moved back to the curb and told his kids that it was time to go.  I jumped back in my truck and pulled over to clear the intersection.  I had a couple of oranges and a banana in my truck, so I gave it to them.  I told the guy I wished I could do more.  He said “I understand”.  Looking at those kids my heart drop.  I have three at home and would never want to be in that position.
Now to be honest, I probably won’t be down at the shelter tomorrow handing out blankets or serving meals, but I would never treat someone like that guy got treated today.  I know that there are lots of “Street People” that have made that their choice.  Drugs, addictions to alcohol, run aways, many have made the choice to live off of the generosity of the people who pay taxes, give freely of time, talent, and money.  But then there are those, like this guy and his kids that just got a hard knock.  
Second.
I had to fill my truck up tonight on the way home.  Yep, $100 later I thought I may be standing on the corner with a sign, the penalty for driving a F150 I guess, but it holds 21 backpacks and so I will keep on driving it.  I’d rather pay the $100 then let the Prius lobby win!  Anyway, I pulled into the gas station and braced for impact.  As I sat there chatting with the attendant (yeah in Oregon we can’t pump our own gas) A lady pulled up, rolled down her window and started yelling at the attendant.  I thought for a minute, what the heck is she yelling about?  The attendant said he would be right over and started walking toward her car.  Well by now you could hear a pin drop and all attention was on this loud mouth lady.  She said she needed her car filled up and she was not about to pay $3.90 a gallon.  The attendant politely told her that with her Safeway card she would save 3 cents a gallon.  “3 cents!” the lady yelled.. “What the *&$# I am going to do with 3 cents?”  This is where I finally had to ask, “What the hell is wrong with people?”.
After the 3 cents tirade she began a barrage of profanity and berating this young man the likes I have not seen since basic training in the early ’80’s.  The attendant stood silent and took the verbal beating.  Finally, I had enough.  I got out of my car and asked if there was something that I could do to help.  She snapped her head in my direction and told me to mind my own “F'” ing business.  I informed her that she pretty much had made this everyone’s business with her loud attitude.  I asked her to take it easy on this kid.. he’s just pumping gas, doing his job, he doesn’t set the price of gas.  She then warned me to mind my business.  I told the attendant to get his manager and that may he could work something out with this lady.  She told him that he needed to start pumping gas and let loose with a bomb shell of profane words.  As the manager arrived, I turned to her and asked “What the hell is wrong with you”.  The best part of the story is that as she got in her car and drove away.. the back of her car was filled with bumper stickers proclaiming her faith.  “God is my copilot” and “WWJD?”  I am sure he would not have acted like her.
I got home tonight and thought about this incredible day of humanity.  I thought.. naw.. this is just a freak thing… but then I thought, if I saw two of these acts today.. me.. all by myself, how many more are happening everyday all over?
It makes me upset.
What the hell is wrong with people?  At the outset, I assumed that if you read my blog, then you believe in at least parts of the Scout Oath and Law.
“To help other people at all times”, “To do my DUTY to God and my Country”, to be “Helpful, Courteous, and Kind.”  And at the end of the day something that every major religion on Earth preaches.. “To do unto others as you would have done to you”.
Simple.  So what the hell is wrong with people?
I really mean it when I say…
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Oath and Law, respect, Scout Law, Values | 5 Comments

Scouting- A Way of Life

Picked this up along the way.. it still rings true today.
The Scout Oath and Law are a system of principles, and the program of Scouting is the method of making these principles work in the lives of boys.  Let your boys know that the Oath and Law are the rules of the Troop.  Scouting is a great game.  Boys want to know the rules.  When the ideals of the Scout Oath and Law become practical guides for the games, they then become a code to live by.
Keep in mind as you go along that the purpose of Scouting is”‘…to promote,…the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues,…’ by placing emphasis upon the Scout Oath or Promise and Law for Character development, citizenship training, and physical fitness.”
Knowing the purpose of Scouting and the means of achieving it, you will have made a giant stride in the direction of building good men.
Finally, remember that as the first Scoutmaster Handbook put it- “Our purpose in this Boy Scout Movement is not to exploit methods, not to glorify organizations, not to honor Scoutmasters, but to lead boys into useful lives.”
- The New Scoutmaster, Boy Scouts of America, 1958

As much as we all have tried to say this in other words.. that pretty much sums it up.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, fitness, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Methods, Motto, Oath and Law, Scout Law, Scouts, Values | Leave a comment

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