Baden 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:
“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:
“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
Second: Love and serve your neighbor.