Living with Honor
Living with “Scout’s Honor” is not always the easiest path though it yields lifelong rewards that cannot be measured.
Robert Baden Powell
In 1908 Lord Baden Powell wrote the Scout Law in Scouting For Boys. The first point of the new Scout Law was “A Scout’s Honor is to be Trusted”. Today, “A Scout’s Honor is to be Trusted” has been shortened to Scout’s Honor. The question is, what does this mean. What does it mean to make a promise or statement and include the words “Scout’s Honor”?
The word honor means things like “great respect”, “keeping an agreement”, and “a privilege”. Honor is all of these things and among men and women it can mean far more. In scouting Trustworthy is the first point of the Scout Law, partially because it is a bridge that must be crossed for a scout to live with honor and to be considered honorable by his peers.
I watched “A few good men” last night and it made me think about honor. In the movie, everyone had a failure of their honor, from the leader, Colonel Jessup on down. In the film, a young Private named Santiago compared unfavorably to his fellow Marines, had poor relations with them, and failed to respect the chain of command in attempts at being transferred to another base. An argument evolves between base commander Colonel Jessup and his officers: Jessup orders Santiago’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Kendrick, to train Santiago to become a better Marine.
Lt Kendrick then orders Lance Corporal Dawson and Private Downey to “train” Santiago but instead they accidently kill Private Santiago during the “training/hazing” activity. The film covers the court-martial of two Marines. Spoiler alert, it ends with the two soldiers confused since they were found Not Guilty of murder but of “conduct unbecoming a United States Marine” and dishonorably discharged. They had in fact damaged their honor in their hazing/training actions and then further lying about the events.
Living with honor is important to those who make honor a priority. As a scout, you get to choose whether you want to be an honorable person and to make decisions as such. If you choose to be someone of honor, know that it will not always be easy. There will be times when you must face negative consequences that you would otherwise not face. Also, know that there are rewards you cannot measure in the bonds you develop with others.
I challenge you to live with Scout’s Honor that would make Lord Baden-Powell proud.