The rabbit comes out of the hole.. goes around the tree.. and back into the hole.. now pull…
It’s a bowline.
Its that simple. That simple to teach, that simple to do. And it’s a knot that every Scout must know.
BUT… how many Scouts will try 50 other ways to tie it?  How many times will it take for them to get it right doing it “Their way”?  It’s called the work around.
Many times we teach our Scouts, our kids, our co workers, something that is simple and effective.  We teach them a method or a skill that is time tested and works just fine the way it was intended to be worked.  And yet many will do their very best to find a “Quicker way” or a “Cooler way” to do it.
I watched this at our last camporee when Scouts from all over our district struggled to come up with new and unique ways of completing a skill.  Now I am all for thinking outside of the box and I certainly am the kind of guy that believes that there are better mouse traps out there.. but when it comes to things that are already as simple as it gets, time tested or a method that is the way it supposed to be.  Then I suggest the energy is spent doing the skill, task or method correctly the first time.  I was amazed at the energy that Scouts put into to negative results.
Another way to look at this is of course the Scout Law.  The other night I sat with a few Scouts for their Scoutmaster conferences.  I always ask them what they think of the Scout law and what particular parts of it mean to them.  The energy that a Scout will put out to miss the mark is something that I really do not understand.  I guess its the fact that simple can be hard to these kids that gets me.
According to Webster the word Trustworthy means ‘worthy of confidence and Dependable’.  I think this is a great application of the meaning when it comes to the Scout Law.  Can we be confident in that Scout to do the right thing, to be a good man?  Can we depend on him to make sound decisions and have good judgement?  Simply put, the word literally means ‘worthy of trust’ and yet our Scouts will look for meanings that have little to do with it.  I had one Scout talk about being Trustworthy like this.  “Well it’s like not robbing a bank.. you know that I won’t rob a bank because my parents give me money. ”  Ok.. not the greatest example, but when I hear answers like that, it means to me that they either don’t get it, or they are having a hard time articulating the answer.  Either way, it’s always a good time for me to talk about keeping things simple and doing things right the first time.
So take a look at your Scouts.  How much energy is wasted in looking for ‘the better or cooler way’ and never tying the bowline?
I’m just saying.

Have a Great Scouting Day!


  1. I think our Scouts are struggling because they have been told to not use the same word or parts of the word to define a word. i.e. not use trust or worth to define trustworthy. Add to this that our Scouts have limited vocabularies, and they struggle to come up with the definition.


  2. I don’t see how this would be a bad thing. The more time a Scout spends examining or trying to rework something, the more he understands it. The first time a Scout ties a bowline with a loop larger than just a few inches, that rabbit is nowhere to be found. The more they look at it, the more they can see that it’s the same as a sheet bend tied backwards, so when they’re in a tight space trying to tie upside-down or whatever the case may be, they have a more complete understanding to draw on.

    In the same way, a more complete understanding of “Trustworthy” is useful in other situations. Coming from my position last year as a new college student, the typical definition of “If I tell my parents I’ll do something, I’ll do it, and I’ll always ask permission before I borrow the car” was completely irrelevant. But because I had thought more about trustworthiness, I was able to act in a way that fit my personal expectations: good grades, good friends, and lots of fun.


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