This month’s point of the Scout Law is “Loyal”. I was having a hard figuring out how to discuss “Loyal” at our recent Pack meeting. Usually we think of loyalty as “fealty”. What I came to realize, was that it also meant “dedication”.
A “loyal fan” is someone who is dedicated to their team – win or lose. They show up to the games. They cheer. They offer their support, and indeed their loyalty to that team, and its players.
For our Scouts, “loyalty” to Scouting means the same thing. We want our Scouts, their parents, and other adult leaders to show up. To participate. To be involved. To be dedicated.
As Scouters we desire this loyalty not to just our events and activities, but to the ideals and principles of Scouting itself. We desire a continual mindfulness and intentionality to the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.
I was away from Scouting for about 25 years. And in looking back over this time, I can see how my Scout Spirit diminished – because I didn’t practice a routine dedication to Scouting principles.
Now that I am back involved with Scouting (through Pack 404), I’m looking back on my Scouting career as a youth, and the Scouting principles that I practiced daily. In particular I’ve been looking at the principles of the Order of the Arrow (the BSA honor camper organization) – Brotherhood, Cheerfulness, Service.
These three principles are so simple, yet so difficult to maintain without a mindfulness to them. When I look back over these “gap years” I see that I wasn’t able to maintain those principles as I had previously. Largely because I wasn’t working to maintain them.
With some recent “Googling” I found this passage from the 1977 edition of the Order of the Arrow (OA) handbook. The passage was written by OA founder, E. Urner Goodman.
“The Order of the Arrow is a ‘thing of the spirit’ rather than of mechanics. Organization, operational procedure, and paraphernalia are necessary in any large and growing movement, but they are not what count in the end.
The things of the spirit count: Brotherhood, in a day when there is too much hatred at home and abroad; Cheerfulness, in a day when the pessimists have the floor; Service, in a day when millions are interested only in getting or grasping rather than giving.”
These words still ring true in 2018 – more than 40 years later. We need to instill in our Scouts a mindfulness to the Scouting Spirit, to the ideals of the Scout Oath and the Scout Law, which can be distilled down into: Brotherhood, Cheerfulness and Service.
By doing so, we can raise a generation that makes a positive difference in their families, their schools, their communities, and eventually their nations, and the world.
This is our charge as Scouting parents and leaders. And what a wonderful charge it is to have.
Yours in Scouting…