Scouting_for_boys_1_1908Baden Powell, Scouting’s founder, wrote Scouting for Boys in six installments every two weeks from January to March 1908, which makes him a kind of early day blogger. He had published many other books prior to this; one of these, Aids to Scouting published in 1899, had had an unexpected success among boys, which prompted a rewrite under the new name.

Each installment was about 70 pages long, which by today’s standards is a bit much for a blog. Nonetheless, we have broken these into smaller sections and will offer them to you weekly as B-P’s Blog.

This week’s installment comes from the Part IV. “Endurance and Chivalry.” B-P used many sources in his writing, including those written by Ernest Thompson Seton, who later became the Chief Scout of the Boy Scouts of America. While Seaton’s Birch Bark Rolls pointed youth to the Native American traditions, B-P choose the code of the knights to guide many of his ideas. In fact, he once said the code of the Knights is “still the code of the gentleman today.”

In this “yarn” as he called it, he shares insights into his feelings about a Scout’s duty to God, tying it into knighthood with this introduction:

young-men-visit-elderly-man-1265010-gallery“In Christian countries Boy Scouts should, without fail, attend church or chapel, or a church parade of their own (in the early days Scouts marched to Church as a troop), on Sundays. The afternoon walk might then be devoted to quiet scouting practices, such as “Nature Study” by exploring for plants or insects, observing animals or birds; or in town or bad weather visiting good picture galleries, museums, etc.; also ‘Knight Errantry,’ doing good turns by collecting flowers and taking them to patients in hospitals, reading newspapers to the patients and so on.

“Sunday is a day of rest; loafing is not rest. Change of occupation from the workshop to the fields is rest; but the Sabbath is too often a day of loafing, and, morally, made the worst day in the whole week for our lads and girls. Combine with the instruction of your Church the study of God in Nature, and the practice of good turns on God’s day…”

B-P’s next words offer insights really connecting with boys, all boys, so that they might realize their Duty to God:

family-fishing-1019877-gallery“When you are trying to get boys to come under your good influence you are as a fisherman wishful to catch fish. If you bait your hook with the kind of food that you like yourself it is probable that you will not catch many—certainly not the shy, game kind of fish. You therefore use as bait the food that the fish likes.

“So with boys. If you try to preach to them what you consider elevating matter you won’t catch them. Any obvious “goody-goody” will scare away the more spirited among them and these are the ones you want to get hold of.

“The only way is to hold out something that really attracts and interests them and I think you will find that Scouting does this. You can afterwards season it with what you want them to have

In reference to his young Knights of the Empire, as he called the Scouts, he wrote that the knights of old were very religious, perhaps baiting the interest of the boys of 1910. He explained knights:
“…were always careful to attend religious service, especially before going into battle or undertaking any serious difficulty. They considered it the right thing always to be prepared for death. Besides worshiping God in church, the knights always recognized His work in the things which He made, such as animals, plants, and all nature.
young-adults-hike-852739-gallery“And so it is with peace scouts today. Wherever they go they love the woodlands, the mountains, and the prairies, and they like to watch and know about the animals that inhabit them, and the wonders of the flowers and plants.
“No man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws. So every Scout should have a religion.
“Religion seems a very simple thing:First: Love and serve God.
Second: Love and serve your neighbor.
“In doing your duty to God always be grateful to him. Whenever you enjoy a pleasure or a good game, or succeed in doing a good thing, thank Him for it, if only with a word or two, just as you say grace at a meal. And it is a good thing to bless other people. For instance, it you see a train starting off, just pray for God’s blessing on all that are in the train.
“In doing your duty towards man, be helpful and generous, and also always be grateful for any kindness done to you, and be careful to show that you are grateful. Remember again that a present given to you is not yours until you have thanked the giver for it.
“While you are living your life on this earth, try to do something good which may remain after you.
stars-feature“One writer says: ‘I often think that when the sun goes down the world is hidden by a big blanket from the light of heaven, but the stars are little holes pierced in that blanket by those who have done good deeds in this world. The stars are not all the same size; some are big, some are little, and some men have done great deeds and others have done small deeds, but they have made their hole in the blanket by doing good before they went to heaven.’
“Try and make your hole in the blanket by good work while you are on the earth
“It is something to be good, but it is far better to do good.”

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