Way back when I was in scouting, we had two things we would recite each week along with the Pledge of Allegiance. Eighteen years later, and I can still recall them (along with the Preamble to the Constitution that I was forced to memorize in 1997 – thanks Mr. Godin). They were creatively named the Scout Oath and Scout Law. I’ll include them below for reference:
The Scout Oathhttps://www.scouting.org/about/faq/question10/
On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my Country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
The Scout Lawhttps://www.scouting.org/about/faq/question10/
A Scout is: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
For me, these became the guiding beacon not just for being a good scout, but also for being a good citizen, leader and human being. I don’t always make the mark but after 23 years these old words remain a compass.
This felt true for the adults around as I grew up. There was a compass. Theirs may not have come from Scouting specifically, but the movement towards being a better self in order to impact a better community seemed relatively standard. But I see it less so today. Relatives, colleagues and the world around us shifted and that shift is reflected by the people we put in charge.
Lies, conspiracy, fears, and anger are now centerpieces in our elected officials and community representatives. These harmful traits trickle down into our neighborhoods and our homes sowing division, impulsiveness and distrust.
I know there are people who believe leadership should set the example but if we want our communties to be great again, we need that example to originate from the top. How do you want to be represented and lead? As a start, I wouldn’t mind a little more cheerfulness.