This is the eighth day of our Twelve Days of a Scout Christmas. For the next five days you will find inspiring Christmas messages of Scouts giving the gift of living the Scout Oath and Law. Countdown to Christmas with us as you read these daily messages of Scouts being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

This eighth day of Scout Christmas reminds a Scout to be cheerful. A Scout is cheerful. A Scout looks for the bright side of life. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy. This time of year is full of cheer because it reminds us of the love of God being shown to the world through the birth of His son. This Christmas cheer permeates the world and we all feel that happiness that comes from being around family and friends serving one another.

A Scout is Cheerful. As we get dressed every morning, we always need to remember to put on a smile along with our clothes. We’re never really fully dressed until we put on a smile. Besides, a smile increases our face value.

-“The Scoutmaster Minute” by Ron Wendel

The following classic story of a Scout named Wallace reminds us that being cheerful is not just for Christmas time, but also during our deepest trials:

The Cornwall Badge in the British Empire can be considered an award for carrying out the eighth Scout law of cheerfulness under the most trying of circumstances.

One of the Canadian Scouts to receive the award was Wallace Kinnaird, of a Toronto Troop. In 1931 Wallace had a leg injury during a football game. The injury developed serious complications, and it was found necessary to amputate the leg at the hip. The trouble persisted, and it became a certainty that Wallace Kinnaird could not live longer than a year and a half at the outside. He was taken to the Thistletown Hospital. Whatever his first thoughts, Wallace faced the situation with deliberate courage; and notwithstanding the certainty of death, and great sufferings as well, he turned to the helping of other boys in the hospital, handicapped Scouts and Cubs.

After his death this was the tribute paid him by the Nurse Supervisor of the hospital: “During all this time we never saw him show anything but courage and the most amazing and infectious good cheer to his companions, although it was evident to a perceiving person that he had his dark hours.”

“Not only did he display a cheerful and sunny countenance at all times, but he put in real effort into encouraging and helping other boys — many of them more unfortunate than he–fostering industry and ambition in them, setting an example of obedience, courtesy, and thoughtfulness and all this with complete unconsciousness of doing anything praiseworthy or unique. This boy’s brave bright spirit was an inspiration to those who lived with him.”

The Cornwall Badge was presented to Scout Kinnaird on December 17th. On the 31st, he died.

Let this story of Wallace Kinnaird remind us to “smile and whistle” in the face of the little difficulties and disappointments that come our way.

— “The Scoutmaster’s Five Minutes”

Feature Picture: Keith Skelton from Lincolnshire was a polio patient in Harlow Wood Hospital during the 1950’s. The photograph shows him in 1958, recieving the Cornwell Badge (sometimes referred to as the Scout VC), from Lord Rowallan, Chief Scout. The Cornwell Badge was awarded to Keith for a high standard of character and devotion to duty under great suffering. A reference to Keith and his award can also be found in  ––‘ ‘Pages from the past.’

Melany Gardner
Is the editor for the Voice of Scouting and marketing specialist at the Utah National Parks Council. She is a benefactor of Scouting through her Eagle Scout husband and loves to test his Scouting skills every time she breaks something.

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