Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Celebrating Imagination AND Tradition

October 31, 2013
Batman: The Long Halloween

Batman: The Long Halloween (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Halloween is among the more popular holidays with the Scout-age crowd.  Its not just the candy.  Its a time of year when imagination runs wild.  Forget about what you are, or what your peers think you are.  You can be a pro-baseball player, or an NFL quarterback, or a super-fast goalie.  You can be a soldier or a sailor, Superman or Batman, warlock or web wizard.  Icabod Crane or the Headless Horsemen, Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, Charlie Brown or Snoopie, pick your hero or villain.  You can be anything you can think up.

I’m not a Halloween guy myself.  The roots of the “holiday” lie in ancient pagan celebrations of Celtic spirits, which became incorporated in All Hallows Eve.  I have a hard time reconciling the tradition with my faith (A Scout is Reverent) but that’s me.  However, it reminds me that one kid’s harmless fun can be another kid’s offense.

I’m not talking about being politically correct.  I am talking about respecting tradition and different perspectives.  History is full of a variety of stories–my post on Tall Tales & the Bear Cub achievement activity is the #1 all-time post I’ve written anywhere.  These stories bind us to those who have gone before.  Our ancestors deserve to have their stories told unvarnished.

At the same time, Scout leaders must be sensitive to perspectives we may not share.  We grow by learning and welcoming new ideas, and figuring out how to incorporate those ideas into our traditions.  The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.  And our Packs and Troops and Crews will grow by letting our imaginations run a bit wild, without scaring off boys… or their parents.



Always Room at the Scouting Inn

December 22, 2012

en: Ideal Scout Statue by Robert Tait McKenzie...

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. -Luke 2:7

Did you recruit a new Scout today?

No?  Are you sure?

Like the original Unknown Scout in the London fog, every day each of us who are Scouts and Scouters represent Scouting and the BSA (or WOSM organization of your choice), in uniform or not.  At school or at work, on service projects or just puttering around the neighborhood.  When people know you’re a Scout, they judge all of Scouting by your actions.  When people don’t know you’re a Scout, each person you meet is a potential Scout/Scouter or supporter.

As I related in my last post, my family recently moved to a new city/state/Council, so my boys and I have been looking for a new troop(s).  In a time of transition like this, we faced (and are still working through) many decision points regarding participation in Scouting.  The boys, being at different ages and ranks, have their own interests and concerns–even whether or not to continue in Scouting at all.  So we poked around on the Council website looking for local Troop and Crew info.  I visited Roundtable to see which units were active.  I asked around when we got to town to see if anybody knew any Scouters… and we visited several meetings to see where the boys felt they could fit in.  In each case, someone had the opportunity to extend a welcoming hand… or not.

Not only does everybody win in the game of Scouting, but there’s also always more room for more players.  While Mary & Joseph were turned away from the Inn so long ago, there’s always room in Scouting for families who want to live by the Scout Oath & Law.  And every day, each and every one of us invite new Scouts in, whether we know it or not, by how we live the Scout Oath and Law.  Do you live On Your Honor?  Are you Courteous and Kind?  Have you Done A Good Daily?

There are no strangers to Scouting, only friends we haven’t met yet.

Merry Christmas.


Scoutmaster Minute—Our Spiritual Compass

January 24, 2010

For Scouts on a hike or a canoe trip, a compass is an important tool. Because it gives you a stable reference point (magnetic north), you can set a course and follow it. As long as your compass is accurate and you don’t damage it, it will serve you faithfully—if you trust it.

Our faith or spirituality is something like that. We have a point of reference that does not change: God. And we have a compass, so to speak, in our relationship with God. It’s something we have learned and continue to learn about, just as we learn to use a compass properly.

We use our spirituality and faith to get us through this grand journey we call life. If we are prepared to trust the things we have learned about God, our spirituality can Guide us through the joys and the temptation of life. We can use it to show us what service we can give and what potential dangers to stay away from. We can use it to guide us in our friendships, in our work, in what we say to people and about people, in how we treat our natural world.

I hope you can join us Sunday 7 February 2010, for a special Centennial Scout Sunday Service, followed by our Eagle Court of Honor.

(adapted from p.15 in BSA Troop Program Resources)

Twelfth-Point Minute

February 8, 2009

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Image

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Image

Today is the last day of Scout week, recognized as Scout Sunday by some churches.

Many of you are members of a large, organized religion.  You might be Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, Jewish, or any one of a number of others.  As you know, part of being a Boy Scout is having a belief in God.  Every time you repeat the Scout Oath or Law, you reconfirm that you will do your duty to God, and that you are reverent.

Keep in mind that some members of your troop might not belong to a regular church group.  That doesn’t mean that they don’t believe in a higher power.  Many Native Americans believe that the Great Spirit is the life force that flows through all living things and controls the wind, fire and the Earth.  You might think of the Great Spirit as Mother Nature.  Nature has created a world for its creatures that allows them to live and prosper, from the lowest insects to the mighty eagle.  To me, that sounds like a higher power at work.

It doesn’t matter how you believe in God-whether you attend church every week or simply respect the power of nature as Native Americans do.

(Adapted from BSA Troop Program Resources, p.18. )

Scout Sunday

February 1, 2009

The 12th point of the Scout Law is ‘A Scout is Reverent’.  “He is reverent toward God.  He is faithful in his religious duties.  He respects the beliefs of others.”

Scout Sunday falls on the first day of February this year.  Boy Scouts of America celebrate Scout Week the week of 8 February–the anniversary of the founding of Scouting in the United States.  We observe Scout Sunday on the Sunday before 8 Feb, although some churches such as United Methodist and Presbyterian (USA) observe Scout Sunday on the second Sunday in February, at the end of Scout Week this year.

Scout Sunday is an opportunity for Scouts to demonstrate their commitment to their faith and community.  BSA suggests that Scout Sunday is also “the primary date to recognize the contributions of young people and adults to Scouting.”  For example, this is a great time to present recognition for Scouts earning the PRAY religious emblems.  Many Cub Scout packs hold their Blue & Gold Banquet in February, also in celebration of a long tradition of Scouting in America and around the world.

From Keep It Simple Make It Fun blog

Our Council gives Scouts an opportunity to earn recognition for participating in 2009 Scout Anniversary Week.  Requirements paraphrased include:

  1. Attend Scout Sunday or Sabbath in uniform.  (Preferably at your charter organization if your unit is sponsored by a religious group)
  2. Do two of the following

a. Help promote Scouting, set up a window display or poster.
b. Wear your uniform to school on your meeting day.
c. Participate in a service project at least one hour.
d. Bring a friend to a Pack, Den, Troop or Crew meeting.
e. Write an article for the newspaper or letter to the editor.

How am I observing Scout Sunday?  I’ll be taking the family to a pancake breakfast fundraiser for the Troop next door.  My 13th point of the Scout Law: A Scout is Always Hungry!