So let’s outline a few things first. What is the Boy Scout Motto? I am assuming many already know this… Maybe I am wrong, but it is Be Prepared. Let’s examine this for a moment. Prepping is the concept of readying yourself and your family for an unforeseen event that could cause you and/or your family to be in as situation where you may otherwise not be ready to handle a situation that would cause harm and stress to those around you. Of course, this is my definition, however, let’s examine the concept of “Be Prepared.” Be prepared for what? It is a pretty broad sweeping statement. The answer; Be prepared for anything. Period. I know what you are thinking. How am I going to be prepared for anything? Well, (and I am not knocking anyone here), should a young many make it to Eagle Scout, like my good friend Kevin did 25 years ago (I did not, but more on that later), one would have earned many Merit Badges for skills they would have learned and would have had to execute successfully as well as be tested on. There are more than 100 Merit Badges for skills in existence that can be earned by a scout today.
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
So again, what does this all mean… It sounds good but let”s diusect it a bit and break it down…
Duty to God and Country: My family was a mixed religious household, by no means does this have to apply to you, it is just a little history for me and how it applies to me, I think, and maybe others as well… In my mixed religious household, one thing was constant, both religions believed in the same God. So for all intents and purposes my family taught me to know and serve God. No I may not have always been on the straight and narrow as a kid, buyt my point here is that the family values religion taught were part of what was supposed to translate to Scouting and the scouting lifestyle. Notice I called it a lifestyle. This lifestyle is supposed to translate into a core value system for you to live by.
The second peice of the above, duty to your country, translates to this: Hundreds of thousands of Americans and non-Americans have served this country in the military, politics, as voulenteers, and more to make this one of the greatest countries in the world. Many have died or have almost died to give you and I what we believe in, and continue to do so even today. By recognizing this and understanding your value system, by being good to your family and being a good family member, by working towards the greater good, being aware of what is happening in your country, by doing your civic duty of voting, and so much more, you do your duty to your country.
Duty to others: Peole need help not only when the economy is poor, not only when things are bad, but many people need help daily just to make it through the day. That doesn’t mean you need to stop and help everyone you see during the day. Maybe someone is having a bad day and a smile or a kind word can help them to make it through… Maybe just by opening the door for someone that has their hands full helps them out and they recognize it… You help to make their world better for the moment… You don’t have to be a Boy Scout to “Do a Good Turn Daily.”
Duty to self: I think this one can be misunderstood… This little piece of the Oath means to take care of yourself mentally and physically… It means you have a duty to yourself to know and understand what is going on around you at all times. To be aware of what is happening in front of you and around the world, and how it might affect you personally. It means to always be learning. Ask questions, be intellectually curious about what goes on around you. It means eat right and not to have to many McDonalds or Burger King hamburgers every day/week… It means to make sure you are phycally fit as best you can be, and take care of your body. It means to live honestly and not to deceive, cheat, steal, or harm. To be transparent and clear in your actions and with what you say. To be someone of strong Principle, Strength, and Integrity. Translation, someone of good Character.
So, with all of that, we have the “Scout Law.” To me the Scout Law is a set of basic values to live by that will help you to make the right decisions when you are in any given situation ‘preparing’ you to do the right thing. Here is the Scout Law:
A Scout is:
- and Reverent.
I am not going to get into what I think each one means to preparedness… I think many of these are self explanatory, such as Thrifty, Clean, Brave, Kind, etc… You can apply your own definitions that make sense to you and your family… The applied definitions will no doubt be similar to others by other readers. I have a personal belief that if we are all on the same page as peppers some of our values overlap, and our definitions will be similar in nature…
What I find compelling about this, is that I didn’t make the connection with my own life and scouting when I was a young man. I had my own set of values, and moral standards that probably didn’t meet the scouting standard. I was a kid, what can I say.
Today I look back and see connections I never thought I would see. Today I connect with many of the criteria in the Scout Law, trying to actively “Do my good turn daily,” even if it is something as holding the door open for someone, or helping them understand why prepping is the smart thing to do. Other connections have come in time as well. While I love my parents, I also think they were pretty passive about values, and thought that they just come in time. I think that had to do with the multi religious household. Mom, being Roman Catholic and a woman of religion got a lot of her value system from the Catholic Church. Dad a German Jew, got a lot of his values from his mother and Synagogue. And me, I had a LOT of questions, which I translated into my own value system for a good portion of my adolescence.
In hindsight, I think I would have liked to make a connection with the above list earlier than I have, but as discussed earlier… My questions have lead me down a different path. Not a bad one, just different.
In the end, however, the values that the Boy Scouts bring to prepping is one that should be a natural progression. One that helps create a man of integrity that wants to preserve his and his family’s way of life.
How has Boy Scouting made a difference in your life, and/or your prepping?
Very nice! And you’re right, at it’s core, prepping is nothing more than hoping for the best and preparing for the worse.
I was a cub scout as a kid, but gave up when Boy Scouts started because I was doing other stuff.
I think I commented before, but one narrative to use to talk to non-preppers is to think of yourself as a Man-Scout practicing a grown-up version of Boy Scouting, by always being prepared. Instead of getting merit badges, my goal is to get some skills directly related to being prepared and always be learning something! Once again, Man-Scout style!
Here is a link to the Boy Scouts of America online version of their Fieldguide. Great read for anyone who is into camping, and or outdoor survival even if you read it when you were young.
I like the Man-scout reference. That’s how I see CERT and ARES today. I laughed at the field guide reference too, because I have one still knocking around in my camping duffles.
This program gave alot to me. Both as a scout and as a leader. I stayed with it to Eagle, and it’s still the first thing I list when people ask me about myself as a prepper. It’s not just because it’s chronologically my first prepper achievement either. It’s because it gives a boy a firm foundation for other skills. I learned to shoot growing hunting, but I shot competatively for the first time in the BSA and it’s been a lifelong passion. I can’t imagine where I’d be without the Scouting Program. I highly doubt that I’d see myself in the same way as an adult without it.