Scout Law

I Believe

Yesterday I received an email from a fellow named Thom in PA.  I won’t post his email here, but the jest of it was that he challenged the idea that the Boy Scouts of America should be inclusive of all religion.  His argument is that the Boy Scouts started as a Christian organization sighting the writings of Baden Powell on the subject.  He said that what I talked about in Show # 83 about accepting all is not accurate and that Christianity is the only “True” religion.
While I do not want to engage in a debate on religion, I did think it necessary to state where I stand in this issue.. and possibly reinforce the BSA’s stand on religion.
BSA first.
“The Charter and Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America maintain that no boy can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing his obligation to God. Scouting is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. The Boy Scouts of America does not define what constitutes belief in God or the practice of religion. Membership in a religious organization is not required.
Scouting respects the convictions of those who exercise their constitutional freedom to practice religion as individuals without formal membership in organized religious groups. In all cases religious instruction is the responsibility of the parents or guardians of the Scout and the religious institution to which a Scout belongs. It is the policy of the Boy Scouts of America that the religious organization or institution with which a Scout is connected shall give definitive attention to his religious life.”
We as Scout leaders are to encourage a Scout to explore their faith and recognize their duty to God.  The Scout pledges a “Duty to God” in the Oath, but does not define who or what that God is.  That is up to the individual Scout and his family.
OK, now here is my take.
First of all.. I believe in One God, I believe in his son Jesus Christ who was born of the virgin Mary.  I believe that he was delivered by the Father to take away the sins of the world.  I believe that he was crucified, he died, he was buried, and that he rose from the dead to sit at the right hand of the Father.  He will come again to judge us.  I believe that a church house is not the only place to find and talk to God.  I believe that God has many names, but he is still God.  You may call him God, or Allah,Yahweh, Brahman, Bhagavan, Waheguru, you can call him Tian Zhu, or Shangdi, I don’t care.. he is still God and will answer (in his time) when you call.
I believe that God gave us free will and what we do with that will determine our final destiny.  I do believe in heaven and hell and that when you do whats right you end up in heaven.  I believe in forgiveness and Karma and that both are healthy and both can hurt.  I believe that the Boy Scouts teach young men (and women) to always do whats right.
I believe that no matter what church you call your own, that they all teach basically the same thing and that is the Golden Rule.   “Do unto others as you would have done to you”.  Treat others with compassion, respect, dignity, and love.  I think that the twelve points of the Scout law lead you to the Golden Rule.  Is it a wonder that Reverent is last then?
I don’t think you need religion to teach you that, but since it is there, why not learn from it.
I believe that there are bad people in the world that do bad things, some of them are preachers, teachers, and youth leaders.  Some are politicians and businessmen, all of them excercise that free will that we have been given and all of them will be introduced to karma and will be judged in the end.
I believe that a mans character is precious and should be safeguarded.  It can be given away and never gotten back, but the way to maintain that character is by doing the right thing.. always.  That is what I believe.
I believe that getting out in the wilderness brings me closer to my God.  I know that I have had better talks with him there than in any church.  I am Catholic, and believe what I have learned in the church, but I know that the Church is governed by man.. and that can be a problem sometimes.  I think the church as an institution try to do good things and bring people closer to God, some times it does not seem that way, but the true test is that she has remained for over 2000 years, so something must be right.
I believe that God is who YOU want him, her, or what ever to be.  It is many trails that lead to the same location.
The bottom line Thom in PA… Who are you to judge?  Who are you to tell a young boy that he can not be a Boy Scout because he calls God Allah?  Who are you to exclude a young man because he does not go to your church or he does not prescribe to Christianity?  Who are you to say that the Bible is the only Holy Book?  The Torah had been around long before the Bible.  And what about that Golden Rule?  They have found documentation referring to it dating 1600 years before Christ in Ancient Egypt.
I guess what I am saying is that we are not the ones that need to be defining who God is and what God is.  We all believe, and it is up to the individual to decide what that is.
The BSA does not define God, nor should they.  We have the Oath and the Law and the free will to practice what we preach in that regard.. and you know what.  It all leads to GOOD, and in God’s eyes.. that’s ok.
He told me so.

Have a Blessed Easter everyone.. and a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Ideals, Oath and Law, respect, Scout Law, Values | Tags: | 2 Comments

A Scout is Reverent SMMPodcast #83

In this show we explore ways that we can encourage our Scouts to find their faith.  A Scout is Reverent, so how do we help them practice it?
In this show we also start our new segment Blog Roll!
This show is sponsored by the Other Scoutmaster Handbook
Enjoy the Show!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

 Standard Podcast [32:03m]: Hide Player | Play in Popup | Download

Join the forum discussion on this post

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

Is someone watching?

Have you ever seen those TV shows where they have hidden cameras, trying to either catch someone doing something stupid or trapping them in a situation they have to explain away?
They are great testaments to how people act and what they will do.  Yesterday while on my route I wondered if I was being placed in one of those situations, and truth be told, they answer is sort of.
I drove up to a stop and noticed that there was a bundle of money laying in the street at the end of a drive way.  I pulled forward, selected the package and began to walk to the house.  In my path were these bills.  I picked them up and carried them to the house.   I set the package down by the door and placed the money on top of the packages, knocked on the door and walked away.
As I approached my truck and man came running from the neighboring house.  He asked me to stop and I did.  Asking him if he had a question, the man replied “What did you do with the money?  Give me the Money!.. there was $43 dollars there and I saw you pick it up.”
I explained to him that the money was sitting on the package that I left at his neighbors door and he would find it all there.  He went to the door and found the money.  Walking back toward me he explained that he had placed the money there and that they have had a rash of theft in the neighborhood and he was trying to catch someone in the act.  He pointed out that several neighbors had installed cameras on their front porches and that they would catch whomever was stealing from them.
I told him that would never be me and he said “I see that”.
Ever since I was a little boy I have been taught that a true test of your character is what you do when others are not looking.  Its is always easy to put on an act in front of people, but what you do when the spot light is not on you really tests your character.
I tell this to our scouts all the time and hope that what they are learning in Scouting will make them good men of character.  Its pretty simple really.  Just do the right thing.. always and you have nothing to worry about.
If you ever find yourself looking over your shoulder.. you are about to do something wrong.  Let Character be your guide.  You can find a great set of rules that guide your character in the Scout Law.
That man that challenged me over $43 learned that that there are still people in our community that have character. 

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Oath and Law, Scout Law, Values | Leave a comment

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

>A moment of your time


The other day I was out and about and I ended up in the check out line at a local store.  There was an elderly gentleman in line ahead of me waiting patiently as the check out clerk seemed to be struggling a bit.
It was one of the weird situations where no one really talks, let alone makes eye contact.  I was thumbing through some notes on my iPhone when I looked up and there he was.. making eye contact with me, the elderly man was staring at me with a puzzled look on his face.  I smiled and said “Hey, how ya doing?”  He nodded his head and replied “very well, thank you for asking.”  He asked what I had there in my hand and why young people can’t seem to live without “all these devices”?  I told him it was my phone and it really has made my life more organized.  He told me that when he was a young man, he carried a little note book and it did the same thing at a tenth of the cost.  I laughed, as did he and then he asked what was so important that it had my attention in the check out line.  I told him I was reviewing the roster of my Scout Troop for the up coming camp out.  He said “Really?  You can do that?  I told him “Sure, would you like to see?”  We moved up a few steps in line and I showed him the roster, then some pictures from the National Jamboree, and then a few other cool apps, like the one you can see the stars and planets with.  He was amazed and a great conversation started.  He told me that he had been in Scouts back in the 40’s and 50’s and was a Scoutmaster till he had to go off to war in Korea.  He said that he had been to the Jamboree at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in 1950.  “It was the biggest thing I ever did in Scouting” he said.  I shared with him my Jamboree experience of last year and told him it too was the biggest thing I have ever done in Scouting.  Well, the conversation went on till it was finally his turn to check out.  The clerk had a button on that read “IN TRAINING”.  She was very apologetic and fumbled to get everything in the mans bag.  He walked away and it was my turn to check out.  I smiled at her and told her that it was fine on about the fifth time she glanced at me and said “sorry”.  I assured her that she was not the first person to have worn a “IN TRAINING” button and that it was going to be ok.  She said thanks and gave me my change.
I walked out of the store to find the elderly man sitting on a bench.  I asked if everything was ok?  He said it was, and that he was just waiting on the bus to take him back to the retirement home.  I asked if he needed company.  He did not want to bother.. I told him I had nothing but time.  We sat and talked for about 20 minutes, he told me his wife had passed a few years back and now he just kinda wanders through his last days.  He shared some fond memories of his Scouting days and time he spent with his sons camping, he said he missed those days and wished he could go back in time.  He was all alone, yeah, the retirement home was nice and had a great staff, but most of the old folks just played cards and took naps.. I laughed.  And the bus arrived.  He shook my hand, smiled and got on the bus.  As he drove away, he looked out the window and gave me a Scout salute.  He had a big grin on his face.
Heading to my truck I could not help but smile and think about what a great guy that was.  Some ones Dad, Uncle, Grandpa.. A veteran, a Scout, a great guy.
You know, Doing a good turn each day might just mean giving someone a moment of your time.  It made his day I am sure… because it sure did make mine.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Good Turn Daily, Scout Law, Scouting, Scoutmaster minute | 5 Comments

“Each day I examine myself on three counts: whether or not I am loyal to those in whose behalf I act; whether or not I am trustworthy in my dealings with friends; whether or not I practice what is imparted.”
— Tseng Tzu

Thought this was worth passing on. Found it in my Franklin Planner. A great way of waking up every morning and setting a course for your day. Also a great way to lay your head down at night and reflect on your life of Character.
It seems that the Scout Law is not just for Scouts…

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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A Scout is….

Just words… Right?
If you have not listened to the two mp3 files in the previous posts.. STOP now and listen to them, then come back and read this one.

There are times in your life that you hear something, smell something, see something, that causes you to pause and evaluate. Either a memory or a feeling, or a way in which you want something to be.
Stumbling on the speeches by Rabbi Hyman and Admiral Carmona and hearing their message got me to thinking about Character and more specifically what makes up Character.
All organizations have what they call their Core Values. They are the set of Values that are to shape the people in the organization. Shape their attitudes and character to make the organization and those in it better. It is a simple philosophy that calls for the people in the organization to do what is right.
When I was in the Army, we were taught from the first day the Core Values of the Army. Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.
These Values became a part of everyday life and a set of rules that we held each other in account with. They were shared by all, weather you came to the Army with them, or established your core once you got there. These values became the foundation of our lives. It drove us to never let the organization down and to do our best in everything we did. The values are a set of virtues that we adopted as a group that asked us to have Honor and Courage and to do what is right.
The Marines summed it up with “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful) with their Values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. They share the same values which motivate a group to do what is right, not just for themselves, but more importantly for those around them. What are they faithful to? To the Marines? To the Country? To Each other? The answer… all of the above.
There is an understanding in the Core Values that there is something greater than themselves. That the good of the group and those that they serve are more important and deserve greater attention than person needs and wants.
Major Corporations also present a set of Core Values within their organizations. And they too are established to set a path for the members of the organization to succeed, to serve, and to share in living a life which guides them to do right.
For example, UPS’s values of integrity, diligence, innovation, courtesy, promptness, reliability and, yes, even appearance are the yardsticks by which every employee, product, and decision is measured.
And when the employees or members of an organization embrace the values, the people and organization are better.
And so it is within Scouting. From the beginning, Baden Powell taught the Scouts and Scout leaders the Values of Service, of Honor, of Duty to God and Country. Today we continue to teach and live the Values found within the Scout Oath and Law.
We ask that each member of our organization practice in their daily lives the core values of Duty to God and Country, to live the Scout Law, to help other people at all times and to keep the promises made about themselves; to keep themselves physically Strong, mentally awake, and morally Straight.
The Values that shape us a Scouts and Scouters; Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent cause the member to live a decent life. A life of service to others and a life that directs them to do what is right.
Weather they are found in the Army, the Marines, UPS, or the Boy Scouts of America, Core Values are the foundation, the building blocks, the bedrock of an organization and its members.
When those values are learned, developed, and practiced, the organization is better and the people within it become people of strong Character. And that leads others to respect and admiration.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, Oath and Law, Scout Law, Values | Leave a comment

Content of Character

Ok.. this may be taking the easy way out.. but when you hear something that makes you sit up and listen you need to pay attention… and share it.

Rabbi Peter Hyman
Chairman, National Jewish Committee on Scouting

“The twelfth point of the Scout law is not just about theology. It is also about community. We are a community united by a set of values, reflected on a breathtaking sea of diversity, and those values reveal our character. In our reaching up to God, we find ourselves standing closer to one another. This is the profound lesson that we, the Boy Scouts of America, teach the world.”

Listen to his speech at the National Meetings of the Boy Scouts of America.
Take the 26 minutes and hear Rabbi Peter Hyman talk about Reverence and Content of Character.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Character, Scout Law | Leave a comment


This last weekend we learned a little more about Trustworthy.
Trustworthy often is interpreted as telling the truth and being able to be trusted in a truthful kind of way.
Trustworthy is extended in ourselves also in trusting each other not only being truthful, but physically too.
We learned to trust each other on belay this weekend, literally putting your safety in the hands of another. We learned to trust our knots and gear. We snapped a caribiner on a rope and onto our harness and walked off a cliff. That takes trust. You have got to be able to trust the folks that set up the climbing area. Did they hook everything up right?
So trustworthy does not stop at telling the truth. It extends to our inner trust of others and of things we use.
There are people in our lives that will never have the level of trust that our Scouts learned this weekend, and they will be better for it forever.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Scout Law | Leave a comment

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