Why I Want My Son to Be a Scout

History of the Boy Scouts of America

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Over the weekend I participated in a training for adult leaders in the Boy Scouts of America. One thing that stood out to me was an in–depth discussion we had with regards to the Scout Law.

In the past, I’d thought of the Scout Law as kind of a laundry list of positive attributes which we should aspire to emulate. But, the true intent of the law is so much greater than the simple text that makes it up.

Below is a comprehensive description of each of the foundational scouting values which comprise the law as found at the US Scouting Service Project.

A Scout is…

Trustworthy

A Scout tells the truth. He is honest, and he keeps his promises. People can depend on him.

Loyal

A Scout is true to his family, friends, Scout leaders, school, and nation.

Helpful

A Scout cares about other people. He willingly volunteers to help others without expecting payment or reward.

Friendly

A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He offers his friendship to people of all races and nations, and respects them even if their beliefs and customs are different from his own.

Courteous

A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows that using good manners makes it easier for people to get along.

Kind

A Scout knows there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. Without good reason, he does not harm or kill any living thing.

Obedient

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 disobeying them.

Cheerful

A Scout looks for the bright side of life. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.

Thrifty

A Scout works to pay his own way and to help others. He saves for the future. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property.

Brave

A Scout can face danger although he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him.

Clean

A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He chooses the company of those who live by high standards. He helps keep his home and community clean.

Reverent

A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.

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Image courtesy of freeparking on flickr

That is exactly the type of young man I want my son to grow into. Heck, it’s the type of grown man I strive to be! And that’s precisely why I want my son to be a scout.

What kind of person do you want your children to become? How do you think you can help them develop those qualities? Sound off in the comments below.

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3 thoughts on “Why I Want My Son to Be a Scout

  1. AustinDM

    Well, first of all I impressed myself that I still have them memorized. These are all great and admirable qualities. However, I’m not sure scouting as a practice quite lives up to these ideals. My scouting experience involved the quest for badges, not learning, hiking with too much or not enough supplies and an encyclopedic knowledge on what substances are most flammable.

    I want Morgan to be in scouts for the camaraderie it instills, and hope his troop will be different than mine. I pray I can teach him to honor the ideals of the scout law and motto better than I was taught.

    Matt never gave you a rifle for getting your Eagle either, did he?

  2. Ammon Post author

    Awards and advancements are a part of scouting, but those are a means to an end. The end being turning boys into productive men of integrity.

  3. Steve

    Nice article… I’m doing some interesting research at the moment into badge systems, and what makes them work.

    I was a Scout here in New Zealand. Well, more precisely I was a Cub, Scout, Venturer and Rover right up ’till I joined the Air Force and lost touch with the movement… until recently.

    My daughter kind of fell into Scouting through a friend who was a Kea (pre-Cubs) at the local Scout Group (which just happens to be one of the oldest in NZ and even has ties to royalty going back into the dim dark past). She is loving it, and I’m loving getting reconnected with the things I loved about Scouting myself – I’ve joined the committee for the Group and attend camps with them when I can… and I can see myself with a Group scarf around my neck sometime soon as well.

    I love the skills and experiences that Scouts is giving my daughter – regardless of the Law and Promise which she learned for her investiture (just as I did for mine so many years ago). She is in Cubs now and is just beginning to get into the badge-chase, and thats where my research touches all this.

    I’m researching using a badge system as a means to encourage education in sciences etc – which is not a new idea (take LabRats for example) – but I’m interested in what makes kids strive to collect badges – the psychology aspect. I’d love anyones take on what makes the badge system work – and what (if anything) people would change about it.

    I also have to agree with AustinDM tho, While actually in Scouting you tend to be focussed on the having fun aspect, its really not until later in life you realise that the things you learned have actually helped shape who you are. I feel sorry for people I meet who have never crossed a stream, slept under canvas (or nylon these days), cooked on an upturned empty fruit tin or even embers, or used a compass and map to get from one place to another. While none of those things are useful in my day-to-day life, there have been times when they’ve been invaluable.

    I guess if nothing else, the badges help flesh out the framework of knowledge we pass on to our Cubs and Scouts… They have fun, and get the reward of reducing the amount of free space on their sleeve (and perhaps moving one badge ahead of their mates). They also build on their base of knowledge about the world we live in – and how better to live in it.

    Anyway, thanks again for another small reminder of what its all about

    Steve

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