To be a Man

I had a nice talk the other night with a friend of mine, a long time Scout and Scouter.  I enjoy our talks because they typically get to the heart of what Scouting is all about.  We were talking about the Aims of Scouting, you know… Citizenship, Character, and Fitness.. but the conversation turned to a theme that has flowed throughout Scouting since its inception in 1907, and really before that as Baden Powell put together the frame work of the organization that would become Scouting.
The idea that we as Scout leaders have a job to do, while we teach and coach these young men camping skills, character, and life skills in general, we are also tasked with teaching them to be men.  Yes MEN.  This may seem obvious and some may ask where I would find that in Scouting literature, and you may not find it.  But look at the program, since the beginning.  It has always been about the virtues or manliness.  As I grew up my Dad tought me to be a man.  And that is not to say just a member of the species.  Respect, Honor, Duty, Courtesy.. those types of things.  Standing up for what is right, defending the weak, treating women with respect, treating everyone with dignity and compassion.  Having a strong heart and faith and exercising both your brain and your brawn when the right situation for them came up. 
I was allowed as a boy to be a boy and explore and grow.  To take risk and learn.  This allowed me to become a man.  Scouting was a major part of that.  It tought me the Scout Law and Oath, great rules for all men to live by.  These rules and promises were consistent with my faith and upbringing and as a result I was not conflicted in the direction that I should go to become a man.  I had great role models.  Teachers, Coaches, Scout leaders, and my Dad, who through there collective actions thought me to be a man.
Now it is my turn, as a Dad and a Scoutmaster to teach young men those qualities of being a man.  It is the job of the Scoutmaster as he teaches Character, Citizenship, and Fitness to add to that manliness.  He does this through his actions and example.
I love this poem and have shared it on many occasions with our young men. 
by  Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build them up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings — nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds worth of distance run — Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!

Bring them up right!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Ideals, Leadership, Methods, respect, Scout Law, Service, Skills, Values | Leave a comment

Lesson in Civility

Recently Skynews reported in an article “10 things that we can learn from Japan”  I thought this was interesting, because beyond the obvious it is a look in the mirror, a way to judge ourselves and the culture in which we are raising our kids.  Not so long ago we witnessed the tragedy of Katrina in New Orleans.  As much as the hurricane left a path of destruction, the pain came from seeing how our fellow man treated one another.  The Rodney King riots is another example.  We can debate justice another time, but the actions following the verdict were just a terrible, if not more than the beating of Rodney King.  In our country we burn cars in the street and vandalize after a sports team wins a championship.. my goodness.. what are we?
Look at natural disasters that have devastated parts of our world and see what man does in its aftermath.  Haiti?  New Orleans?  Los Angels?  Japan?  Take a look at a part of the article about the recent devastation in Japan and use it to measure ourselves as a Nation.. as a World.

1. THE  CALM-  Not a single visual of  chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.
2. THE  DIGNITY-  Disciplined queues for water  and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture. Their patience is  admirable and praiseworthy.
3. THE  ABILITY-  The incredible architects, for  instance. Buildings swayed but didn’t fall. 
4. THE GRACE  (Selflessness)-  People  bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get  something. 
5. THE  ORDER-  No looting in shops. No  honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just  understanding.
6. THE  SACRIFICE-  Fifty workers stayed back to  pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will they ever be repaid?
 7. THE  TENDERNESS-  Restaurants cut prices. An  unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared for the  weak.
 8. THE  TRAINING-  The old and the children, everyone  knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.
 9. THE  MEDIA-  They showed magnificent  restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. Only calm reportage. Most of  all – NO POLITICIANS TRYING TO GET CHEAP MILEAGE.
10. THE  CONSCIENCE-  When the power went off in a  store, people put things back on the shelves and left  quietly.

Now I am not saying the heroic and wonderful things have not happened in our darkest hours, but by and large, we have a lot to learn about civility and humanity.  Whats this got to do with a Scouting Blog.
Read the Oath and Law and see how well the Japanese measure up to it.
Just an observation from one Scouter that wants to be better.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Oath and Law, respect, Scout Law, Values | 1 Comment

Who are you waiting for?

Tonight before I left work I popped into the restroom to clean up, wash my hands etc…  I opened the door to find a sink over flowing and about 6 inches of water on the floor.  One of the sinks had been plugged with paper towel and the sink left on.  I thought to myself “who would do this?”  I turned off the water, rolled up my sleeves and started digging out the paper towels that were jammed into the drain.  Another employee walked in and saw me elbow deep in the sink and standing in the water.  He asked “What are you doing?”.. ” You don’t need to do that, some one else will clean that up.”  I looked at him and asked him who?  And why would I leave it alone.  Just because someone else showed a lack of respect, does not mean that we should.
You see this all comes down to respect.  Someone did not have enough respect for our company and thought it would be funny to be disrespectful.  Waste of water, paper towels, and someone elses time cleaning up the mess is a total lack of respect.
We don’t run in camp, why?  Because you can trip on a guy line and break someone else’s tent.. that is a sign of disrespect.  We see trash all over our town.. a lack of respect.. but then again.. some one else will clean it up.. right?
So who are we waiting for?  Who is it that cleans up our mess?  Who is it that turns off the water?  Who is it that repairs the broken tent?  Who is that pays for waste and abuse?
One act of disrespect causes a wave of “Some one else” having to react.  Some one else cleaning a mess.  Some one else… well you get the point.
Scouts and Scouters.  The word Respect is not in the Scout oath or Law.. or is it.  Don’t you think Every word in the Law has an element of Respect in it?  I do.
So who are you waiting for?
One word… RESPECT.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Leadership, Oath and Law, respect, Values | Tags: | 2 Comments

See one Show one…

A familiar phase heard around my Troop. The universal sign to quiet down and pay attention in Scouting is when someone raises their hand with the Scout sign. It usually takes a second or two.. but then the roar dulls, the whispers stop, and all eyes are focused on the leader that is standing quietly right arm raised.
The Scouts typically say, when they see the sign go up.. “See one..Show one”. It is a simple phrase that means see the sign.. give the sign.. and quiet down. It is a reminder to show the leader some respect and do as instructed.
Tonight while I was on my drive home, I was forced to take a detour. The detour took me through a part of town, that lets just say I would not frequent otherwise. Without being racial or paint a picture with too broad a brush, the residents of this area are often associated with less than desirable activity.. Every town has this part of town… and all of you can relate having watched at least a segment of any major cities news cast.
As I drove I was suddenly stopped at an intersection. Police cars, lights flashing at all corners. One officer directing traffic as to avoid the goings on at the North East corner of the block. My window was down and the officer asked if I could “just sit tight” for a minute. I nodded and turned down the radio to hear the ruckus. A young man came from across the street yelling at the police officer. The language that flew from his mouth would make a merchant marine blush.
He kept yelling “Why don’t you show us some respect? Why don’t you show us some respect?”
The officer, very cool and collected turned to the young man. When they were about ten feet apart, the officer said in a calm voice, “I will show you respect when you show me respect.”
I thought to myself BINGO.. that is all we really can expect.
See one…show one.. its all about respect.
When a leader shows those he leads respect by not yelling and screaming.. those that follow will act accordingly. When we use the Scout sign to still the crowd, the crowd recognizes the sign and complies with it. The leader respects the led in his calm approach, telling the group that he respects them enough to treat them like mature people that are will to listen.
This young man, obviously angry and emotional did not take the time to think about his actions.
It has been said that you catch more bees with honey. The police officer was just there to maintain some order.. he did not need the profanity that was thrown at him, he does not deserve that on any day. When we act in a way that is inappropriate we get a like response.
Kudos to the Portland Police officer that defused that situation with a kind and gentle approach. It was not what the young man wanted to hear.. but I think it stunned him non the less.
The officer is right.. show me some respect.. not as an officer of the law.. but as a man.. a human.. a fellow citizen, and I will show you the same.


Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: respect | 2 Comments

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