Some selections from the his contributions to "The
Scouter" from 1909 - 1941
FOUNDER OF THE SCOUT MOVEMENT
WITH A PREFACE BY
LORD SOMERS, K.C.M.G., D.S.O., M.C.
Chief Scout of the British Commonwealth and Empire,
In 1941 when this selection from our Founder's "Outlook" was first
published, Lord Somers was Chief Scout. He himself had been chosen by B.-P.
to follow him, and his early death was a source of the greatest sorrows to
Scouts everywhere. We feel that it is only fitting that Lord Somers'
introduction should remain in this edition.
FOR thirty yeas B.-P. contributed to the The Scouter notes
and comments under the title "The Outlook." The reader turned to these
first, for he knew that he would there find encouragement, advice, and
inspiration -- all written in that very personal sttyle which seemed like
conversation. It was in this way that B.-P. trained those who were trying to
carry out Scouting for Boys. Even when a training system was begun at
Gilwell, these notes continued to be the chief means by which B.-P. could
pass on his ideas and suggestions to the great army of Scouters everywhere.
Now that he has gone, it is desirable that some permanent record
of his words should be available, not only for those who remember his help
with gratitude but for the benefit of those who will follow. However
circumstances may change in the future, the fundamental principles and
methods of Scouting will endure, and B.-P.'s own statements can never be out
To reprint all his Outlooks would have demanded a bigger book than
most of us could afford -- or than could be produced in war-time. In making
a selection, therefore, the following points were taken into consideration:
matter which B.-P. himself incorporated in one of his books (he often tried
our ideas in The Scouter) has been omitted; records of his Empire and
World Tours have been left out; nor did it seem useful to include references
to passing events and minor difficulties.
The extracts have been arranged in chronological order, as there
is an additional interest in tracing the development of ideas and of needs
through the years. A full index will, however make it a simple matter to
read all that is given on any one subject.
A selection of B.-P.'s sketches has also been included, for he
used his skill as an artist to illustrate his words; sometimes it would be
to poke fun at some extravagance; at others it would be to put ideas in the
form as a memorable sketch. In the early years these drawings are rare, but
later he made more and more use of them, and as they are so typical of his
outlook, they will be welcomed by all readers.
This is a book to dip into from time rather to read straight
through; it will be found a companionable volume, recalling for many of us
earlier days and the voice of the leader whom we so gladly followed.
THE object of a camp is (a) to meet the boy's desire for the
open-air life of the Scout, and (b) to put him completely in the
hands of his Scoutmaster for a definite period for individual training in
character and initiative and in physical and moral development.
These objects are to a great extent lost if the camp be a big one.
The only discipline that can there be earned out is the collective military
form of discipline, which tends to destroy individuality and initiative
instead of developing them; and, owing to there being too many boys for the
ground, military drill has to a great extent to take the place of scouting
practices and nature study.
So it results that Scouts' camps should be small -- not more than
one Troop camped together; and even then each Patrol should have its own
separate tent at some distance (at least 100 yards) from the others. This
latter is with a view to developing the responsibility of the Patrol Leader
for his distinct unit. And the locality of the camp should be selected for
its Scouting facilities.
SOME few Scoutmasters are still behind the time, and consequently their
Troops are behind the average, in not making sufficient use of their Patrol
They ought to give the sub-officers as much liberty of action as
they like to get themselves from their District Associations or
They must hold the Patrol Leader responsible for everything good or
bad that occurs in his Patrol.
They must put responsibility upon him, let him do his job, and if
he makes mistakes let him do so, and show him afterwards where he went wrong
-- in this way only can he learn.
Half the value of our training is to be got by putting
responsibility on young shoulders. It is especially valuable for taming the
wilder spirits; it gives them a something which they like to take up instead
of their equally heroic but less desirable hooligan pursuits.
WE have recently approved of a number of badges of efficiency, which it
is hoped will serve as encouragement to Scouts to qualify themselves as
useful men, whether at home or in a colony.
While these were under consideration there reached us a complaint
that in certain centres the difficulty of passing the tests for any badges
was becoming so great that what had been an attractive measure for the boys
was now fast becoming another " examination bugbear."
This, I am afraid, is due to faults in the application of the idea.
These badges are merely intended as an encouragement to a boy to
take up a hobby or occupation and to make some sort of progress in it: they
are a sign to an outsider that he has done so; they are not intended to
signify that he is a master in the craft which he is tested in. Therefore,
the examiners should not aim at too high a standard, especially in the first
Some are inclined to insist that their Scouts should be first-rate
before they can get a badge. That is very right, in theory; you get a few
boys pretty proficient in this way but our object is to get all the
boys interested, and every boy started on one or two hobbies, so that he may
eventually find that which suits him the best and which may offer him a
career for life.
The Scoutmaster who uses discretion in putting his boys at an easy
fence or two to begin with will find them jumping with confidence and
keenness, whereas if he gives them an upstanding stone wall to begin with,
it makes them shy of leaping at all.
At the same time we do not recommend the other extreme, of which
there is also the danger, namely, that of almost giving away the badges on
very slight knowledge of the subjects. It is a matter where examiners should
use their sense and discretion, keeping the main aim in view.
IN the Army we have certain points to aim for in training our men; but in
the long course of years the steps in training have become so absorbing and
important that in many cases the aim has come to be lost sight of.
Take, for instance, the sword exercise. Here a number of recruits
are instructed in the use of the sword in order to become expert fighters
with it. They are put into a squad and drilled to stand in certain positions
and to deliver certain cuts, thrusts, and guards on a certain approved plan.
So soon as they can do this accurately and together like one man -- and it
is the work of months to effeect this -- they are passed as efficient
swordsmen, but they can no more fight an enemy than can my boot. The aim of
their instruction has been overlooked in the development of the steps to it.
I hope the same mistake is never likely to occur with us in the Boy
Scouts. We must keep the great aim ever before us and make our steps lead to
it all the time.
This aim is to make our race a nation of energetic, capable
workers, good citizens, whether for life in Britain or overseas.
The best principle to this end is to get the boys to learn for
themselves by giving them a curriculum which appeals to them, rather than by
hammering it into them in some form of dry-bones instruction. We have to
remember that the mass of the boys are already tired with hours of school or
workshop, and our training should, therefore, be in the form of recreation,
and this should be out of doors as much as possible.
That is the object of our badges and games, our examples and
If you would read through your Scouting for Boys once more,
with the Great Aim always before you, you will see its meaning the more
And the Great Aim means not only the practice of give-and-take with
your own officers, but also with other organisations working to the same
In a big movement for a big object there is no room for little
personal efforts; we have to sink minor ideas and link arms in a big
"combine" to deal effectively with the whole.
We in the Boy Scouts are players in the same team with the Boys'
Brigade, Church Lads, Y.M.C.A., and Education Department, and others.
Co-operation is the only way if we mean to win success.
WHEN I visit a district to inspect Scouts a big parade of them is held at
which as many as possible are present, but though this is the only way in
which a large number can be seen at one time, I think we must all feel --
Scouts, Scoutmasters, and myself -- that it is, after all, a formal affair
which really does not give very much opportunity of testing the individual
qualities of the boys or the officers.
I therefore make a point of going about whenever I can get a spare
hour or two to watch Scouts at their work when not under the limelight of a
I have done a good deal of this lately, as a rule unknown to
the Troops concerned, and one or two points which I noted may be of
I have been on the whole very pleased with what I have seen, but I
need not enlarge upon this. I would rather point out where I think
improvement might in some cases be made, and I am sure Scoutmasters will not
think that I am writing in any spirit of faultfinding, but with the sole
desire to help them in their work.
In the first place, many Scoutmasters seem to have read Scouting
for Boys once, and then to have gone off into other forms of training,
some of which are not always very good for the boys. As I have written
before now, the Great Aim should be kept before one, whereas some
Scoutmasters have evidently fallen back on to certain ideas of training
which were familiar to them, but which really have no reference to forming
the individual character of the lads.
Too much drill, too little woodcraft, is a usual fault. To make the
lads disciplined while using their own wits is our aim -- much on the
principle of the sailor's handiness, and not so much on the machine-like
routine life of the soldier. Stick to the lines of the handbook and develop
AS the camping season is now upon us, I may say that one or two of the
camps which I have already seen have been unfortunately on wrong lines,
though others were very satisfactory. I strongly advise small camps of about
half a dozen Patrols; each Patrol in a separate tent and on separate ground
(as suggested in Scouting for Boys), so that the Scouts do not feel
themselves to be part of a big herd, but members of independent responsible
Large camps prevent scout-work and necessitate military training;
and one which I visited the other day, though exceedingly well carried out
as a bit of Army organisation, appealed to me very little, because not only
was it entirely on military lines, but the Patrols -- the essence of our
system -- were broken up to fit the members into the tents.
Patrols should be kept intact under all circumstances. If more than
six or seven Patrols are out at the same time, they should preferably be
divided into two camps located at, say, two miles or more apart.
THE best progress is made in those Troops where power and responsibility
are really put into the hands of the Patrol Leaders. It is the secret of
success with many Scoutmasters, when once they have half-a-dozen Patrol
Leaders, really doing their work as if they were Assistant Scoutmasters. The
Scoutmasters find themselves able to go on and increase the size of their
Troops by starting new Patrols or adding recruits to existing ones.
Expect a great deal of your Patrol Leaders and nine times out of
ten they will play up to your expectation; but if you are going always to
nurse them and not to trust them to do things well, you will never get them
to do anything on their own initiative.
IN making our young citizens, therefore, it is essential to try to get
into them the habit of cheery co-operation, of forgetting their personal
wishes and feelings in bringing about the good of the whole business in
which they are engaged -- whether it be work or play. One can teach the boy
that it is exactly as in football. You must play in your place and play the
game; don't try to be referee when you are playing half-back; don't stop
playing because you have had enough of the game, but shove along, cheerily
and hopefully, with an eye on the goal in order that your side may win, even
though you may yourself get a kick on the shins or a muddy fall in helping
But the best form of instruction of all for a Scoutmaster to give
is by the force of example. It is essential if he is going to succeed in
putting the right character into his boys that he should himself practise
what he preaches. Boys are imitative, and what the Scoutmaster gives off,
that they pick up and reflect. Instructions, and especially orders, are apt
to have different and even opposite effects with boys -- order a boy not to
smoke and he is at once tempted to try it as an adventure; but give him the
example, show him that any fool can smoke but a wise Scout doesn't, and it
is another matter.
Therefore, it is of first importance that every Scout-master, with
this great responsibility on his shoulders, should examine himself very
closely, suppress any of the minor faults which he may -- in fact, is bound
to -- possess, and train himself to practise what he preaches, so as to give
the right example to his lads for the shaping of their lives, characters,
and careers. It is laid down in our handbook that a Scoutmaster should go
through a period of three months' probation before getting finally
The object of this is to enable him to find out whether Scouting
really suits him after all, whether he is capable of treading down little
personal worries and pinpricks, can endure the many preliminary difficulties
and disappointments, can fit himself into the place assigned to him, and
loyally carry out instructions, though they may not be exactly what he would
like; whether he can, in a word, play in his place and play the game for the
good of the whole.
If he can do this he will be doing the most valuable work that a
man can do, viz. teach his younger brothers the great virtues of endurance
and discipline, pluck and unselfishness. If, on the other hand, he cannot,
his only honourable course is to resign in preference to the unmanly one --
typical, by the way, of men who failin whatever line of life -- of whining
about his so-called rights, complaining of his bad luck.
WITH the winter season coming on we now get our opportunity for training
or retraining our boys in handicrafts and efficiency.
Abler men than I, I suppose, can keep their boys busy and
progressing in knowledge without working on any special system; but I
confess that I cannot. The only way by which, personally, I can effect
anything is by laying down definite programmes beforehand and working on
them -- a general one for the winter season, a more particular one for each
week, with a detailed one for each working evening as it comes round.
I don't make them too cut-and-dried, but leave margins and openings
for unforeseen occurrences. In this way a great amount of worry and waste of
time is saved; in fact, it is scarcely exaggeration to say that the results
obtained by a systematic plan of work have four times the value of those
where arrangements have been haphazard. It is good for their "character" to
teach the boys also to plan their work beforehand; and, knowing what they
are aiming for, they become twice as keen.
One or two Scoutmasters tell me that their idea for the winter
session is to take up the training in, say, four handicrafts -- for
instance, cooking, leather working, electricity, and signaling. They get
an expert to come and instruct their Troop either one night a week on each
subject or for a fortnight at one subject, then get another expert in for a
fortnight at the next, and so on. In this way they hope during the winter to
get all their boys trained sufficiently to gain four badges apiece by the
end of the winter.
Other Scoutmasters talk of having an exhibition and sale of Scout
manufactures at the end of the winter, using various inducements for getting
the boys to do the work in the clubroom in the evenings by helping with
tools, patterns, storage, etc., and by the reading aloud of adventure books,
camp-fire yarns, etc., while work is going on, with occasional games and
singsongs to refresh the workers.
Any system of this kind is of value, but must necessarily vary
according to local conditions and Scoutmasters' originality, and I am glad
to see so many good ideas being started.
For training boys towards work, and pride in their work, there is
nothing like giving them handiwork to do, but it must be of such a kind as
to really interest them from the first. And it is all the better if it can
be the work of one gang (or Patrol) in competition with another -- i.e.
"I SHAN'T play any more in your yard," was the refrain of a charming
song, which was very typical of the child who does not, after all, like the
way the game is played, so it "cuts off its nose to spite its face," and
goes and tries for another game elsewhere, or goes and "tells Mother."
It makes the grown-up onlooker smile, but the grown-up himself is
not always free from the same sort of self-centred conceit.
I have frequently figured in the part of "mother," and it is almost
beyond belief that grown-up, or nearly grown-up, men can take little matters
so seriously and so narrowly as some of them do. If they had only a sense of
humour, or had a slightly wider range of view, so that they could see the
other side of the question or its greater aim, they, too, would smile at the
littleness of it all.
It reminds one so much of what one feels on returning from our big,
open Empire into the little old island and finding here our politicians
tearing each other's eyes out over some defect in the parish pump ! They do
not realise that their little word-war is only laughed at by the onlookers
They probably feel quite hurt when they die because they are not
buried in Westminster Abbey under the label of "Statesman," but are only
sized up as "Petty Politicians,"
As "mother" I was appealed to the other day in a case which was
evidently considered of vast importance by the contending parties, but which
would have seemed ridiculously simple to an outsider who saw both sides and
the higher motive which was supposed to be their joint aim.
My reply to them was one which might apply to many similar cases
where the contestants cannot at once see the| right line to take. It was
"It is curious to me that men who profess to be good Christians
often forget, in a difficulty of this kind, to ask themselves the simple
question, 'What would Christ have done under the circumstances ? ' and be
Try it next time you are in any difficulty or doubt as to how to
In the earlier days of our Movement there were many of the little
local rows which are really incidental to most committees, and which would
never occur if the members could remember their duty and to take the above
line. Of late, however, those debating societies seem to have died down and
given place to co-operative councils for mutual advice and help, and all
"WHAT is the matter with your patient ?" I ask the Ambulance Scout who
has just bandaged up another in most approved fashion.
"Please, sir -- broken clavicle."
"Yes. Now what bone is this ?"
"The femur, sir. No -- it's -- it's the tibi -- it's the ---- "
" Well, what would you call it, if you got a kick on it, and were
telling your pal about it ? "
When I asked the instructor why it is considered necessary to
confuse the boys' minds with the Latin names for ordinary bones, he said
that it was necessary in order to pass the doctor's examination for badges
I hope that all Commissioners and Scoutmasters will explain to
their First-aid instructors that we want to teach the boys how to deal
practically with accidents, not how to pass examinations.
I attach very little value to the smartly done bandaging where each
boy is told beforehand what injury he is to tie up, and has all the
appliances ready, and has merely to fold and tie neatly and know the Latin
names of the bones he is dealing with. No, I very much prefer the more
practical demonstration, which I am glad to see is now becoming so prevalent
with the Scouts, and that is the closest possible imitation of an accident.
A patient is found covered with mud and blood, which has to be gently
sponged or squirted away before the card is found giving the nature of the
injury (fixed face downwards to prevent obliteration) The first Scout to
reach him, or one selected by the inspector or audience, takes charge of the
case, does the work and directs the others -- and does not use Latin words.
It is all the better if improvised materials are used and the wound really
dealt with properly, instead of merely superficially bandaged over. For
instance, the motions should be gone through of slitting the clothes,
plugging a wound, or whatever may be the detail in the case.
I CANNOT impress on Scoutmasters too highly the value of the camp in the
training of Scouts; in fact, I think that its whole essence hangs on this.
Many Scoutmasters who value the moral side of our training are
almost inclined to undervalue the importance of the camp, but the camp is
everything to the boys. We have to appeal to their enthusiasm and tastes in
the first place, if we are ever going to do any good in educating
An eminent educational authority assured me only to-day that our
school education is all on wrong lines; that book learning was introduced by
the monks in order to kill the more manly training in skill at arms and
hunting which, in the Middle Ages, occupied the time of the boys, and which
undoubtedly produced so large a percentage of men of character among them.
It was done with a narrow-minded aim, and although it has done some good in
certain lines, it has done infinite harm to our race in others.
He said: "You should first of all develop the natural character of
the boy by encouraging him in the natural athletic exercises which tend to
make him manly, brave, obedient, and unselfish; later give him the desire
for reading for himself which will eventually lead him on to study for
himself. The fallacy of trying to force him to read what the pedagogue wants
him to know is the secret of so much ignorance and absence of studious work
amongst our lads to-day."
This same authority would like to see Scouting or some similar
scheme introduced into our continuation schools, and attendance at these
made obligatory for all boys of fourteen to sixteen.
I hope that his wish may yet be gratified. I believe it will be if
Scoutmasters continue in the way in which they have begun and prove to the
education authorities in their neighbourhood the educative value which
underlies our Movement.
I WRITE my notes this month from camp. I hope that many a Scoutmaster
will have been able, like me, to take his holiday this year in camp. If he
has enjoyed it half as much as I am enjoying mine, he will have done well.
I am certain that a week or two of such life is the best rest-cure
and the best tonic for both mind and body that exists for a man, whether he
be boy or old 'un. And for both it is a great educator. By camp I mean a
woodland camp, not the military camp for barracking a large number at one
time under canvas. That is no more like the kind of camp I advocate than a
cockchafer is like a goose.
A Boy Scouts' camp should be the woodland kind of camp, if it is
going to be any real good as an educator. Many, nay most, military camps are
liable to do more harm than good to boys, unless exceptionally well-managed
and closely supervised. Whereas a woodsman's camp, if properly carried out,
gives the lads occupation and individual resourcefulness all the time.
A large camp has of necessity to be carried on with a considerable
amount of routine discipline. Parades have to be held to give the boys
instruction and occupation, fatigue parties, tent inspections, roll-calls,
bathing parades, and so on. Were it not for the fresh, open-air life this
kind of camp might almost as well be carried on in town barracks; it teaches
the boys nothing of individuality, resourcefulness, responsibility, nature
lore, and many little (though really great) bits of character education for
which the woodsman's camp is the best, if not the only, school.
But such a camp can only be carried out with a small number of
boys; from thirty to forty being the full number with which it is possible.
And then only if the Patrol system is really and entirely made use of.
Of course, it is easy for one to write from an ideal camp of the
kind and imagine that everybody has the same advantages, but I don't
altogether mean to do that. I know the difficulties that one has to contend
with as a Scoutmaster in England, but I want to put the ideal before those
who have not perhaps thought out the question very carefully, and who, by
custom or example, are inclined to take the military form of camp as being
the usual and right one for boys. The ideal can then be followed as nearly
as local circumstances will allow.
Here I am camped by a rushing river between forest-clad hills. It
is close on ten in the morning. I turned out at five, and yet those five
hours have been full of work for me, albeit it was no more than little camp
The fire had to be lit, coffee and scones to be made. Then followed
boiling and sand-scrubbing the cooking utensils; collecting of firewood for
the day (both kindling and ember-forming wood); a new crossbar and pot-hooks
had to be cut and trimmed; a pair of tongs for the fire, and a besom for
cleaning the camp ground had to be cut and made. Bedding had to be aired and
stowed; moccasins to be greased; the camp ground swept up and rubbish
burned; the trout had to be gutted and washed. Finally, I had a shave and a
bathe; and here I am ready for the day's work whatever it may be. But this
took five hours to do.
My comrade went in yesterday to the nearest hamlet, and will be
back to-day with our letters and supplies. He will find me away fishing or
sketching, and gathering berries for our "sweet" of stewed fruit at dinner;
but he will find the camp swept and garnished, fire laid ready to be lit,
cooking pots, cups, and plates all ready and clean for his use, and food
We may probably "up-stick" and travel on later in the day, and see
some more of the beauties of the land, as we "hump our packs" to the next
nice-looking site for camp. Then comes all the business of pitching camp,
getting water and firewood, cooking food, and making oneself comfortable.
All a succession of very little jobs, but which in their sum are important.
They all give enjoyment and satisfaction to the older man, while to the boy
they bring delight, experience, resourcefulness, self-reliance, thought for
others, and that excellent discipline of camp-tradition and of being
expected to do the right thing for himself.
They have no time for idleness, and give no room for a shirker. But
that is a very different thing from the streets of canvas town where the
supplies are sent in by a contractor and cooked and served by paid servants,
the boys in a herd, merely doing what they are ordered to do.
IN a small camp so very much can be done by example. You are living among
your boys and are watched by each of them, and imitated unconsciously by
them, and probably unobserved by yourself.
If you are lazy they will be lazy; if you make cleanliness a hobby
it will become theirs; if you are clever at devising camp accessories, they
will become rival inventors, and so on.
But don't do too much of what should be done by the boys
themselves, see that they do it -- "when you want a thing done don't do it
yourself" is the right motto. When it is necessary to give orders, the
secret for obtaining obedience is to know exactly what you want done and to
express it very simply and very clearly. If you add to the order an
explanation of the reason for it, it will be carried out with greater
willingness and much greater intelligence.
If you add to the order and its explanation a smile, you will get
it carried out with enthusiasm -- or, remember, "a smile will carry twice as
far as a snarl."
A pat on the back is a stronger stimulus than a prick with a pin.
EXPECT a great deal of your boys and you will generally get it.
I AM glad to have had from some Commissioners already their ideas of what
they propose in the way of systematic instruction of Troops in the winter
The winter will soon be upon us, and unless plans are drawn up in
good time, one finds that it is liable to be over before they have got well
into working order.
One suggestion is to go steadily over the whole course given in
Scouting for Boys, and I think this a very good one because most
Scoutmasters and Scouts, after reading the book, carry out the ideas in it
rather according to what they remember of them, and add new ones on similar
lines (which is what I like to see), but without much further reference to
the book, and in the end a good many minor points are apt to get dropped out
of the training -- and though they may be small and apparently
insignificant, they all have their meaning. Take, for instance, the
suggestions on cleaning teeth and making camp tooth-brushes; it is a little
point which has probably quite dropped out of recollection in some Troops,
but it is nevertheless quite an important one in its way; and there are
hundreds of others like it. Then tenderfoots will probably have joined
Troops which were originally trained, before they came, on the lines of the
book, but they have only come in for the subsequent form of training, and so
know little of the original teaching. Scoutmasters themselves on re-reading
the book after the interval will probably see some of its points in quite a
new light. So, for various reasons, it may in many cases be well to run
through the book training during the winter months.
THE different foreign countries -- some twelve there are -- which have
adopted Scouting for theiir boys are now forming a friendly alliance with us
for mutual interchange of views, correspondence, and visits, and thereby to
promote a closer feeling of sympathy between the rising generations.
International peace can only be built on one foundation, and that
is an international desire for peace on the part of the peoples themselves
in such strength as to guide their Governments.
If the price of one Dreadnought were made available to us for
developing this international friendliness and comradeship between the
rising generations, I believe we in the Scouts would do more towards
preventing war than all the Dreadnoughts put together.
ONE of the most important possibilities before us lies in the direction
We have by other lines arrived at much the same conclusions as have
the education authorities through their experiences.
This is briefly, that the secret of sound education is TO GET EACH
PUPIL TO LEARN FOR HIMSELF, INSTEAD OF INSTRUCTING HIM BY DRIVING KNOWLEDGE
INTO HIM ON A STEREOTYPED SYSTEM. The method is to lead the boy on to tackle
the OBJECTIVE of his training, and not to bore him with the preliminary
steps at the outset. The education authorities have come to recognise us as
would-be helpers in the same field, the aim of both of us being to produce
healthy, prosperous citizenship. They take the intellectual development, we
go rather more for the development of "character," and that, after all, is
the most important attribute for prevention of the social diseases of
slackness and selfishness, and gives the best chance to a man of a
successful career in any line of life.
We are endeavouring to help the education authorities in every way
that we can. They are working entirely in accord with us in a number of
VERY closely allied with education comes the important matter of
religion. Though we hold no brief for any one form of belief over another,
we see a way to helping all by carrying the same principle into practice as
is now being employed in other branches of education, namely, to put the
boys in touch with their objective, which in this case is to do their
duty-to God through doing their duty to their neighbour. In helping others
in doing daily good turns, and in rescuing those in danger, pluck,
self-discipline, unselfishness, chivalry, become acquired, and quickly form
part of their character. These attributes of character, coupled with the
right study of Nature, must of necessity help to bring the young soul in
closer touch spiritually with God.
Personally, I have my own views as to the relative value of the
instruction of children in Scripture history within the walls of the
Sunday-school, and the value of Nature study and the practice of religion in
the open air, but I will not impose my personal views upon others.
I prefer to be guided by collective opinions of experienced men,
and here a remarkable promise stands before us. Scouting has been described
by various men and women of thought and standing as "a new religion" --
three times I have read it this week. It is not, of course, a "new
religion," it is merely the application to religious training of the
principle now approved for secular training -- that of giving a definite
objective and setting the child to learn and practise for himself -- and
that, I think everybody's experiences will tell him, is the only training
which really sticks by a man for good and ultimately forms part of his
OUR attitude in the Boy Scout Movement is that we do not wish to be in
conflict with any political, educational, religious, or other body, but we
are very glad to have their advice or suggestions.
Our aim is to be at peace with all and to do our best in our own
Probably the majority of us are in sympathy with the Socialist
ideal, though we may not see with the same eye the practicability of its
details or its methods.
We, in the Scouts, desire not so much to cure present social evils
as to prevent their recurrence in the rising generation; to try to lessen
the great waste of human life now going on in our city slums where so many
thousands of our fellow humans are living an existence of misery through
being "unemployable"; this is not always from their own fault, but simply
because they have never been given a chance.
Our main effort is to attract the boys and to beckon them on to the
right road for success in life; we endeavour to equip them -- especially the
poorest -- with "character" and with craftsmanship so that each one of them
may at least get a fair start. If after this he fails it is then his fault
and not, as at present, the fault of us who are in a position to give a
helping hand to our less fortunate brothers.
The fact is, that justice and fair play do not always form part of
our school curriculum. If our lads were trained as a regular habit to see
the other fellow's point of view before passing their own judgment on a
dispute, what a difference it would at once make in their manliness of
Such lads would not be carried away, as is at present too commonly
the case, by the first orator who catches their ear on any subject, but they
would also go and hear what the other side has to say about it, and would
then think out the question and make up their own minds as men for
And so it is in almost every problem of life; individual power of
judgment is essential, whether in choice of politics, religion, profession,
or sport -- and half our failures and three-quarters of our only partial
successes among our sons is due to the want of it.
We want our men to be men, not sheep. And, in the greater
proposition of International Peace, it seems to me that before you can
abolish armaments, before you can make treaty promises, before you build
palaces for peace delegates to sit in, the first step of all is to train the
rising generations -- in every nation -- to be guided in aall things by an
absolute sense of justice. When men have it as an instinct in their conduct
of all affairs of life to look at the question impartially from both sides
before becoming partisans of one, then, if a crisis arises between two
nations, they will naturally be more ready to recognise the justice of the
case and to adopt a peaceful solution, which is impossible so long as their
minds are accustomed to run to war as the only resource.
In the Scout Movement we have it in our power to do a very great
thing in introducing a practical training in justice and "fair play," both
through games and competitions in the field, and through arbitrations,
courts of honour, trials, and debates in the clubroom.
Scanned by Aziah, used with permission.
||Used to express mild surprise or
||A large bus, typically used for
||sth that neither good nor bad
||Scottish Reformer and founder of
Presbyterianism in Scotland.
||A council or meeting with or of Native
||Reading, Writing, Arithmetic
||Rosemary Convalescent Home for Scouts,
||South African Constabulary
||Small cylindrical beads made from
polished shells and fashioned into strings or belts, formerly used
by certain Native American peoples as currency and jewelry or for
ceremonial exchanges between groups.