Ethics

Ethics. It’s a big word. It can be a loaded word in some ways.

Ethics is typically defined as the fundamental principles of decent human conduct. Merriam-Webster defines it as the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation. In business, it can be taken to encompass the study of universal values such as respect and equality for men and women, fairness in dealings with others and concern for health, safety and the environment.

Does this sound familiar in a Scouting context? It certainly should.

Ethics is at the heart of the values we instill in our young people. Continue reading “Ethics”

Patterns of character

charactercounts_200If you are a civics aficionado, this is a very interesting time. We are in the midst of one of the most notable and volatile presidential campaigns in our country’s history. Much is being said on both sides of the debate, and it’s hard to imagine that anyone could not have formed an opinion by now.

But how do we form our opinions on matters of such great importance as electing our leaders?

As we prepare to choose who will represent us, in offices ranging from city council to the presidency, each of us looks for many factors in deciding who to support.

Undoubtedly, character is one of the most important of these factors, as it is probably the most reliable predictor of what a person would do in office. It’s not easy to gauge someone else’s character – you have to look for the outward signs that give a glimpse of inner traits. Sometimes these are fairly obvious but they can be quite obscure.

Perhaps the most important thing to examine is our own character, and for us Scouters, what better way is there than to hold character up to the light of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. The twelve points give us some solid benchmarks for comparison and judgment. Continue reading “Patterns of character”

Barriers to entry

fence_250Have you ever joined something – a club, team or organization – and had to cross a hurdle in order to be a member?

Clubs have membership requirements. Most sports teams have tryouts. You have to meet the job requirements as a step in getting hired.

Scouting has its membership requirement. For Cub Scouts, it’s really simple – be a boy in grades one through five. Boys need only be eleven years old but not yet eighteen to be a Boy Scout. Simple, right?

We also have our joining requirements, but we let new members in the door before they complete, or even start, fulfilling them. Continue reading “Barriers to entry”

Prepared for life: Not just a motto

prepared_250The Scout motto – Be Prepared – has been with us since the beginning, when Baden-Powell encouraged his young charges to be ready for whatever life might throw their way. It came from his days as a military leader, training his soldiers to be ready both in battle and in peacetime. When asked the meaning of be prepared was, he explained

…a scout must prepare himself by previous thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so that he is never taken by surprise.

B-P said a Scout should be prepared for any old thing. Continue reading “Prepared for life: Not just a motto”

A Scout is helpful, but check first

kettledude_250A Scout is helpful. It’s the third point of the Scout Law. And to help other people at all times is part of the Scout Oath.

Scouts help others every day. Service is part of our rank requirements, and troops and packs do service projects regularly. Service to an organization outside of Scouting is a requirement for Eagle.

As the holiday season approaches, we find ourselves helping out in many ways – collecting food and clothing for the needy, staffing holiday shops at hospitals and churches, caroling in nursing homes and running errands for senior citizens.

You might think that helping with one of the most visible and iconic service projects in America would be right up our alley. Continue reading “A Scout is helpful, but check first”