scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: Re: Scout Law
Rick Seymour (Rick@KUDU.NET
Thu Nov 04 1999 - 16:52:50 CST
Edward DiLorenzo asks:
> Does anyone know why the points of the scout law are in
> the order that their in? (Trustworthy, loyal...)
Our Scout Law follows the order of Baden-Powell's Scout Law:
1) A Scout's honour is to be trusted
2) A Scout is loyal to the Queen, his country, his Scouters, his parents,
his employers, and those under him.
3) A Scout's duty is to be useful and to help others.
4) A Scout is a friend to all, and a brother to every other Scout.
5) A Scout is courteous.
6) A Scout is a friend to animals.
7) A Scout obeys orders of his parents, Patrol Leader, or Scoutmaster
8) A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties.
9) A Scout is thrifty.
Baden-Powell never attached any particular significance to the order in
which he placed his Scout Laws. In _Scouting For Boys_ he reports having
based Scout Law on "The Knights' Code," but the more likely source was "The
Woodcraft Laws" from the copy of _The Birch Bark Roll_ that Ernest
Thompson Seton had mailed to him in July, 1906.
Seton's Laws were dramatically organized as "Four Lamps" lit from the
"Great Central Fire." From each of these Lamps issued "Three Rays" which
were the actual individual Laws. These were recited as a Woodcraft member
lit these four Lamps:
"This is the Lamp of Beauty:
1) Be clean; both yourself and the place you live in.
2) Understand and respect your body. It is the Temple of the Spirit.
3) Be the friend of all harmless wild life. Conserve the woods and
flowers, and especially be ready to fight wild-fire in forest or in town.
This is the Lamp of Truth:
4) Word of honor is sacred.
5) Play fair; foul play is treachery.
6) Be reverent. Worship the Great Spirit and respect all worship of Him
This is the Lamp of Fortitude:
7) Be brave. Courage is the noblest of all attainments.
8) Be silent while your elders are speaking and otherwise show them
9) Obey. Obedience is the first duty of the Woodcrafter.
This is the Lamp of Love:
10) Be kind. Do at least one act of unbargaining service each day.
11) Be helpful. Do your share of the work.
12) Be joyful. Seek the joy of being alive."
On February 14, 1911, a Committee was appointed to standardize the BSA
Scout Oath, Scout Law, and Rank Requirements. After much study and
consultation, the BSA Scout Law was adapted from the British version, with
the addition of three of Seton's Woodcraft Laws: Brave, Clean, and
Reverent. Each of the Laws was studied carefully and changed in some way,
but no importance was placed on their order at this time either.
According to William D. Murray's _History of the Boy Scouts of America_,
"There were a few suggestions for additional laws, such as respect for the
property of others, keeping the Sabbath day, Abstaining from tobacco,
personal purity, and using natural resources, but it was felt that broadly
understood the twelve laws covered the important life areas."
It should be noted that the form of the Laws has changed over the years. A
Tenderfoot Scout was required to know the Scout Law "in full." For
instance, the 6th Point was not "Kind," but rather, "A Scout is Kind. He
is a friend to animals. He will not kill nor hurt any living creature,
needlessly, but strive to save and protect all harmless life."
The explanation of the British 8th Point (Cheerful) warned "The punishment
for swearing or using bad language is for each offence a mug of cold water
to be poured down the offender's sleeve by the other Scouts. It was the
punishment invented by an old British Scout, Captain John Smith, three
hundred years ago."
For a point by point comparison (in table form) of the evolution of Scout
Law in the United States, see my Website under "Ideals." Webmasters can
link to this particular page using:
Hope this helps.
Yours in Scouting,
Scoutmaster, Troop 252
Buffalo, a Beaver, and the Kudu Net too!
reply to Rick@Kudu.Net