The List

“Trust should be the basis for all our moral training.” Lord Robert Baden-Powell, Lt. Gen. (Ret.)

Most of us are familiar with the Scouts. Lord Robert Baden-Powell of Great Britain founded The Boy Scouts Association in 1908 and was the first Chief Scout. Just about everyone in the United States can quote the Motto and Oath of the Boy Scouts of America: “Be Prepared.” If you or someone in your family has been a member of the Scouts, you may be intimately aware of the Scout Law:

A Scout is:

  • Trustworthy
  • Loyal
  • Helpful
  • Friendly
  • Courteous
  • Kind
  • Obedient
  • Cheerful
  • Thrifty
  • Brave
  • Clean; and
  • Reverent

I find it interesting that all of these adjectives, which describe what Scouts are encouraged to represent, is listed as their corporate law. The last time I looked, a law is serious business. It is meant to be followed, not broken. In our country, breaking a law can get you into legal trouble; even sentencing to jail if the issue is a misdemeanor or, even worse, a felony.

On purpose, the Scouts chose the word, ‘law.’ Regardless of the intent, this organization has elevated these qualities to something that is expected in the normal day-to-day activities of Scouts.

‘Challenging’ is the word that comes to my mind, if being a Scout means an expectation of practicing these elements on a daily, ongoing basis. Can you think of moments when you have been less than cheerful in the last 30 days? I can think of a couple, and I am sure my wife could add a few that I have already forgotten. What about moments when being friendly or helpful would not describe your demeanor?  Obedient?  (I will not even bother to survey my wife on that one).  To make it even more difficult, just add the qualities of ‘brave’ and ‘reverent.’ Are we describing a saint? Is that the goal of the Scout organization – to create a group of saints?

I am interested in the Scouts because in my early life I was a member. And I now have two grandchildren who are Scouts. Do you have family or friends who belong to this fine organization? Are you familiar with their great work?

I believe the Scouts organization provides an opportunity for our youth to learn and practice leadership. They suggest and lead their members in the direction of doing what is right in life – their Slogan is, Do a good turn today.”  For most of us, this list has to be a work in progress.  I mess up on some days and on others, I miss out on a moment of opportunity to be something special for those surrounding me.  I want to be special.  I truly do!  What about you?

If you had to choose one element from the Scout list that best describes you, what would it be?  My choice would be trustworthiness. It relates to my desire to live my life with integrity. I love that the Scouts list this first.

If you had to choose one area in which you most need to develop, what would you choose? ‘Thrifty’ would probably be at the top of my list. There is some sadness in my recognition of this needed element in my life. My parents excelled in this area; in-part, because they had to. For some, being thrifty is in the same category of taking better care of our environment. And clean water matters to me, because of my great passion for fishing and boating in our coastal waters.

I cannot imagine that anyone attending my funeral would say that I was thrifty. But, maybe I will improve slightly in that area before that moment in time.  However, I really do hope I will be remembered as being reliably trustworthy, loyal, and helpful.

In my current career as a speaker and author, I most envision myself as helping others. The Mondays are Great Newsletter was conceived through a passion I have embraced . . . a strength I recognize and a hope I have in helping others to succeed in life, by being and becoming the best at what they are meant to be and to do with their lives. For that vision, I am most grateful to all of you who have written to me and confirmed that I am helping you in some special way.

We are not limited by this acclaimed Scout’s standard, are we? Just maybe you have already been thinking of other attributes to add to this salient checklist.

Instead of the Scout’s list, we might take another step forward and create our own personal qualities inventory. My law. What I want my life to mean. What I want to be when I ‘grow up.’

What is on your list? How are you doing? What do you most need to do today? At this moment in your life, how would you describe yourself?

I am . . .

I will become . . .