When I was vis­it­ing fam­i­ly two week­ends ago, I was sit­ting at the kitchen table chat­ting with my moth­er. I hap­pened to lok down at the table and a brochure caught my eye. This brochure was for my old Boy Scout troop. It was their 100th anniver­sary of exis­tance, and they were being hon­ored local­ly by the over­see­ing body for Boyscout troops in that area. It got me think­ing… What are the Boy Scouts to pre­pared­ness??? Before I go all in with my thoughts here, and in full dis­clo­sure, this is also on the tails of anoth­er post that I read a cou­ple weeks ago on anoth­er blog. I can­not remem­ber who’s blog I was on, but remem­ber skim­ming the post and did­n’t real­ly give it as much thought, until I saw that brochure sit­ting on the kitchen table, wait­ing for me to pick it up.

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.

How about the Boy Scout Oath? What is it, and where and how does that fit into prep­ping? Well, here is the oath and my thoughts on this sub­ject:

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:

  • Trust­wor­thy,
  • Loy­al,
  • Help­ful,
  • Friend­ly,
  • Cour­te­ous,
  • Kind,
  • Obe­di­ent,
  • Cheer­ful,
  • Thrifty,
  • Brave,
  • Clean,
  • 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?

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