Sunday, March 27, 2011

Baden-Powell Had His Own View

"Personally, I have my own views as to the relative value of the instruction of children in Scripture history within the walls of the Sunday-school, and the value of Nature study and the practice of religion in the open air, but I will not impose my personal views upon others."

Lord Robert Baden-Powell, Chief Scout of the World, 1912 (in B.P.'s Outlook)

Elsewhere, he writes of the importance of being able to do the thing rather than pass the test -- for example in first aid, he patiently explains being able to render it effectively counts more than tying neat bandages or knowing the proper Latin names.

He even briefly touches on his own politics (pinker than you'd think, at least in 1912) but proceeds to state that Scouting is to be apolitical, "Our aim is to be at peace with all and to do our best in our particular line," helping to build character, and expresses the wish that, by encouraging young men to make the most of themselves, "each one of them may at least get a fair start." And later, "We want our men to be men, not sheep."

Common sense: some people have it.


Ed Rasimus said...

And yet when Hitler established the Jugend with roughly the same sort of philosophy we vilified it. Seriously, building "men not sheep", teaching fieldcraft and survival skills, wearing neat little brown-shirt uniforms...etc. I guess it's in the eye of the beholder.

Today of course, we have political correctness, bad press of abuse scandals, abhorrence of self-sufficiency, avoidance of competition, and concentration on mediocrity. The truth about common sense being so uncommon is very apparent.

Roberta X said...

Well, Ed, B-P would have disagreed with you; his vision for Scouting was disciplined but very unregimented and he was harshly critical of the more military-type youth organizations; he was specifically disgusted by Hitler Youth.

B-P tried to teach kids to think for themselves and his methods were more or less Socratic. I'm not familiar with modern Scouting -- I was barely even a Girl Scout -- but I wonder how much of his approach has survived.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Modern Scouting has denigrated from B-P's original Vision, at least in many parts of the United States. Check out a copy of one of the Boy Scout Manuals from the early Teens and Compare/Contrast with what's in one of today's printings. Sad.

Ed Rasimus said...

The absurdity of the parallel is what makes it striking. British stiff-upper lip self-discipline speaks for itself and the loss of it these days is even more striking. The yobs going gonzo in Oxford Circus this week being a case in point.

I had a good experience with scouting as a youth, but that was shortly after the discovery of fire and the demise of T. Rex. We still get newspaper reports each week from the Dallas area of top-level scouts and their community service projects, so I guess the program remains a positive influence despite efforts to discredit it by the modern thinkers.

Anonymous said...

In Modern Scouting they teach you to abandon your fellow Scout who needs help with his Eagle Project after he helped you with your Eagle Project.

Boy Scouts can go pound sand. Only guy that showed from my old patrol shot himself with his dad's 1911. All the other bastards did not show for any sessions.

Scouts cannot fold soon enough.

Shootin' Buddy

OldTexan said...

I had a lot of fun in the Boy Scouts in the 1950's, camping out, cooking, learning how to smoke and shoot craps, all of that good guys stuff.

When I got out of the army in 1970 I sowre I would never wear a uniform or sleep outside again and then in the 1980's I became and assistant Scoutmaster for my son's troop and we had a great time in scouting and we are both still avid outdoorsmen.

One thing I noticed when we went camping was that the boys actually loved being away from electronic stuff and girls and just running around building fires, cooking, teasing each other and being guys.

I think for my son and me it was a wonderful experience, he loves the outdoors and he has worked in the ski and bicycle industry ever since he got out of college.

For some boys it also helps them become good guys who treat women with respect and who actually learn how to become self-reliant men.

I know not all experiences with Boy Scouts are that great but I think the odds are favorable that most boys will benifit from theirscouting experience.

Roberta X said...

I think SB shows that not every boy -- even Eagle Scouts -- learns all the lessons Scouting has to teach.

Take comfort in the fact that you did learn 'em, SB; and I suspect B-P, with his emphasis on doing over merely passing tests, would rate you a better Scout than the peers who let you down.