Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Scout is Obedient

 The Scout Handbook says,  "A Scout is obedient. A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobeying them."

Miriam Webster defines obedient as submissive to the restraint or command of authority: willing to obey.
While in Cub Scouts, Akela is in command -- be it a parent, Den Chief, Den Leader, Cubmaster or other authoritative figure, but as the ranks progress from Lion to Tiger to Wolf to Bear and then to Webelos... we start giving some of those leadership opportunities back to the boys.  Once in Boy Scouts, it's all about tribal knowledge and transferring that training in obedience to becoming an authority and a good leader to those in your command.  It's a full-circle moment.

Learning to be obedient is learning to self-discipline.  Submissive to another's command isn't jumping just because someone says so, it's doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do.  When your parent asks you to clean your room, you obey.  I'm fairly sure kiddos don't want to clean their room, but doing what your parent asks is being obedient, even if there are better more fun things to do.

I know at my house many times when given an assigned chore, I'm met with, "why can't _____ (insert another brother's name) do it?" The point to be made is that, the objective was clearly assigned to you.  It's not up for negotiation.  Be obedient.  That is the right thing to do.  Obedience, however, is clearly a choice dictated by the level of maturity children are capable of at any various age.  That being said, as a Scout becomes more mature, he could work to change the rules and requests at his home in an orderly fashion to say, secure more "screen time" or negotiate for a later curfew after showing responsibility, self-discipline and self control as well as a history of obedience with which he may back up his request.  

The Bible is full of verses on the expectation of obedience from children in the home as well: A Scout is encouraged to obey his parents. The apostle Paul wrote, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1), and “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord” (Colossians 3:20). 

The Boy Scout Trail states, 
"Actually, an independent person has self-discipline enough to be obedient to his conscience. He obeys his moral and ethical honor and does what he knows is right, not because it is the easiest or most beneficial thing to do, but because his honor insists it be done. A Scout with a strong character, able to put the needs of others before his own and obey his conscience, can usually obey directions from leaders well because of his self-discipline.
As Scouts get used to the troop structure, they notice that the Senior Patrol Leader always seems to be handing out the orders and the Patrol Leaders in turn pass the orders down to the Scouts. They want to be on the top where they can give out orders instead of always taking them and that is often a motivation to hold a position. They don't yet realize that there is even more responsibility higher up the ladder of command and the leader needs to rely on those under him to accomplish a larger goal. Teamwork relies heavily on obedience, discipline, and trust.
By developing obedience in the family until and in all ranks of Scouting, the Scout is better able to handle the similar requirements of the workplace where orders are routinely given and expected to be completed. In all circumstances, whether family, school, work, or social, the obedient Scout must make sure that obeying a direction is not against his honor. If a boss tells him to cheat a client or a friend tells him to steal, he must compare the order to what he knows is right and wrong and first obey that inner compass." 

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