Our trusty Scout Handbook reminds us that, "A Scout is clean. A Scout keeps his body and mind fit. He chooses the company of those who live by high standards. He helps keep his home and community clean."
We can't remotely expect to be outdoor enthusiasts and not get dirty. Camping is dirty work, but that's part of the allure of the outdoors. You're really getting to be one with nature. Sometimes literally. Sometimes, you may look like you're actually becoming part of it! Think about all of the "dirty" (although honorable) jobs out there -- mechanics, construction workers, farmers, coal miners... the list goes on and on.
I mean, there is an Eagle Scout who has made a career of showing us just how many Dirty Jobs ARE out there.
Yep! Mike Rowe is an Eagle Scout. Pretty cool, huh?
In the pursuit of "clean," we have actually created quite a conundrum for mankind in that some people now have the mindset that all dirt and germs are bad. The idea that having even a little dirt on you is a very bad thing. We have so many people now using antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer instead of just plain old soap and water, that we have started creating superbugs that are RESISTANT to antibiotics! How scary is that? Dirt and some bacteria aren't bad things. And, regular, plain soap is just fine for getting a little mud off your hands.
But, while we are discussing the WORD clean, we aren't necessarily only talking about being Zestfully clean. We are also talking about being clean in world, word, thought and deed.
First, let's think about the environment. We MUST set the standard of care for the earth we are on. We MUST consume less. We MUST come to the realization that simply throwing something away, doesn't mean it's gone. We MUST realize the dirty impact that we have on the world and then DO SOMETHING about making it a MUCH more clean place. In Scouting we have the mantra to "leave it better than you found it" and that should be everywhere! Conservationism and the 3 R's we preach: reduce, reuse and recycle are all ways to keep the earth clean.
When your Scout starts to camp, teach him the importance of keeping his tent space tidy whether it's with you on a family campout, when he's learning the patrol method and camping as a Webelos or even when he camps alongside or with a Troop as he becomes a Boy Scout. I can assure you that it is no fun to be a tentmate with a slob... especially when your gear goes missing under the mess left in his wake. Teach him now, how to take care of your gear and keep it clean for it to last longer.
Teach your Scout the importance of clean hands when preparing food so that safety is insured for everyone. Learning to BE clean by showering daily to remove dirt, germs and odor (onion pits are the worst!) is something that they do not only for themselves, but for those that have to be around them.
In Scouting, we teach the boys to clean dishes properly using the three bucket method. Did you know there was a three bucket method? Well, then come camp with us. You need to learn this to reinforce it when your scout gets to that level!
Another term you'll hear -- especially around the new year -- is eating clean. Eating clean doesn't mean that you've washed everything you're consuming with soap and water. It means that you are showing self-respect to your body and those you feed by giving them wholesome, nutrient dense sustenance. This is one reason we say no soda on camp-outs and there are rank-specific requirements and electives about learning about the food pyramid, nutrition and being healthy in your food selections. When was the last time you flipped over a package of something you're going to consume and read the label? Can you pronounce half of it? Do you know what's in your food?
The Boy Scout Trail states:
If it's not dirt, earth, and grime that makes a Scout dirty, what does? It's a simple chore to scrub dirt off skin, but a much more difficult task to clean up filthy thoughts, habits, and behaviors that accumulate in our lives. First a feeling of jealousy or mistrust towards someone, then a derogatory comment about them, and soon a person is a fountain of malice spewing forth filth, vulgarity, and hate. Cleaning up such a mess is nearly impossible, but fortunately doesn't take a lifetime to develop. By keeping the mind and heart clean and not allowing the emotional grime to settle in, the problem is kept at bay.One of the best aspects of Scouting is that it brings together all walks, creeds, races and socio-economic groups together for one purpose - the brotherhood of Scouting. Since we are all to be living the Scout Oath and Law in our daily lives means that this, in turn, helps us to associate with others who are also pledging to live with a clean mind and heart. Serving alongside others who are cheerful, encouraging, friendly, loyal, benevolent and kind helps to encourage like behavior.
Ever heard the saying, you are the company you keep? Think about it. Most cliches were coined for a reason. If you associate with those that push the envelope, break rules or laws and engage in less than desirable behavior, you're more inclined to assimilate with that crowd rather than be the one that stands out for being different and saying no.
"Dirty jokes, vulgar comments, racial slurs, ridicule, and swearing are often heard in many situations. They have no place in scouting and no place in a scout's life. Besides choosing to not say those kinds of things, a scout should also make it known that he will not tolerate those things. A single scout will most likely not change the behaviors of a group, but he can make his feelings known and then remove himself from the crowd. He can also support someone he finds as the butt of these comments and demonstrate compassion to those unclean louts, possibly helping them recognize their ways."There is a reason that people are able to sue for emotional distress. The mind and emotional psyche is something that can be made unclean and that "dirt" isn't quite as distinguishable as a mud speck on a chin. Keeping your thoughts, actions, words and deeds clean can help to insure that those around you are buoyed by your scouting spirit and cleanliness.
A Scout is Clean.