The Scoutmaster's Minutes -- Part 4
The greatest waste of our
natural resources is the number of people who never achieve their potential.
Get out of that slow lane. Shift into that fast lane. If you think you can't,
you won't. If you think you can, there's a good chance you will. Even making
the effort will make you feel like a new person. Reputations are made by
searching for the things that can't be done and doing them. Aim low boring.
Aim high soaring.
It topples governments,
wrecks marriages, ruins careers, busts reputations, causes heartaches,
nightmares, indigestion, spawns suspicion, generates grief, dispatches
innocent people to cry in their pillows. Even its name hisses. It's called
gossip. Office gossip, shop gossip, party gossip. It makes headlines and
headaches. Before you repeat a story, ask yourself: Is it true? Is it
fair? is it necessary? If not, shut up.
Who can tell me what
the Scout slogan is? That's right, "Do a Good Turn daily". The
handbook tells us that a Good Turn is an extra act of kindness. It might
be a big thing like saving somebody's life with courage and skill. Or
could be some small act like picking up trash on the street or helping
a child get his kite out of a tree.
There are two good reasons
for doing Good Turns. One of them, obviously, is that it makes other people
happy. But you will find, if you do a Good Turn daily, that it makes you
feel good, too. Baden Powell, the man who started Scouting in England
almost 80 years ago, said this about a Good Turn: "The real way to
get happiness is by giving it to other people. " Everyone of us should
be doing our Good Turn daily. Are you? If you don't think about it very
often, it's a good idea to start now. We'' be reminding ourselves later
this month when we do a troop Good Turn for ___________. But if you have
the Scouting Spirit, you will do your best to follow the Scout slogan
in your daily life with some small service to your family, your teacher,
your friends, or a perfect stranger.
Thanksgiving is almost
here, and that means a school holiday, probably some football games to
watch, and surely a big meal of turkey with all the trimmings.
It's a great time for
everybody. But before the holiday passes, take a few minutes to think
about what it really means. Thanksgiving started out to be a time for
giving thanks to God for his blessings. We should make sure to keep that
thought in our celebration today.
That doesn't mean we
have to spend the whole holiday time in prayer. By all means we should
enjoy the feast and the football. But we should also remember that a Scout
is reverent, and part of that point of the Scout Law is praying and giving
thanks at appropriate times. So when you sit down to your big Thanksgiving
dinner, don't forget to offer your thanks to God, not only for the food
but for all your other blessings.
Three months from now,
we're going to be celebrating the ___th anniversary of the Boy Scouts
of America. But Scouting is even older than that. It really began ____
years ago on a little island in England. British general named Robert
Baden-Powell took 21 boys camping on this island and tested his ideas
of Scouting for boys.
From that first camp,
the idea grew into a worldwide movement. Baden-Powell was a remarkable
man. You can read a little about him on page 475 of your handbook. Baden-Powell
wrote the first Scout Oath and Law and motto, "Be Prepared. "
He developed the idea for patrols within a troop, and he taught many of
the outdoor skills we learn today. Now let us honor Baden-Powell by repeating
the Scout Oath. (Lead Oath)
Last week I talked about
Baden-Powell, the English general who founded Boy Scouting. While Baden-Powell
was working out his ideas for Scouting, in this country a man named Ernest
Thompson Seton was doing something quite similar. Seton was an author
and an artist, and even before Baden-Powell organized the first Scouts,
Seton had started a boy's organization called the Woodcraft Indians.
His Woodcraft Indians
hiked and camped and studied nature, just as Scouts do. When Baden-Powell's
Boy Scouting idea spread to America, Seton joined in . He became the first
Chief Scout of the Boy Scouts of America, and he did much to spread the
idea of Scouting here.
Seton stressed Indian
lore, and many of his ideas still live in the Order of the Arrow. In honor
of Ernest Thompson Seton let us repeat the Scout Law. (Lead Law)
I told you last week
about Ernest Thompson Seton, who was one of the earliest leaders of the
Boy Scouts of America. Another important leader of the BSA in those days
was Daniel Carter Beard. He was an illustrator and writer of boys' book.
In 1902, ____ years ago he started an organization for boys called the
Sons of Daniel Boone.
In was a pretty informal
organization. Mostly he promoted it by writing magazine articles and letters
to boys. But the Sons of Daniel Boone were forerunners of Boy Scouts,
and Beard became one of the main leaders of Scouting Let's honor Dan Beard
with our patrol calls. (Each patrol gives call)
(Show an ordinary ruler)
What do I have here?
Right, it's a ruler. Some people call it a rule. This one isn't golden
but it does remind me of the Golden Rule. Do you know what the Golden
"Do unto others
as you would have them do unto you. " That's a great guide for living,
Scouts. If we always followed that rule, we would always be kind to others
because no-one wants unkindness done to him.
The trouble is, we aren't
saints. And so we don't always follow the Scout Law - A Scout is kind"
- or the Golden Rule. Some of us follow the Golden Rule for about three
inches. Others makes it eight inches. A few of us might make it all the
way to eleven inches.
How far do you go on
the Golden Rule? Probably not as far as you could. So the next time you're
tempted to do something unkind, or say something that will hurt someone,
stop and think. What will it do to your place on the Golden Rule?
(Hold up a paper carton
or other piece of litter)
This month we've been
talking a lot about conservation of natural resources, and next week on
our campout we're going to tackle some conservation work in the woods.
But one thing we all
do everyday to help is to avoid throwing litter around. (Toss litter in
waste basket. ) I'm not saying that if we avoid littering, a tree will
grow better or a wild creature will benefit. But we will, because a clean
environment looks a lot better, and it will encourage us to do some real
An awful lot of people
are litterbugs. They think nothing of tossing cans, bottles, cartons and
other junk on to the ground wherever they go. It's a disgusting habit,
and one I hope none of you does or will ever start.
As Scouts, we should
live by the Outdoor Code and be clean in our outdoor manners. That means
we never throw litter on the trail and we always leave our campsites better
than we found them. Let's try to remember that all the time, not only
when we're outdoors with the troop.
What's the Scout motto?
That's right, "Be Prepared. " Can anyone tell me where it came
from? Well, it was started by a man who founded the Scouting movement
almost 80 years ago. His name was Robert Baden-Powell. He was an English
general who took the first Scouts camping back in 1907.
He was a most interesting man. If you're curious about him, you can learn
a little by reading page 475 of your handbook.
Baden-Powell was once
asked what the motto meant. What is a Scout supposed to be prepared for?
"Why any old thing,"
That's a tall order.
Life holds a lot of surprises and we can't be prepared for all of them.
But in Scouting you're learning how to handle many surprises and crises.
You learn how to give first aid, how to live comfortably outdoors, give
service to your community and nation, clean up your environment, do good
Turns for people and a host of other things. Later this month we're going
to talk about being prepared to make choices between right and wrong,
Preparing you for life
is what Scouting is all about. We're going to do our best to make you
prepared for any old thing.
Can anybody tell me
what holiday falls on September 17. It's Citizenship Day
or Constitution Day. Probably you've been talking about the reason for
that holiday in school. If you don't already know it, on September 17,
200 years ago, the founders of this country agreed upon the US Constitution.
It is by far the oldest
written constitution of any country in the world, and it is the main reason
that we enjoy freedom today. The Constitution established our form of
government, and perhaps more important, it guarantees the rights of citizenship
that we all enjoy.
Most of us take those
rights for granted. We can't imagine living in a country where people
cannot speak freely, worship God as they wish, or join associations that
criticize the government and blast the President. But there are billions
of people in the world without any of those rights.
Remember that as you
grow older and begin to vote, pay taxes, and perhaps become a leader in
government or civic affairs. The Constitution is the foundation stone
of this country, which is why the President and many other officials take
an oath "to protect and defend the Constitution. " Each of us
should take the same oath because it is the basis of our liberty.
Doctrines, credos, manifestos,
laws, declarations, codes of ethics. Ever since people have been able
to communicate they have compiled words to live by. But the world is still
troubled. Take these words: Honesty, Workmanship, Ambition, Faith, Education,
Charity, Responsibility, Courage. Chances are that four and half billion
people won't agree to live their lives by them. But think how much better
your life would be if just one person does. You.
Scouts, what is a winning
spirit? In some sports, people say that a guy who has the winning spirit
really comes to play. That kind of guy is sometimes called a "gamer".
In Scouting we have
gamers, too. Know who they are? They're the guys who are active in their
patrols and in our troop. They're always trying to learn something new
and to advance from one rank to another.
That kind of guy has
his own motto. His motto is, "Be First Class". From the day
he joins the troop he's shooting for First Class - in rank and in everything
he does. You new Scouts should remember that. Be First Class!
I'm sure all of you
Scouts have played team sports, so you know what teamwork means. Most
football fans see a touchdown run and say, "Wow! Isn't that guy a
great runner?" Maybe he is, but if you have played football you that
what really made the great run was the blockers on the line and in the
secondary. Teamwork made the touchdown. Not just one guy's talents.
Patrols are the same
way. If you win one of our interpatrol contests, or if you have the best
campsite at a camporee, it's not just because one guy is such a great
Scout. It's patrol teamwork.
The secret of patrol
teamwork is have every member do his job, whatever it is. If one Scout
goofs off, the patrol suffers. If every Scout does his part, the patrol
is bound to be a winner.
The winning attitude
is what we call patrol spirit. Is your patrol a winner? I'm not asking
whether you win every contest. I'm asking: Is your patrol doing the very
best that it can and is every member contributing? If your answer is no,
then ask yourself: "Am I doing my very best? Do I have real patrol
Why do we have laws?
What's the purpose of laws? That's right, we need laws to govern society.
To protect life and property and to make rules for the way our society
works. If we had no laws, there would be nothing to stop a man from injuring
someone weaker than himself or stealing from others. Laws are essential
for any civilized society.
But you know, there
are laws and laws. For instance, we speak of the laws of nature. Is that
some kind of written rule that everything in nature must follow? Not really.
It's more like a description of the way the natural world works. The law
of nature tells us that predator animals like lions will kill and eat
prey animals like wildebeests and antelopes - not because they are vicious
but that is nature's way of sustaining her creatures.
Then there's the Scout
Law. Are the 12 points of the Scout Law something that must be obeyed
or you'll go to jail? Of course not. The Scout Law is a different kind
of law. It's a prescription for a good character. But in it's way, the
Scout law is just as important as the laws Congress passes because the
man who follows the Scout Law will be the best kind of citizen. That kind
of citizen tries his best to obey not only the Scout Law but also the
laws of his community, state, and nation. Let's now stand and renew our
pledge to the Scout Law.
This month we're learning
how to measure heights and distances by estimation. It's fun, and it can
be a useful skill in the outdoors - in planning pioneering bridges, for
We measure by estimation
in lots of everyday things, too. In the morning you estimate how much
orange juice you want for breakfast by pouring it into a glass. It's not
a precise amount, just approximate. And you measure by estimation when
you cross a street well before a car comes or when you pass a football
to a running teammate.
One thing most of us
don't measure often enough, though, is ourselves. How often do we stop
and say, "Am I doing the right thing? Is it what a Scout should do?
How am I measuring up to the Scout Oath and Law?" I suggest that
you set aside five minutes a week to pause and ask yourself, "How
am I measuring up?"
Does everybody know
what the word "hibernation" means? That's right, it means to
sleep through the winter. Woodchucks do it. So do some chipmunks, ground
squirrels, bats, and some mice. Bears do a lot of sleeping in the winter,
too, but they're not true hibernators because they sometimes get up and
yawn and look around a little on a warmish winter day.
Did you know that some
Scouts are hibernators, too? They're what we call warm-weather Scouts.
When the air gets cold and there is snow on the ground they'd rather stay
at home than go outdoors as Scouts do.
I hope we don't have
any hibernators in this troop. Leave hibernation to the animals who really
need to do it because it's part of their life cycle. The most important
part of the word "Scouting" is "outing" and in this
troop we like to get outdoors rather that try to find our adventures in
front of a TV set. Part of the fun of Scouting is learning to live comfortably
outdoors all year round. You will find that there is a lot of satisfaction
in knowing that you can take care of yourself in any weather. That doesn't
mean that we're nuts, though; if we get caught in a blizzard with sub-zero
temperatures, we'll come home. But we know how to take care of ourselves
in ordinary winter weather.
So you newer Scouts
can tell your folks that you'll get along just fine with the troop when
we go out later this month. In this troop, Scouting really is outing.
Scouts, did you know
that everybody, including you, has a wild animal behind bars? The wild
animal is your tongue, and the bars are your teeth.
If your tongue is not
trained it can cause a lot of trouble, not only for yourself but for those
around you. Keep those bars of teeth closed until your tongue is so well
trained that you know it won't harm anybody.
Your wild animal can
make trouble by bad-mouthing other people, by gossip and slander, and
by wisecracks at the wrong time. Train your tongue so that it knows the
right time to speak and the time to be quiet. Until you have it fully
trained, keep that wild animal behind bars.
Scouts, have you ever
heard of people who claim to be able to read your character by the lines
in your hand, the shape of your head, or your handwriting. Well, I know
a better way. (Hold up a cooking kit. ) All you have to do is look at
a Scout's cooking kit.
First you ask, "Is
it clean?" Then you ask, "Who cleans it?" Every self-respecting
Scout cleans his own kit. He doesn't expect his mother to do it for him.
The next thing to ask
is, "Has it been used a lot?" We all know that some mess kits
don't get used very often. They're owned by Scouts that some people call
"sandwich -wrapped-in-a-pink-napkin" outdoorsmen. I see some
of you smiling. Of course, I'm not referring to anyone here.
Then there is the Scout
who really uses his cook kit - keeps it clean, too. He can cook with a
stick, and he can cook with aluminum foil. In fact he can cook just about
any way he wants to and have fun doing it. He's our kind of Scout. You
can tell by looking at his cook kit.
You all know what junk
food is - stuff like potato chips, soda pop and candy. Probably you've
heard people say it's not good for you.
I don't think that's
really true. Even junk food has some food value. But it is true that a
steady diet of junk food is not good because you don't get a balanced
diet of vitamins, minerals and protein that you need to grow.
We have what you might
call junk food in troop meetings. They're the games we play just for fun
- not learn any special skill but just because we enjoy them. There's
not a thing wrong with "junk food" games, and I hope you enjoy
them as much as most of you do real junk food.
But they're not all
of Scouting. In our troop activities we try to give you a balanced diet
of Scouting, with some instruction skills and plenty of chances to advance
in rank and to learn useful things.
Take advantage of those
chances. Don't just enjoy the junk food and leave the rest of the meal.
What's the seventh point
of the Scout Law? That's right, "A Scout is obedient. " Our
handbook explains it this way: "A Scout follows the rules of his
family, school and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country.
If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed
in an orderly manner rather than disobey them.
That tells us that some
rules and laws may be unfair, doesn't it? perhaps some are, but there
must be some reason for them. Think about the reason before you try to
change them or ignore them.
This month we're using
some rules for water safety. The rules are called the Safe Swim Defense,
and there is a good reason for all of them. It's to protect your life.
You may think you should
be in a different swimming ability group. Well, if you can prove it, you'll
be put in a higher group. But until then, stay with your buddy and your
group. Obey our swimming supervisors.
Our rules have only
one purpose, to protect you. Remember that when you're in the water.
(Show Boys' Life cartoon
feature "A True Story of Scouts in Action")
Did you see this cartoon
in this month's Boys Life? it's a story of how a Scout saved a life. I
read it every month and I hope you do, too.
In just about every
story, the Scout hero showed a lot of guts in making the rescue. But have
you noticed that he usually demonstrated some skill, too?
More often than not,
in water rescue cases, the Scout here used one of the methods we teach
in this troop. Same thing with rescue breathing cases.
The point is, it takes
more than guts to save a life. It takes skill - the kind of skill that
only comes from practice, practice and more practice.
Maybe you get a little
tired sometimes of practicing rescue breathing, or life saving carries,
or some other skill over and over again. But remember, each time you should
be improving your technique a little bit - and that little bit of extra
skill could mean the difference between life and death if you are called
upon to use it some day.
Tonight I'm going to
tell you a little story that didn't really happen - at least, I don't
think it did. It's about a boy named Brian who had just moved into town
and hadn't any friends.
One night Brian happened
to come by our meeting place and heard us playing. He hung around a while,
listening and looking, but he couldn't get up the nerve to come in. I
guess he was a little bit timid.
Anyway the next week
he was back, hanging around the door. He still couldn't get up his courage
to come in and join us.
Brian was just waiting
around the door when he saw a Scout coming down the street, heading for
our troop meeting. That Scout was you.
That's all the story
I'm going to tell. You have to finish it. What happened? Did you brush
by him or did you invite him to come in?
(Read from page 34, The
Official Boy Scout Handbook. Refer also to the World friendship Fund kit)
"A Scout is friendly.
A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He seeks
to understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs other than
his own. "
That's what the handbook
tells us about the fourth point of the Scout Law. What does it mean? For
one thing it reminds us that we have a lot of brothers. Did you know that
there are some 12 million Scouts in some 115 countries around the world?
Scouting is a lot bigger than our troop, our local council, or even the
Boy Scouts of America. It's a worldwide movement of brothers.
Some of those brothers
are in poor countries. To help them the Boy Scouts of America has the
World friendship Fund, which collects money from American Scouts to buy
uniform materials, supplies and equipment, and to train their adult leaders.
Next week, our troop
will be making a collection for the World Friendship Fund. You don't have
to give a lot. Just contribute one of the quarters you'd use for candy
or a video game at the arcade. It will help. Your contribution doesn't
have to be a bug sacrifice for you to show your friendship for Scouts
around the world. Remember a Scout is friendly
Once a Scoutmaster was
visiting in a new Scout's home. He was there to test the boy for his Scout
badge. Now it happened that this Scout's family owned a parrot.
Well, one of the requirements
for the Scout badge is knowing the motto. The new Scout knew it, of course,
and shouted it out: "Be Prepared!"
The next morning the
Scout's family was awakened by the parrot screeching, "Be Prepared!
Be Prepared!" And for the next few days, until the bird brain had
forgotten it, that household resounded with the Scout motto.
Sometimes, we may be
like that parrot. If we're asked, "What's the Scout motto?"
we're quick with the correct answer. It's easy to remember and say.
But do we ever stop
to think of what it means? Perhaps we would be better Scouts if we asked
ourselves every day, "Am I prepared?" "Am I growing in
the knowledge and skills that will make me a better Scout and a better
Don't be a parrot. Whenever
you say the Scout motto - or the Oath, Law, or slogan - think about what
they really mean. Then try to give them meaning in the way you live your
Last week for the Scoutmasters
Minute, I talked a little about what Scouting was like a half century
ago. You may remember that I said it wasn't very different, at least not
in the basics. The Scouts of the Twenties came into Scouting for the same
reason you did - to enjoy the outdoors, learn some new skills and to have
There's something else
that is not different: Our Scout Oath and Scout Law. Ever since 1910,
more than 75 years ago, boy Scouts have been gathering at troop meetings
and repeating the exact same Scout Oath and Law.
I think that's amazing.
The world has changed in many ways over 75 years. When Scouting was new,
a boy's life was very different. There was no television, no radio, movies
were brand new, most people traveled by horse and carriage or train, adults
worked long hours six days a week - and so did some kids. It was just
a different world.
But the first Boy Scouts
in 1910 pledged themselves to the same Scout Oath and Law. And they tried
to live by it, just as I hope you do today. Let's think about that as
we repeat the Scout Oath and Law. (Lead Oath and Law. )
(Hold up two ropes of different
Which one of these ropes
do you think is stronger? You're right. Common sense tells us that the
thicker rope must be stronger.
But how much stronger?
Is a half inch rope twice as strong as a quarter inch rope? Sound as if
it should be, doesn't it? It's not though. In fact, a half inch rope is
four times stronger than a quarter inch rope of the same material.
Why is that? It's because
there are more strands in the bigger rope, and each strand helps to make
the others stronger. When the strand are laid together in a rope there
strength is much, much greater that when they are separate.
Our troop works the
same way. If the members of your patrol help each other, then your patrol
will be much stronger than if each patrol member does his own thing. And
if all the patrols work together when they're doing things as a troop,
the whole troop becomes much stronger than if each patrol goes its own
So let's share our skills
and knowledge as we share the fun of Scouting. Everybody - you, your patrol,
and our whole troop - will benefit if we pull together.
During the coming months
we'll be doing some things that remind us of Scouting's past. We'll also
try to show you that Scouting is big - worldwide in fact.
More than 100 other
countries have Scouting for their boys, too. A lot of those countries
in the Scouting brotherhood are very poor.
To help the Scouts of
other countries, the Boy Scouts of America has the World Friendship Fund.
It supplies them with uniforms and equipment and helps their leaders get
Next week at our open
house for parents, we will take up a collection for the World Friendship
Fund. Of course you don't have to contribute if you don't want to, but
if you can spare a quarter it will help a brother Scout in another country.
Remember, that in the
Scout Law we say "A Scout is friendly. . . He is a brother to other
When we go hiking we
spend most of our time on trails. Sometimes the going is easy because
the ground is flat and smooth. Other times it's all uphill - steep and
The Scout advancement
trail is like that, too. Some of the requirements for the skill awards
and merit badges are easy for you. Some are tough like an uphill climb
with a 40 pound pack.
This month we're going
to concentrate on helping each other up those steep , rocky hills to earn
skill awards and badges. Why bother? Because by mastering more skills
we grow to be a better person, more independent, better able to take our
place as a responsible citizen.
Some of us may be slower
to advance than others. That's OK. The important thing is that we're all
doing our best to make progress. Because if you're not progressing, you're
really moving backwards - you're getting behind the rest.
Let's all make up our
minds to take a step forward on the advancement trail this month by earning
at least one skill award or merit badge. If you're near First Class now,
make a special effort to reach it in time for the court of honor.
And let's help at least
one other guy over the tough spots on the Scout trail.
A lot of you Scouts
have been working on the Communications skill award and merit badge, and
I hope you've learned the importance of communicating clearly.
(Show walkie talkie.
) With this little device I can throw my voice a half-mile, maybe more.
But what good is it if I don't communicate clearly?
Suppose I radioed you
on this walkie-talkie and said "Go, man! Trapped in cave. In trouble
at Spencer's Mountain. "
Sounds like I'm trapped
in a cave at Spencer's Mountain, right? But what if I used exactly the
same words but said them like this: "Go! Man trapped in cave-in.
Trouble at Spencer's Mountain. "
Quite a different story,
isn't it? No doubt you'd rush to Spencer's Mountain if you heard it either
way. But would you bring a flashlight and rope to fish me out of the cave?
Or would you bring a shovel to dig the other guy out of the cave-in.
As you can see, sometimes
a breakdown in communication can be a matter of life and death.
Back when Scouting was
young, one of our national leaders was Ernest Thompson Seton. He was called
the Chief Scout and he often visited troops and asked Scouts about the
Good Turns they had done.
He wrote a story about
one of his visits in Boys' Life in 1912. To understand
the story you have to know that in those days there were no automatic
washing machines. Clothes were scrubbed in washtubs and wrung out by a
machine called a mangle which you operated by turning a crank.
Seton asked a Scout
about any Good Turns he had done, and the Scout said, "I guess I
did a good many Good Turns. " He explained, "My mother, she
takes in washing, and I turned the mangle, and I guess I gave it a good
many good turns. "
The other Scouts laughed,
of course, but Seton asked him, "Was it your regular job to turn
the mangle, and did you get paid for it?" "No," the Scout
Seton replied, "Well,
then, you did your good turn all right enough, and one of the very best
As you can see from
this story, the Good Turn has been around for a long time. And it's the
same thing it was then - an act of kindness for which you don't get paid.
Last week I told you
a little story about a Good Turn and an early leader of the Boy Scouts
of America named Ernest Thompson Seton.
There was another well-known
leader of Scouting in those days named Daniel Carter Beard. If your grandfather
was a Scout, ask him about Dan Beard because he'll remember him. Dan Beard
was a legend in Scouting until his death in 1941.
Anyway he often wrote
for Boys' Life in those days. I want to read you just a part of his Thanksgiving
message to Boy Scouts in 1913.
Dan Beard wrote: "Fellow
Scouts: You have more opportunities today, you have more people devoted
to your cause, a better chance to become noble, distinguished , brave
citizens than ever before in the world's history. A great ancestry, a
great history, a great country and the finest boys' organization ever
invented. So give three cheers for the Boy Scouts of America, for the
Scout Law, and for Old Glory, our flag!"
That was true then and
it's true now. Let's give three "Hows and an Ugh!" for the Boy
Scouts of America. (Lead cheer)
Our Scout salute and
handshake are ancient signs of bravery and respect. During the colonial
period of our country, many men carried weapons for protection. Sometimes
when they met one another, there was an uneasy moment as each man watched
the others right hand. If it went to his sword or his gun, there might
be a fight. But if it went to his hat, it was a salute of friendship and
The left handshake comes
to us from the Ashanti warriors whom Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of
Scouting, knew almost 100 years ago in West Africa. He saluted them with
his right hand, but the Ashanti chiefs offered their left hands and said,
"In our land only the bravest of the brave shake hands with the left
hand, because to do so we must drop our shields and our protection. "
The Ashantis knew of
Baden-Powell's bravery because they had fought against him and with him,
and they were proud to offer the left hand of bravery.
When you use the Scout
salute and handshake, remember that they are signs of respect and courage.
This month you young
Scouts are learning something about food and cooking and how to use recipes
to whip up a tasty meal. I hope you're learning that following a recipe
is vital to good cooking, unless you're satisfied with hot-dogs and hamburgers
all the time in camp.
You've probably found
out that a pinch of salt, a dash of cinnamon, or a teaspoon of sugar makes
all the difference. In fact, everything in the recipe has a reason for
Scouting is like a recipe
for living. We call the ingredients our ideals - our Oath and Law, our
motto, our slogan. You might say that Scouting's recipe for living calls
for a cup of each of the 12 points of the Scout Law, a tablespoon of Good
Turns, a heaping cup of duty to God and country, and a couple of dashes
of duty to self - that is, physical, mental and moral fitness. Add a quart
or two of fun. Mix well and you have good Scouting.
But if we ignore one
of the ingredients, the Scouting dish doesn't taste as good as it should.
Let's remember that for good Scouting, and a full satisfying life, each
of Scouting's ingredients are important.
Scouts, if you're like
most boys, you don't think of your parents very often. Oh, they're around
all the time, of course, and sometimes they make you do things you don't
want to do.
But how often do you
think of what your parents want from you? Probably not very often. Maybe
you give them gifts at Christmas and their birthdays. But most of us don't
go out of our way to help our parents as much as we might.
I have a suggestion.
Do you know what is the best gift you can give them? I'll tell you.
Parents want most of
all, and have a right to expect, that you will do your best to make them
proud of you. I don't mean by becoming rich or famous, or even by getting
all A's in school - although I hope you do your best at your studies.
The best gift you can
give them is to become the best man you can be. There is no better way
to do that than by living up to the Scout Oath and Law. That is a gift
you can give them right now and all the time, and it is a gift they will
cherish above all others.
Some of you are working
on the Environment skill award or Environmental Science merit badge. You're
learning how everything in nature is connected in some way to everything
else. Some scientists call it the web of nature. Every strand has connections
with other strands. Even rocks, for example, are part of that web because
as they slowly disintegrate over hundreds of years they help to form the
soil we depend on for food.
You're also finding
out that if we pollute or destroy some strand in the web of life, it has
effects on other strands. That's why it's so important that we understand
what we are doing to nature and why as Scouts we sometimes do conservation
projects to help our environment.
What I'm leading up
to is a reminder that, especially when we are camping or hiking, we follow
Scouting's Outdoor Code in all we do. If we obey that Code, we are not
going to damage any strands in the web of life.
Please join me in the
Outdoor Code. (Lead Outdoor Code, page 54, Official Boy Scout Handbook,
by repeat after me method)
Thousands of lucky Scouts
will be at Fort A. P. Hill in Virginia for the 1989 National Scout Jamboree.
We'll have our own troop jamboree next week, but I'm not going to kid
you that it will be as spectacular as the national jamboree.
Still we can have plenty
of fun ourselves, And we can certainly share in the jamboree spirit.
What's that? Well, the
jamboree spirit is the spirit of Scouting and the idea that Scouts everywhere
are brothers. . To me at least it's a marvelous feeling to know that all
over the country - and in 115 other countries around the world - Scouts
like us pledge themselves to the same ideals and purposes that we do.
It's a mighty brotherhood and one I'm proud to belong to.
Next week, as we gather
for our own jamboree, let's take a moment to think about jamboree spirit
and the brotherhood of Scouting. And let's give thanks for our opportunity
to be members of that brotherhood and share in the fun, adventure, and
service that Scouting offers us.
(Hold up buddy tags)
What do I have here,
Scouts? That's right, they're buddy tags. We use them whenever we go in
the water, so that every Scout is responsible for the safety of another
Scout and so the leader knows who is in the water. It's an important way
to make sure that no swimmer gets into trouble because no-one is paying
attention to him.
The buddy plan is really
part of everything we do in Scouting. Remember that in the Scout Oath
we say that we will help other people at all times. In other words, we
are our brother's keeper, and we pledge to act as a buddy would even to
a total stranger.
Maybe I'm stretching
the point a little bit, because you're never going to be a real buddy
to some lady you might give directions to on the street or to some little
kid whose ball you find for him.
Still, the idea of the
Good Turn and the buddy plan are the same in a way. Both call for you
to help another person - to become your brother's keeper. The buddy plan
is absolutely essential when we're in the water and the idea behind it
is important in everything we do.
Five months from now
- in February - we'll be joining in celebrating the 75th birthday of Scouting
in America. Actually, we're going to start celebrating this month.
We'll start by playing
some of the games and learning some skills used by Scouts 60 years ago
- and even further back. On our campout we'll hike into camp the way they
did, and maybe we'll use some of the homemade equipment they did - pots,
pans, and dishes from home, for example. Some of you may want to leave
your sleeping bags at home, because Scouts didn't have them in those days.
But you know, Scouting's
historians tell us that Scouting wasn't all that different from what it
is today. The big attractions were in the outdoors, hiking and camping,
just as they are today.
So your grandfathers
enjoyed the same kind of Scouting that you do. Oh, there are changes,
of course. The early Boy Scouts hiked a lot more than we do, but that
was mainly because they didn't have access to cars. There were cars on
the roads, but not very many.
At home, they didn't
find television or video games, and radio was brand new then. In many
respects, it was a different world. But Scouting wasn't so different.
We are following in their footsteps. Let's see what it was like to be
a Scout 60 -odd years ago. It must have been fun, just as it is today.
In the Scout Law we
say, "A Scout is brave. " What does that mean to you? (Get answers.
Usually we think of
bravery as overcoming fear to take some action that saves a life of helps
someone in some way. Most of the time we're talking about overcoming fear
of physical harm to ourselves.
But there's another
kind of bravery. It's bravery to overcome the fear of ridicule from our
friends. It's the courage that's required to do what you know is right,
even if your friends make fun of you. It may even be tougher than being
brave in a crisis because you usually have more time to think about it.
I know it's sometimes
hard to act right when everybody is urging you to do something you know
is wrong. It takes a courageous Scout - or man - to withstand the pressure
It's not easy - but
it's the mark of a good Scout. Let's try to do our best to be brave in
every situation - the emergency and the pressure from friends.
Scouts, have you ever
considered how important it is to speak clearly and concisely about something
so that the other person is in no doubt about what you mean. Sometimes
we may have described something accurately but have said it in such a
confusing manner that the meaning is totally unclear. Let me explain what
I mean with this little and very accurate definition of the game Cricket.
CRICKET - As explained
to a foreign visitor.
You have two sides,
one out in the field and one in.
Each man that's in the
side that's in, goes out and when he's out he comes in and the next man
goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes
in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming
Sometimes you get men
still in and not out.
When both sides have
been in and out including the not outs.
THAT'S THE END OF THE
For any of you that
know how to play cricket will know that this is a very accurate description.
But it gives the other person no idea at all of what the game is about
and how to play it. Think before you explain something to be sure you
convey your thoughts clearly before you make a fool of yourself and get
A Winner respects those
who are superior to him and tries to learn something from them.
A Loser resents those who are superior and rationalizes their achievements.
A Winner explains.
A Loser explains away.
A Winner says, "Let's
find a way".
A Loser says, "There is no way".
A Winner goes through
A Loser tries to go around it.
A Winner says, "There
should be a better way to do it".
A Loser says, "That's the way it's always been done here".
A Winner shows he's
sorry by making up for it.
A Loser says, "I'm sorry," but does the same thing next time.
A Winner knows what
to fight for and what to compromise on.
A Loser compromises on what he shouldn't, and fights for what isn't worth
A Winner works harder
than a loser and has more time
A Loser is always too busy to do what is necessary.
A Winner is not afraid
A Loser is secretly afraid of winning.
A Winner makes commitments,
A Loser makes promises.
At this moment, somewhere
in our country, a Boy Scout is carrying a flame for Scouting. It's called
the Heritage Flame, and it will be used to light the opening campfire
at the national jamboree next month.
The flame started in
Hawaii several months ago, and ever since relays of Scouts have been carrying
it eastward toward Washington and Fort A. P. Hill in Virginia where the
jamboree will be held. The idea is to draw attention to Scouting on the
75th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America and to show that Scouting's
spirit still burns brightly in this country.
This month we'll have
our own Flame Relay, only we call it a Run for Scouting. But you know
that each of us carries the flame for Scouting in everything we do. As
Scouts we represent the Scouting movement all the time. If we live by
the Scout Oath and Law and Scoutings other ideals our flame burns brightly
and reflects credit on Scouting, our families and ourselves. When we fail
to follow Scoutings ideals - and all of us fail sometimes - our flame
flickers low and may die out. It's all up to each of us to carry the flame
for Scouting proudly by living up to the principles for which Scouting