Service for Others
The attributes which we have so far been studying in this course of training, as tending to make our boys into manly, healthy, happy working citizens, are, to a great extent, selfish ones designed for the good of the individual. We now come to the fourth quality, and that is where, by developing his outlook, he gives out good to others. Here is a summary of the steps by which Scouting helps to attain this object.
Development of Outlook: Reverence
Development of outlook naturally begins with a respect for God, which we may best term "Reverence."
Reverence to God and reverence for one's neighbor and reverence for oneself as a servant of God, is the basis of every form of religion. The method of expression of reverence to God varies with every sect and denomination. What sect or denomination a boy belongs to depends, as a rule, on his parents' wishes. It is they who decide. It is our business to respect their wishes and to second their efforts to inculcate reverence, whatever form of religion the boy professes.
It must be remembered that we have in our Movement boys of almost every religious
belief, and it is, therefore, impossible to lay down definite rules for guidance in
religious teaching. The following is the attitude of the Scout Movement as regards
religion approved by the heads of all the different denominations on our Council:
If the Scoutmaster takes this pronouncement as his guide he cannot go far wrong.
Training: I am perfectly convinced that there are more ways than one by which reverence may be inculcated. The solution depends on the individual character and circumstances of the boy whether he is a "hooligan" or a "mother's darling." The training that may suit the one may not have much effect on the other. It is for the teacher, whether Scoutmaster or Chaplain, to select the right one.
While I am speaking on religious training in England, please don't think that I am reiterating the theory which is so lavishly written on this particular subject. I speak from a fairly wide personal experience, having had some thousands of young men through my hands, and my experience only tallies with that of most authorities, whom I have consulted. The conclusion come to is that the actions of a very large proportion of our men are, at present, very little guided by religion.
This may be attributed to a great extent to the fact that again instruction instead of education has been employed in the religious training of the boy, and that in some instances the teaching is undertaken by people who have no real experience or proper training for the work.
The consequence has been that the best boys in the Bible-class or Sunday School have grasped the idea, but in many cases they have, by perfection in the letter, missed the spirit of the teaching and have become zealots with a restricted outlook, while the majority have never really been enthused and have, as soon as they have left the class or school, lapsed into indifference and irreligion, and there has been no hand to retain them at the critical and important time of their lives, i.e., sixteen to twenty-four.
The disappointing results in religious training have been recognized by the authorities, and the more thorough training now inaugurated for teachers in Sunday Schools and the like promises a very different result for religious education in the future.
It is not given to every man to be a good teacher of religion, and often the most earnest are the greatest failures -and without knowing it.
We have, fortunately, a number of exceptionally well qualified men in this respect among our Scoutmasters, but there must also be a number who are doubtful as to their powers, and where a man feels this, he does well to get a Chaplain, or other experienced teacher, for his Troop.
On the practical side, however, the Scoutmaster can in every case do an immense amount towards helping the religious teacher, just as he can help the schoolmaster by inculcating in his boys, in camp and club, the practical application of what they have been learning in theory in the school.
In denominational Troops there is, as a rule, a Troop Chaplain, and the Scoutmaster should, as stated in Clause 2 of our Headquarters Religious Policy, consult with him on all questions of religious instruction.
It should be clearly understood that a Troop can be confined entirely to one particular church or denomination (for example, Church of England officers and boys, Roman Catholics, Wesleyans, or the like).
For the purpose of its religious training, a service or class can be held, called a "Scouts' Own," "Scout Guild," or such other name as may be thought best. I commend to your careful consideration and study the valuable and interesting results of the Manchester Conference on the subject of "How to Run a Scouts' Own."
The majority, however, of our Troops are interdenominational, having boys of different forms of belief in their ranks.
For these Troops a Chaplain seems hardly required because the boys should be sent to their own clergy and pastors for denominational religious instruction. Still, for many of these Troops a " Scouts' Own or class of some kind on a Sunday has been found very helpful for inspiring the right Scout spirit, but they need to be organized and carried on with care and tact. The Scoutmaster should always consult the parents and the boys, clergy and pastors, as a first step.
Other Troops in the slums have lads of practically no religion of any kind, and their parents are little or no help to them. Naturally, these require different handling and methods of training from those boys in whom religion has been well grounded.
Here, again, Scouting comes very practically to the aid of the teacher, and has already given extraordinarily good results.
The practical way in which Scouting can help is through the following:
(a) Personal example of the Scoutmaster.
(a) Personal Example
It is a common saying that an Englishman hates parading his religion; that he is often a man who does his duties from a religious conviction, but does not "for a pretence make long prayers" in public.
There is no doubt whatever that in the boys' eyes it is what the man does that counts and not so much what he says.
A Scoutmaster has, therefore, the greatest responsibility on his shoulders for doing the right thing from the right motives, and for letting it be seen that he does so, but without making a parade of it. Here, again, the attitude of elder brother rather than of teacher tells with the greater force.
(b) Nature Study
It has been said that "more men have been led to God through His handiwork than have ever been introduced by the preacher."
"Sermons in stones?" Yes, there are sermons in the observation of Nature, say, in bird life, the formation of every feather identical with that of the same species ten thousand miles away, the migration, the nesting, the coloring of the egg, the growth of the young, the mothering, the feeding, the flying power-all done without the aid of man, but under the law of the Creator; these are the best of sermons for boys.
The flowers in their orders, and plants of every kind, their buds and bark, the animals and their habits and species. Then the stars in the Heavens, with their appointed places and ordered moves in space, give to everyone the first conception of Infinity and of the vast scheme of his Creator where man is of so small account. All these have a fascination for boys, which appeals in an absorbing degree to their inquisitiveness and powers of observation, and leads them directly to recognize the hand of God in this world of wonders, if only someone introduces them to it.
The wonder to me of all wonders is how some teachers have neglected this easy and unfailing means of education and have struggled to impose Biblical instruction as the first step towards getting a restless, full-spirited boy to think of higher things.
(c) Good Turns
With a little encouragement on the part of the Scoutmaster the practice of daily good turns soon becomes a sort of fashion with boys, and it is the very best step towards making a Christian in fact, and not merely in theory. The boy has a natural instinct for good if he only sees a practical way to exercise it, and this good turn business meets it and develops it, and in developing it brings out the spirit of Christian charity towards his neighbor.
This expression of his will to good, is more effective, more natural to the boy, and more in accordance with the Scout method than his passive acceptance of instructive precepts.
(d) Missioner Service
The development is then carried on to a higher and wider standard through the practice of the test-items of the Missioners' Social Service Badge.
(e) Retention of the older boy
So soon as the ordinary boy has begun to get a scholastic knowledge of reading, writing, and arithmetic, together with a few practices of physical drill, he is sent out into the world, at the age of fourteen, as fit and equipped for making his career as a good working citizen.
Excellent technical schools are then open to him as well as continuation classes, if he likes to go to them, or if his parents insist on his attending after his day's work is over. The best boys go, and get a good final polish.
But what about the average and the bad? They are allowed to slide away: just at the one period of their life when they most of all need continuation and completion of what they have been learning, just at the time of their physical, mental, and moral change into what they are going to be for the rest of their life.
This is where the Scout Movement can do so much for the lad, and it is for this important work that we have organized the Rovers or Senior Branch of the Movement; and we have already found success in this departure as a means to retain the boy, to keep in touch with him, and to inspire him with the best ideals, at this his cross-roads, for good or evil.
See Rules for Rover Scouts.
In speaking of the forms of reverence which the boy should be encouraged to develop, we must not omit the important one of reverence for himself, that is self-respect in its highest form. This can well be inculcated through nature study as a preliminary step. The anatomy of plants, or birds, or shell-fish may be studied and shown to be the wonderful work of the Creator. Then the boy's own anatomy can be studied in a similar light; the skeleton and the flesh, muscle, nerves and sinews built upon it, the blood flow and the breathing, the brain and control of action, all repeated, down to the smallest details, in millions of human beings, yet no two are exactly alike in face or finger prints.
Raise the boy's idea of the wonderful body which is given to him to keep and develop as God's own handiwork and temple; one which is physically capable of good work and brave deeds if guided by sense of duty and chivalry, that is by a high moral tone.
Thus is engendered self-respect.
This, of course, must not be preached to a lad in so many words and then left to fructify, but should be inferred and expected in all one's dealings with him. Especially it can be promoted by giving the boy responsibility, and by trusting him as an honorable being to carry out his duty to the best of his ability, and by treating him with respect and consideration, without spoiling him.
In addition to reverence to God and to one's neighbor, loyalty to the King as head of our national government and of the British race is essential.
Loyalty to the King signifies loyalty to our country and our kind. Political excitement is apt to turn ecstatic people's minds to such a degree that, in seeing their own point of view, they are apt to forget that of others, and therefore they fail to realize the danger it may bring to the welfare and happiness of their fellow-countrymen later on.
Loyalty to King and country is of the highest value for keeping men's views balanced and in the proper perspective. The external signs, such as saluting the flag, cheering the King, and so on, help in promoting this, but the essential thing is the development of the true spirit which underlies such demonstrations.
I had a little argument lately with one who as a free-born Briton did not see why he should promise allegiance to the King. I asked him whether he proposed to be loyal to the Empire or would he be willing to let down one of the Overseas British States if it were in danger? Oh no, he was all for the Empire being kept up, otherwise we should lose our national prosperity. But then an Empire, like every other national organization, needs a head to it: even the Bolsheviks, with their equality for all, have a leader (who besides having unlimited motor cars and wives, has the power of life and death over his subjects).
Yes, that's right, a head is necessary, but he should be elected by the voice of the people. Well, do you think Canada will agree to have as their head a man from Australia, or would Australia accept a favorite Conservative M.P. from England? I don't think. Has the office of King ever been abused or failed in success under its present limiting constitution? He could not, for instance, have attended the Peace Conference at Versailles and have laid down a policy for his country to follow, in the way that a more autocratic ruler was able to do.
Loyalty to himself on the part of the boy (that is, to his better conscience), is the great step to self-realization. Loyalty to others is proved by self-expression and action rather than by profession. Service for others and self-sacrifice must necessarily include readiness to serve one's country should the necessity arise for protecting it against foreign aggression; that is the duty of every citizen. But this does not mean that he is to develop a bloodthirsty or aggressive spirit, nor that the boy need be trained to military duties and ideas of fighting. This can be left until he is of an age to judge for himself.
At the same time rifle practice is a good preparation and does a boy no harm morally; on the contrary, it does him good, since it promotes concentration, steadiness of nerve, eyesight, exactness, etc. Moreover, it will stand him in good stead should he ever be required to help in the defense of his country, or, as will frequently be the case in a colony, in defense of his home against raids by savages, or, on board ship, by pirates.
GO BY THE PACE OF THE SLOWEST
Once I asked a Scout coming away from a special Scout church service what was the text on which the preacher had spoken?
"Quit ye like men," the boy replied.
"Yes, and what does that mean?"
"Well, I am not quite sure, but I think that it means that on quitting the church we were to go out like grown-ups."
The preacher had had his opportunity with a boy who noticed the text, but he had traveled into phrases and ideas far above the understanding of his audience. It is a mistake so obvious that one might think that few would fall into it, but, unfortunately, the opposite is the case.
High-flying is not only common, but usual. I have seen prayer-books for boys full of long erudite supplications. I would rather hear the familiar, " Oh, Lord, grant there may be some of the pudding left for me when it has gone the round," than hear a little fellow recite by heart petitions which are meaningless to him.
Let his prayers come from the heart, not said by heart.
The main principles which I personally prefer in prayers are that they should be short, expressed in the simplest language, and based on one of two ideas:
To thank God for blessings or enjoyments received.
To ask for moral protection, strength, or guidance in doing something for God in return.
There may be many difficulties as regard the definition of the religious training in our Movement where so many different denominations exist, and the details of the expression of duty to God have, therefore, to be left largely in the hands of the local authority. But there is no difficulty at all in suggesting the line to take on the human side, since direct duty to one's neighbor is implied in almost every form of belief.
Scouting is a real help to the practice of this. As a first point it is necessary to remark that duty to one's neighbor is not confined to giving charity, it needs more than that, it often demands self-sacrifice to be effective.
If I were asked what is the prevailing vice in our nation I should say "Selfishness". You may not agree with this at first sight, but look into it and I believe you will come to the same conclusion. Most crimes, as recognized by law, come from the indulgence of selfishness, from a desire to acquire, to defeat, or to wreak vengeance. The average man will gladly give a subscription to feed the poor and will feel satisfied that he has then done his duty, but he is not going to dock himself of his own food and good wine to effect a saving for that purpose.
Selfishness exists in a thousand different ways. Take, for instance, party politics. Men here get to see a question, which obviously has two sides to it, exactly as if there were only one possible side, namely, their own, and they then get to hate another man who looks upon it from the other side. The result may lead men on to commit the greatest crimes under high-sounding names.
In the same way, wars between nations come about from neither party being able to see the other's point of view, being obsessed entirely by their own interests. So, too, class differences arise from each seeing only their own status and disliking that of the other. Strikes, too, and lock-outs are frequently the outcome of developed selfishness. In many cases, employers have failed to see that a hard-working man should, in justice, get a share of the goods of the world in return for his effort, and not be condemned to perpetual servitude simply to secure a certain margin of profits for the shareholders. On the other hand, the worker has to recognize that without capital there would be no work on a large scale, and there can be no capital without some return to the subscribers for the risks they face in subscribing.
In one's newspaper every day one sees examples of selfishness when one reads the letters of these innumerable small-minded men who, at every little grievance, rush headlong to "write to the papers." And so it goes on, down to the children playing their games in the streets; the moment that one is dissatisfied at not getting his share of winning he abruptly leaves the scene remarking, "I shan't play any more!" The fact that he upsets the fun of the others does not appeal to him - unless it be satisfying to his spite.
TO ERADICATE SELFISHNESS
The Scouting practices suggested in the table of training [above] tend in a practical way to educate the boy out of the groove of selfishness. Once he becomes charitable he is well on the way to overcome or to eradicate the danger of this habit. The minor good turns which are part of his faith are in themselves the first step. Nature study and making friends with animals increase the kindly feeling within him and overcome the trait of cruelty which is said to be inherent in every boy (although, personally, I am not sure that it is so general as is supposed).
From these minor good turns he goes on to learn first aid and help to the injured, and in the natural sequence of learning how to save life in the case of accidents he develops a sense of duty to others and a readiness to sacrifice himself in danger. This again, leads up to the idea of sacrifice for others, for his home, and for his country, thereby leading to patriotism and loyalty of a higher type than that of merely ecstatic flag-waving.
The idea of fair play is above all, the one which can be best instilled into boys and leads them to that strong view of justice which should be part of their character, if they are going to make really good citizens.
This habit of seeing things from the other fellow's point of view can be developed in outdoor games where fair play is essential, whether it is in football or hockey, boxing or wrestling. During the game the strictest rules are observed which mean self-restraint and good temper on the part of the players, and at the end it is the proper form that the victor should sympathies with the one who is conquered, and that the opponent should be the first to cheer and congratulate the winner.
This should be made the practice until it becomes the habit.
These are little points which a Scoutmaster can pay close attention to, since they have a big meaning later on in the character of the boy. The British have always been proverbial for their sense of fair play, whether in prize-fighting or in war. And we have always admired those to whom fair play was inherent - even among savages.
The Maoris in their war with us in New Zealand showed an instinctive chivalry which appealed strongly to us when we were in the field against them, and it was almost amazing to note the extent to which they expected chivalry in return. On one occasion one heard of their calling for a truce with a white flag because they had run out of ammunition, and asked for time to renew their supply. On another when they had been surrounded for some days in a mountain fastness they sent a messenger under a white flag to inform the British commander that he was camped on their only water supply, and that unless he would let them have water they would not be able to go on fighting!
Possibly one reason for the ingrained feeling of chivalry in our nation is the fact that the code of the medieval knights took hold of the country so long ago as A.D. 500, when King Arthur made the rules for his Knights of the Round Table which have been the foundation for the conduct of gentlemen ever since that day. He dedicated the Order of St. George. The rules as they were republished in the time of Henry VII are as follows:
A further valuable aid to the training in fairness and unselfishness is the holding of debates amongst the boys on subjects that interest them and which lend themselves to argument on both sides. This is to get them into the way of recognizing that every important question has two sides to it, and that they should not be carried away by the eloquence of one orator before they have heard what the defender of the other side has to say on the subject, and that they should then weigh the evidence of both sides for themselves before making up their mind which part they should take.
A practical step in ensuring this is not to vote by show of hands, where the hesitating or inattentive boy votes according to the majority. Each should record his vote " aye " or " no " on a slip of paper and hand it in. This ensures his making up his mind for himself after duly weighing both sides of the question.
In the same way mock trials or arbitration of quarrels, if carried out seriously and on the lines of a law court, are of the greatest value in teaching the boys the same idea of justice and fair play, and also give them a minor experience of what their civic duties may be as jurymen or witnesses later on.
The Court of Honor in the Troop is another step in the same direction, and as the boys here have a real responsibility by being members of the Court, the seriousness of their views is brought home to them all the more, and encourages them to think out carefully the right line to take when they have heard all the arguments on both sides.
Thus a Scoutmaster, who uses his ingenuity towards the end of teaching unselfishness, fair play, and sense of duty to others, may make ample opportunities, whether indoors or out, for training his Scouts. Of all the subjects with which we are dealing, I believe this to be one of the most important towards self-governing citizenship, though I fear I have only touched upon it in a very sketchy manner.
SERVICE FOR THE COMMUNITY
Public services offer the best opening for practical training in sense of duty to the community, patriotism, and self-sacrifice through expression. The work of the Sea Scouts during the war in voluntarily taking up the arduous duties of Coast-watching was in itself an example among many of the keenness of the lads to do good work, and of their readiness to make themselves efficient where they see a good object. In this direction lies a powerful means of holding the older boy, and of developing on practical lines the ideal of citizenship.
The Boy Scout Fire and Accident Service for Towns and Villages is specially applicable to Rovers, and acts as an attractive force to the older boy while giving him public services to train for and to render.
A Troop is organized, equipped, and trained primarily as a fire brigade, but with the further ability to deal with all kinds of accidents that are possible in the neighborhood. Such, for instance, as:
This would demand, in addition to the drill, rescue, and first aid required for fire brigade work, knowledge and practice in methods of extricating and rescuing, and rendering the proper first aid in each class of work; such as:
In some cases it may be best for each Patrol to specialize in a particular form of accident, but generally if the Patrols practice all in turn they arrive at complete efficiency for the whole Troop.
Organization for an accident would, however, confer specific duties on each Patrol, e.g. a Patrol of rescuers, first-aiders, crowd holders, messengers, apparatus, etc.
The system of calling up on an alarm, and a roster of duty, the collection of necessary apparatus, etc., will vary according to local conditions.
The variety of work to be done supplies a whole series of activities such as should appeal to the boys.
Frequent dummy calls to practice on improvised accidents are essential to attaining efficiency and keenness. As efficiency becomes evident public interest will be aroused probably to a helpful degree. The scheme will then be recognized as having a double value, an education for the boys, and a blessing for the community.
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Last modified: October 15, 2016.