At the end of every Troop meeting our Troop circles up, joins hands, and sings Scout Vespers followed by reciting the Scout Law. This has concluded our meetings for years and has become a great tradition in our Troop.
A couple of weeks ago a young Scout asked why we sing that particular song, since we are not really at a campfire. He thought it was odd that we say “as our campfire fades away” when we are in a meeting hall.
I explained to him, and then the Troop that we always have the spirit of the campfire in us. It is Scout Spirit. There is magic in every campfire and we carry that with us every day.
The campfire within us burns bright showing the world that we are Scouts.
And that is why we say the Scout Law after we sing the song. As the campfire fades we need to add more fuel to it to keep it burning. As we send the Scouts away from the meeting each week we rekindle in them their fire. We remind them that they have a fire burning in them and that they need to live that Scout Spirit using the Oath and Law as their Guide.
So we sing and remind one another of the fire inside each and every one of us.
This is a great tradition in our Troop. I hope your Troop has similar traditions that make Scouting not only fun but meaningful.
What are some of your Troop traditions?
Let us know.
Softly falls the light of day, As our campfire fades away. Silently each Scout should ask Have I done my daily task? Have I kept my honor bright? Can I guiltless sleep tonight? Have I done and have I dared Everything to be prepared?
Listen Lord, oh listen Lord, As I whisper soft and low. Bless my mom and Bless my dad, These are things that they should know. I will keep my honor Bright, The oath and law will be my guide. And mom and dad this you should know, Deep in my heart I love you so. Have a Great Scouting Day!
Before I get into today’s post I want to thank every one for their interest in the review of Scoutbook.com. Unfortunately I was only given three free subscriptions and they went to the first three emails I received. But the response was overwhelming. 50 of you emailed for a shot at the subscription.
So the folks at Scoutbook.com have given me another offer… if you subscribe for a year of Scoutbook and put in THESCOUTMASTERMINUTE in the coupon code at check out you will get 10% off your subscription.
Thank you to Scoutbook.com and thank all of you for supporting me and them.
Now on with the regular scheduled blog post…
Baden Powell understood young men, he had a connection with the way they learned, developed and reacted to teaching styles and learning environments. In the following excerpt from the Lessons from the Varsity life by Lord Baden Powell of Gilwell he discusses the Scout law.
“The Scout Law.
So the Scout Law was not framed as a list Of DON’T’S. Prohibition generally invites evasion since it challenges the- spirit inherent in every red-blooded boy (or man).: The boy is not governed by DON’T, but is led on by DO. The Scout Law, therefore, was devised as a guide to his actions rather than as repressive of his faults. It merely states what is good form and expected of a Scout. 1. A SCOUT’S HONOUR IS TO BE TRUSTED. 2. A SCOUT IS LOYAL. 3. A SCOUT’s DUTY IS TO BE USEFUL. 4. A SCOUT IS A FRIEND TO ALL. 5. A SCOUT IS COURTEOUS. 6. A SCOUT IS A FRIEND TO ANIMALS. 7. A SCOUT OBEYS ORDERS. 8. A SCOUT SMILES AND WHISTLES UNDER ALL DIFFICULTIES.
9. A SCOUT IS THRIFTY.
10. A SCOUT IS CLEAN IN THOUGHT, WORD AND DEED.”
Scouting across the world adopted the law and modified it to meet the needs of the national programs in which they applied. But the rule of DO and not Don’t carried throughout. We learn through our Scout Law what we should Do and Be, not what we should not do or be. Unlike the 10 commandments that teach us what not to do and be, the Scout Law encourages a life of Service and ethical attitudes. It gives us a starting point from which we test our decisions and actions that follow.
I found it interesting that the other day I over heard a man talking about the “Say it out loud test”. This tested whether or not one should engage in something that may not be sound. The way it works is that before you do something, say it out loud. If it does not sound right in your head… don’t do it.
Baden Powell encouraged us to DO the right thing. He did not want to burden us with a list of DON’Ts… DO be Trustworthy, DO be Loyal, DO be Helpful, DO be Friendly, DO be Courteous, DO be Kind, DO be Obedient, DO be Cheerful, DO be Thrifty, DO be Brave, DO be Clean, and DO be Reverent. Putting this positive attitude in our rules to live by makes it easier. We all enjoy it when we are given opportunity and latitude. When I am told that I can do something, I feel a lot better than when someone tells me I can’t.y it out loud. For example, if you are going to rob a bank. Say it out loud. It just sounds wrong… then don’t do it.
Another example; “Hey lets all put a knife in the wall socket”… say it out loud… it does not even sound right, does it? Then don’t do it.
As Scouts and future leaders of America, we encourage you to BE, KNOW, and DO. You know what right looks like.. you have the power to DO it! Have a Great Scouting Day!
Last night I had the pleasure of sitting down with a couple of Webleos Scouts that needed a Scoutmaster Conference to earn their Arrow of Light. I love the opportunity to sit with these young guys, they always have an interesting take on what they want out of Scouting and they are always enthusiastic about coming up to the Troop.
The two fellows last night were no exception. It was apparent that they had been studying for their arrow of light particularly the Oath and Law. In our talk I asked the Webelos if they knew what the elements of the Scout Badge meant. There is a pretty good explanation in the Webelos book and I could tell right away that they knew the parts. They had their own way of sharing it with me, but their collective answers assured me that they had been learning.
I asked them what the two stars represented on the Scout Badge. They struggled for a little as most Scouts do, but then one of the Scouts chimed in with “Heart and Mind”. I hesitated for a minute and then before I could correct the young Scout he continued by saying something that I thought was amazing.
He said, “Heart and Mind… The one star represents our Heart where we find Truth and the other star represents our Mind where we keep Knowledge. They work together to help us do the right thing.” I picked my jaw off the ground and asked him where he got that from. It makes total sense. He said that it was the only way he could remember it. Truth and Knowledge just did not stick in his mind, but heart and mind did. I asked if I could borrow it and he told me that it would be ok.
The other Webelos Scout that was with him said that he could remember that better than Truth and Knowledge also.. I said.. he whatever works guys. The point is that we use the images that help up remember those things that help us become better people.
After our little chat, the two Scouts went over and joined the rest of the troop working on lashing our Gateway for the upcoming camp o ree. After the meeting they came to me and thanked me for my time and asked if they could sign up for our troop now. I thanked them and told them that we would talk, but wanted them to focus on completing the Arrow of Light and we would see them at their cross over.
The more I thought about those two stars I could not help but think that it is more than the Scout Badge.. The two stars were those two young Webelos. They taught me something last night and on the heals of Wood Badge assured me that this Scouting thing is truly a fantastic organization and I thank God that we have little guys like that they keep wanting to be in it. Have a Great Scouting Day!
And on the heals of this great debate, and to be honest… like a reader suggested… I’m ready to stop talking about this and get back to backpacking and other more meaningful subjects…
But on the heals of the debate, yesterday Jason Collins, a professional basketball player in the NBA “Came out” in an interview with Sports Illustrated. This morning on ESPN that is the head line news and Jason is being hailed as a hero. Now, I am not going to rehash my position on homosexuals.. well maybe I should just clarify my belief.
First. People are people and deserve respect no matter who they sleep with. Second. I am not homophobic and believe in live and let live… In short.. I don’t care. Third. I am not gay, it is not my thing, but the “Gay agenda” has little or no impact on me and my life, so… live and let live. And finally, I think when it comes to religion and religious institutions, they should practice what they preach. If it is a sin.. hate the sin.. not the sinner.
Ok.. having said all of that for the last time… I am going to move on. The BSA is going to make a change in the policy. I think they are to far into this to turn back and I think in light of Jason Collins interview, the public will not allow any other decision other than to change the policy to include openly gay Scouts.
So what do we do now? Well, let me tell you what this Scoutmaster is going to do. NOTHING. I will comply with the policy and treat every Scout just like I treat them today. I will keep teaching and coaching. I will train leaders and I will go camping each month with them. Nothing will change in Troop 664. Now, some families may leave due to the fundamental idea that the organization has let them down and changed a policy that they feel contradicts their values. I hear that, but at the end of the day… it is the collective values and training at the unit level that matter. The Oath and Law stand firm. I believe in the Oath and Law and know that they assist in making good citizens and men of character. Gay, Straight, or whatever would be in between.
How I deal with the conversations that happen with those families that will certainly be unhappy with the BSA’s decision is going to be critical in maintaining a positive Scouting experience.
I had a talk the other day with a parent. They shared with me that they did not want to see the policy change. I shared with her that really nothing will change locally and asked if she and her family had up to this point a positive Scouting experience. The answer was yes. so I had to ask if she thought any of that experience would change. She said not locally, but she was disappointed in how the Boy Scouts could let down the majority of its members. I agreed. Like it or not, the BSA is a pretty conservative organization that has took pride in staying the course.
Again, I don’t have a problem with opening up the doors, but that is where the change stops. When a boy joins our Troop we ask him to promise to live the Scout Oath and Law. We expect that they live a certain way in which the values found in the Oath and Law dictate their daily walk. We don’t allow abuse, hazing, or disrespect. And so when a gay boy comes in, he will be expected to do the same. I will not make concessions in the Law and Oath.
I really hope that no one leaves Scouting because of this. But I know it’s going to happen. For that I am sad. I am not leaving. At the core Scouting will still be the best program for our youth and the program will still be selling point that keeps Scouts looking for adventure and developing into great men.
This is the last word on this subject for me.
Now, I need to weigh some gear and get packed for Wood Badge. Have a Great Scouting Day!
“If you aint cheatin’ you aint tryin'”… “it’s only illegal if you get caught”… “No harm.. No foul”…
These three little phrases raise the hair on the back of my neck. They are attitudes that while seem harmless, they dictate an attitude that it’s ok to do wrong.
Last night I was at a Super Bowl party and heard one of these little phrases. With a chuckle and a smile the person saying it followed it up with..”That’s how we roll”… ha ha…
I wonder if they really believe that.. or are just trying to be funny. But then I go back to an old truth that has proven itself over and over again. That is the fact that the first thing out of your mouth is the truth. The mind is not quick to lie and usually those things that are said first, without thought, are what the person is really thinking. And so… that is “How they roll”.
So, if it’s only illegal if you get caught.. then don’t get caught, right? After all.. that’s how you roll. OR… don’t do illegal things, play dirty, commit fouls (both off and on the field) and you don’t have to worry about being caught.
Ok.. here it comes.. and you knew it was on the way..
The Oath and Law… dang.. those two always ruin the fun…
But that’s how we roll. Have a Great Scouting Day!