Written by Scoutmaster
Is There Any Honor In This World?
There is a reason the Boy Scout Oath begins with the words, “On my honor…”
There is a hierarchy to the code from which everything flows.
The law of the scouts and how every scout is supposed to act, and what all the
children and adults are supposed to adhere to is the key to the entire program.
If a scout or adult has no intention of being honorable and following the oath then the
rest of the program is pointless. It may even be detrimental to have adults as leaders who feel like they can write their own oath, interpret it as they please, or their own law. That is how nations have disobeyed God and vanished.
“On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;”
As a scout or adult leader you have a choice to make. You
can either be honorable and strive to follow the remainder of the oath, or you
can ignore the opening and continue along believing you have done your best. Notice
there are no pauses in the oath until you get to the end of the first stanza.
That should make it doubly clear.
A scout incorporates ALL of the honor and duty required in their whole life, not just at meetings, not only on camp-outs. Not even in the uniform on the way to an event. They must be honorable always. They are asked to do their best because any less would not be honorable. To put forth an effort in what is asked and not just muddle through. Whether cooking for their friends, practicing safety measures or earning a merit badge their efforts must be full and complete. They must focus on excellence, not merely avoiding disobeying God or the Scout Law.
And duty to God is also specific. In the Judeo-Christian sphere this is very simple. The ten commandments are very much the basis for duty to God, and the beginning of what Western civilization itself holds dear and how America was founded. So in the short opening a scout is vested with being honorable at all times, through his whole life, to strive for excellence in everything he does with no half measures, from brushing one’s teeth to assisting another injured scout, AND then has to climb the hurdle of controlling their actions to conform with the laws of God.
That is a very hefty job for an eleven-year-old, yet somehow
they manage. Somehow they continue through the oath to their country, the place
they were born and where they were raised, the place they love, with the people
who mean so much to them. They have a duty to their nation, a duty which most
overlook today and don’t give a second thought. They cannot hesitate in an
emergency to help. They are charged with this right after they commit to God.
Finally, they get a pause in their obligations for a moment when the oath takes in all the facets of the Scout Law. Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, cheerful, obedient, thrift, brave, clean and reverent.
So in addition to God and country they are now expected to follow these detailed convictions through to every aspect of how they live. Could any of us do this? Do we want to try to do this? Who would want to do this?
Three million of your closest friends try to do that every day. Every day, a literal army of scouts goes to school without their uniform on, goes to work part-time jobs, goes to serve their community, studies hard, develops their skills, mind and body, and worship. And no one had to beat them over the head to do it. The first major task to becoming a scout, their first impediment is embedded right in the middle of the joining requirements.
You don’t even get to join without understanding and committing to the oath. The honor code. This is something that all scouts do reflect upon. We’ve seen it in action. We have also seen adults who could use a little more honor themselves. Perhaps a code.
The next time you see your scout do something wonderful, treat others as he wishes to be treated, maintain dignity, loyalty or friendliness if a very difficult situation, think about the code. And think about their life and how honor will be a touchstone through their days.
And then think about your own words and actions.
Did you treat God with respect? Others in your community? Were you loyal? Helpful? Did you bear false witness against your neighbor or covet thy neighbor’s goods or possessions or position or status? Did you seek your own enrichment to the detriment of others? Did you lie, cheat, steal, seek destruction of others, or violate the ten commandments? Have you gossiped or been hateful towards others? Have you rationalized your behavior today to preserve your integrity? Did you pray about it?
Before we ask these children, these scouts, to advance themselves in a mold that is rarer with each passing day, we have to ask, have you done everything you can today, “on your honor?”