Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Scout Virtues

There are other things which a scout ought to know and which should be characteristic of him, if he is going to be the kind of scout for which the Boy Scouts of America stand. One of these is obedience. To be a good scout a boy must learn to obey the orders of his patrol leader, scout master, and scout commissioner. He must learn to obey, before he is able to command. He should so learn to discipline and control himself that he will have no thought but to obey the orders of his officers. He should keep such a strong grip on his own life that he will not allow himself to do anything which is ignoble, or which will harm his life or weaken his powers of endurance.

Another virtue of a scout is that of courtesy. A boy scout ought to have a command of polite language. He ought to show that he is a true gentleman by doing little things for others.

Loyalty is also a scout virtue. A scout ought to be loyal to all to whom he has obligations. He ought to stand up courageously for the truth, for his parents and friends.

Another scout virtue is self-respect. He ought to refuse to accept gratuities from anyone, unless absolutely necessary. He ought to work for the money he gets.

For this same reason he should never look down upon anyone who may be poorer than himself, or envy anyone richer than himself. A scout's self-respect will cause him to value his own standing and make him sympathetic toward others who may be, on the one hand, worse off, or, on the other hand, better off as far as wealth is concerned. Scouts know neither a lower nor a higher class, for a scout is one who is a comrade to all and who is ready to share that which he has with others.

The most important scout virtue is that of honor. Indeed, this is the basis of all scout virtues and is closely allied to that of self-respect. When a scout promises to do a thing on his honor, he is bound to do it. The honor of a scout will not permit of anything but the highest and the best and the manliest. The honor of a scout is a sacred thing, and cannot be lightly set aside or trampled on.

Faithfulness to duty is another one of the scout virtues. When it is a scout's duty to do something, he dare not shirk. A scout is faithful to his own interest and the interests of others. He is true to his country and his God.

Another scout virtue is cheerfulness. As the scout law intimates, he must never go about with a sulky air. He must always be bright and smiling, and as the humorist says, "Must always see the doughnut and not the hole." A bright face and a cheery word spread like sunshine from one to another. It is the scout's duty to be a sunshine-maker in the world.

Another scout virtue is that of thoughtfulness, especially to animals; not merely the thoughtfulness that eases a horse from the pain of a badly fitting harness or gives food and drink to an animal that is in need, but also that which keeps a boy from throwing a stone at a cat or tying a tin can on a dog's tail. If a boy scout does not prove his thoughtfulness and friendship for animals, it is quite certain that he never will be really helpful to his comrades or to the men, women, and children who may need his care.

And then the final and chief test of the scout is the doing of a good turn to somebody every day, quietly and without boasting. This is the proof of the scout. It is practical religion, and a boy honors God best when he helps others most. A boy may wear all the scout uniforms made, all the scout badges ever manufactured, know all the woodcraft, campcraft, scoutcraft and other activities of boy scouts, and yet never be a real boy scout. To be a real boy scout means the doing of a good turn every day with the proper motive and if this be done, the boy has a right to be classed with the great scouts that have been of such service to their country. To accomplish this a scout should observe the scout law.

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