A Scout is…?

Believe me, when I heard the news that the President was skipping out on the Boy Scout National Jamboree on the 100th anniversary of the BSA in order to do some fundraising and record an episode for the View, I was upset. This snubbing certainly comes across as a slap in the face to Scouting. As an Eagle Scout, I’ve been involved off and on in Scouting for more than 25 years. I know the good that comes from Scouting. If you’ve read this blog with any regularity at all, you know that I believe I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the influence of the Boy Scouts of America. I firmly believe President Obama should have made a public appearance at the Jamboree – especially since it’s the 100th anniversary. It’s not like this anniversary snuck up on anyone. We’ve known 2010 would be the 100th anniversary since…well…1910!

With that being said, I’m disturbed by the video that is making the rounds. It has bothered me since I saw it a few days ago and I’ve tweeted about it several times. The President decided to address the Jamboree via video. Yes. He mailed it in. But that doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the reaction of a group of Scouts in attendance…

I have read the explanation of the Scout who posted the video. And I respectfully disagree. Here’s why: the Scout Law.

Let me refresh your memory.

A Scout is:

Now, let’s look at a few definitions from the Boy Scout Handbook (emphasis mine):

A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows that using good manners makes it easier for people to get along.

A Scout knows there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. Without good reason, he does not harm or kill any living thing.

A Scout looks for the bright side of life. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.

I realize there was disappointment. I get it. But that doesn’t give you license to treat people the way you want. This video hardly displays these key principles of Scouting as expressed in the Scout Law – the very Law they promised to live by when they took the Scout Oath.

There was one trip our Scout Troop went on (possibly to the US Space & Rocket Center, but I’m not sure right now) where a number in our ranks were very rude at the museum. They would cut in line and treat other guests with disrespect. Needless to say, they were giving Scouting a bad name. And our adult leadership found out about it. That night, they (and our Senior Patrol Leader) gathered us together and chewed us out, reminding us that this behavior was not acceptable.

I hope the adult leadership who was with these Scouts has talked with them about how their behavior does not line up with Scouting’s ideals. Yes, it was a video. No, they didn’t boo him in person. It doesn’t matter. It was rude to the President. It was rude to those around them who might have wanted to hear what he had to say. It was hardly courteous, kind, cheerful, or even friendly.

I learned in elementary school that you don’t boo. So, if they haven’t talked with them, maybe these Scouts need a visit from Mr. Wilhelm.

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Howdy. I'm Matt Todd. My wife and I have four kids and a dog,. I'm passionate about orphan care. I'm a die-hard fan of the Evansville Aces, the Indiana Hoosiers, and Star Wars. I'm trying to live life by the Todd family motto: "It behooves us to live!"

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Jessica Cabiness

Great points! I totally agree- one of the main function of Scouts is building character, and obviously this group needs to be reminded of that.

I was also raised that no matter what your view point, you respect the President of the US, even if he does make questionable decisions. Unfortunately, that really isn’t the case these days.

JoAnne Bennett

I remember those Law’s from when my brother was in Boy Scouts :). From my perspective, I believe your comments could go even further and be directed at many adult role models these days. I believe our children emulate what’s going around them. It’s almost like it has become acceptable to treat others with so little respect if one see things differently. I could see where the Boy Scouts could be disappointed in President’s Obama’s insensitivity, but I wonder if their response has to do more with the negative effects from the constant bickering and badmouthing they witness as just being a part of everyday life.