Scouts-L Mail Archive for October of 1998: Re: Scout handshake
Re: Scout handshake
Fri, 9 Oct 1998 07:47:07 -0400
George Hamilton <gham@TELPLUS.NET> wrote:
> The legend of Baden-Powell's left handed handshake as noted by Jim is told
> in the Ad Altari Dei Counsellor's Handbook in Unit One. I elaborate by
> noting (from memory,so I don't know the source to this) that for Europeans,
> the handshake, like the salute was as sign of being disarmed. "I am not
> going to shoot you or stab you; see, my hand is empty." We westerners focus
> on proving ourselves. The left hand shake was, "I believe you will not
> attack me. I trust you. I put down my defenses to you." This is quite the
> opposite message. It leads to a lot of discussion on forgiveness, trust,
> friendship, etc.
Although a great story, truth be told, the left handed handshake was not
selected because it represented disarming, putting down a shield, or that the
left hand was closer to the heart.
According to Baden-Powell's widow, as recounted to me by David Greene, a
former Canadian Scout Exec who had the pleasure of meeting the widow and
asking her the question, Lord Baden-Powell chose to shake with the left hand
simply because it was different. He later adopted the legend as his motivation
for selection when he was told that natives in Africa from waring tribes often
greeted each other this way to "insert your disarming/defenseless choice here."
The story is a good one however, and this is the way legends are born after all...
Tim Hewitt, Scoutmaster
Troop 350, Old Orchard Beach, Maine