Scott Farrell comments:
Robert Badon-Powell (usually known simply as “B-P”) founded the Scouting movement in 1908 as a means of giving young people a love of outdoor activities and instilling a sense of honor and dignity in young minds. Scouting is, sadly, scoffed at in many circles these days: To be called a “boy scout” is to be labeled trusting, naïve and virtuous to an absurd degree. Also, many consider Scouting to be inherently chauvinistic, not realizing that B-P’s original vision for Scouting included both Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. (He said “girls must be partners and comrades rather than dolls,” — a remarkably progressive attitude in the days before women’s lib.)
Ironically, when drafting his Scout Laws, B-P looked to the Knights of the Round Table as models for his scouting ideals, and claimed that the Code of Chivalry was reflected in the moral expectations of a Scout.
The following article is not meant as any sort of “endorsement” of Scouting per se, but I do think it gives us an opportunity to reflect on the value of working to achieve something — too often these days youngsters see rewards and merits as things that are given rather than earned. It also reminds us that boys and girls begin building the framework for their ethical and moral understanding of the world at a very young age. We do our young people a great disservice when we fail to set good examples for them with the excuse, “They’re too young to appreciate that kind of thing.” Your child or student may not be interested in becoming a Scout, but what are you doing to inspire them to want to become a knight?
From Scout to knight
How long has it been since a real knight was trained? You still hear all the time about the Queen of England knighting someone, or about an order of Knighthood doing this or that. But do these “knights” really practice chivalry? A pity that these days children can’t be brought up as knights the way they might have back then …brought in as a page, then a squire, then eventually knighted when they’ve learned enough. But such practices are obsolete now days … right?
I’m changing one word in the below motto. I want to know if anyone recognizes it:
A Knight is…
Anyone recognize it? It’s the Boy Scout law. For years young men in various countries have been brought up as Boy Scouts looking to achieve the highest rank, Eagle Scout. If you really stop to think about it, what is the Boy Scouts but an order of Knighthood? These young men are being brought up to believe and act on these laws, to learn outdoor skills useful to survive and eventually when they have passed all their ordeals, they are “knighted” to become an Eagle Scout. They learn to be courteous to others, to always help those in need, to respect the world they live in. They are taught that there is a time to be courageous and a time to be humble.
They don’t wear amour and don’t fight with weapons. But the ideals and morals of knighthood and chivalry live on in this forgotten order of knighthood. While I never achieved Eagle Scout, I can say I am proud to have been in this order and hope one day to become a Scoutmaster so I can have a hand in raising future knights to one day take their place in the world.
© 2006 Aric Wilisch