The Boy Scouts: The best of memories and a mutant in today’s world

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 If it were widely known how masterly the  book (The Boy Scout Handbook) inculcates conservative values, it would, like Socrates, be charged with corrupting the nation’s youth.:~Joe Carter

As a boy, I was a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout. Those are some of my best memories. So positive and connected to the now. Wholesome, earthy, masculine, honorable. In some ways, too, it gave me a sense of family that I didn’t get at home. I look back fondly on those days. Weeks at Camp Roosevelt   , climbing Mt. Katahdin (no small feat for a kid!), sitting around campfires at night while the Scout Master played his guitar and sang songs.

Perhaps I only remember the world through the innocent eyes of childhood. But let me give you an example of what we have become:

Yesterday, because I’m recently promoted to Sergeant, I went to get a new military identification card. A soap opera played on the television in the lobby. Predictably, some girl on the show was having an illicit affair with a man whose hair clearly took up a good amount of his time ensuring that it had the “messy look.”

The show gave the lobby an uncomfortable atmosphere, though the young woman in the lobby looked positively engrossed by it. A women who worked in the office came out and said that she had to change the channel because the soap operas talk about the “S-Word” so much. She changed the show to Oprah, sat for a few seconds and said: “She can talk about bad stuff, too, but let me know if anything bad comes on.” She went back to her office and began tending to a group of 3-4 people.

Sure enough, Oprah was not to disappoint my theory that she is largely responsible for our cultural decline. The recent episode was about mothers who found out that their sons were cross-dressing gays.

I didn’t bother to go in and tell the woman about the show. Given today’s tastes, I’m sure there were plenty of people in the room that wanted to see the high school quarterback dressed in drag. I wasn’t one of them, so I got up and walked around a bit.

Juxtopose this against all of the things we did as Boy Scouts.

The Scout Oath:

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 Boy Scout Handbook. I read my copy over and over.

It’s actually amazing to me that an organization like the Boy Scouts has managed to stay alive in our world. Gays, of course, have made every attempt to infiltrate the Boy Scouts, because it pains them greatly that any traditional organization could exist in this world. The military, the Catholic church, The Scouts, it’s as if the traditional anti-gay stance of these entities gives a degree of exhibitionist euphoria to the homosexuals who manage to crack their ranks.

I digress.

Maybe not too much, though. The Boy Scouts are an anathema in a post-modern world, a world that holds cynicism in high regard, where men get a much-thought-deserved beat-down on The View, and God died on a reality TV show. The Boy Scout mottos is : Always be prepared. Today’s motto is: Always blame someone else.

It’s interesting how psychological paradigms flow. I loved the Boy Scouts. One of my favorite authors is Rudyard Kipling. Kipling’s spirit runs through Scouting. The founder of the Boy Scouts, Robert Baden-Powell used many of the themes on Kipling’s children’s materpiece, The Jungle Book in Cub Scouting. I was not aware of the association until recently, and yet somehow a part of me sensed the kindred spirits of Kipling and The Boy Scouts.

Rudyard Kipling in his study
Robert Baden-Powell: Soldier, artist, author and philanthropist

If you want to read about an interesting life, you need to read about Sir Robert Baden-Powell, whom was a British Lt. General in the British Army and served for over 30 years in Africa, fighting the Second Boer war and several other engagements. What a man. Actually, he was very famous in his day, so famous in fact, that when he finally took a wife at the age of 55, they had to marry in secret because of public interest.

When I return from my military duties in Afghanistan, I plan on getting involved in local Scouting events. It’s a great way to contribute to the community, foster positive relationships with good people and just get out into the open air. I believe that to be happy, we must find a way to make others happy. We must find something that interests us, something that makes us happy, and use it to bring happiness to others. It’s taken me a long time to realize this, and I have not yet applied it with a master’s skill. It’s as if God, with a wink and a nod, made giving the key to contentment, then said: “You figure it out. I won’t make a denial of self nearly as painful as you think it is.”

I’ll leave you with the final letter written by Robert Baden-Powell to the Boy Scouts:

I have had a most happy life and I want each one of you to have a happy life too. I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness does not come from being rich, nor merely being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence. One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so you can enjoy life when you are a man. Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy. Be contented with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on the bright side of things instead of the gloomy one. But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. ‘Be Prepared’ in this way, to live happy and to die happy — stick to your Scout Promise always — even after you have ceased to be a boy — and God help you to do it.

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2 thoughts on “The Boy Scouts: The best of memories and a mutant in today’s world

    Amos Volante said:
    July 9, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I was a cub scout and a boy scout, too. As you may recall I quit scouts due to an overwhelmed single mom who just couldn’t help me stay in it, but the time I spent made up for a lot of shortfalls at home.

    Luckily, I had a good grandfather who showed me many of things scouts need to know, but to this day I wonder how I would have fared in the road to Eagle.

    Would I have made it?

    Looking back, I don’t think it matters. I know the road there would be what this kid needed.

    Lou said:
    July 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Isaiah 58 talks of fasting – a fast of service toward others rather from obstaining from food, etc. Helping with the BSA and teaching young boys to serve will be blessed: V.10. if you give yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness, and your gloom will become like midday, and the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones and you will be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

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