It has been our tradition on the Voice of Scouting to post inspiring Scout messages based on the Scout Law for twelve days leading up to Christmas Day. The eighth day of the 12 days of a Scout Christmas reminds us that a Scout is Cheerful.

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Be of good cheer. The word itself is defined as being noticeably optimistic and happy. Synonyms include: happy, jolly, merry, bright, glad, sunny, joyful, joyous, lighthearted, in good spirits, in high spirits, sparkling, bubbly, exuberant, buoyant, ebullient, elated, and gleeful.

So why is it of significant enough importance–to include in the Scout law–that a Scout remains cheerful?

My thoughts draw on the attributes that make someone sincere and genuine. A Scout cannot be genuinely friendly, courteous, or kind without doing so in a cheerful and happy manner. His or her willingness to serve others and “do a good turn daily” is dependent on doing so with a cheerful spirit as opposed to one of dreary unpleasantness.

As exemplified by a good Scout leader, a good Scout looks at the glass half full. He or she looks on the bright side of life and is happily willing to do tasks that come his or her way, especially if they are in the service of others. Perhaps most importantly, a cheerful Scout improves the lives of others by inspiring them to think and behave in a similarly positive manner.

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There will always be opposition and hardship. A Scout, like anyone, can easily become discouraged and upset when things don’t pan out according to expectations. There will inevitably be disappointments and things will not always go our way. People will test our patience, hurt our feelings, and give us reason to lose our sense of cheeriness. But a good Scout will push forward.

A Scout knows that his or her attitude is not dependent on others and that it is his or her responsibility to remain cheerful in mannerism and conduct. No situation is made better by complaining and a Scout has the power to positively influence those around him or herself by remaining glad. A simple smile can spark an infectious feeling of love and acceptance.

To further illustrate this principle, the following is a short story from bsa.org:

“Two brothers once decided to leave their hometown and move to the city. Outside the city the first brother met an old man. “How are the people here?” asked the first brother. “Well, how were the people in your hometown?” asked the old man in return. “Aw, they were always grumpy and dissatisfied,” answered the first brother. “There wasn’t a single one among them worth bothering about. “ “And,” the old man said, “you’ll find that the people here are exactly the same!”

Later the other brother came along. “How are the people in this city?” he asked. “How were the people in your hometown?” the old man asked as before. “Fine!” said the other brother. “Always cheerful, always kind and understanding!” “You will find that the people here are exactly the same!” said the old man again, for he was a wise old man who knew that the attitude of the people you meet depends upon your own state of mind.

If you are cheerful and frank and good-humored, you’ll find others the same.”

For the next twelve days, visit the Voice of Scouting to find inspiring Christmas messages based on the twelve points of the Scout Law: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, braveclean, and reverent.

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