A Scout is Obedient
The seventh point of the scout law is “Obedient”. In the 1911 BSA handbook, it tells us that a scout who is obedient will obey “his parents, Scoutmaster, patrol leader, and all other duly constituted authorities.” It also says that
To be a good scout a boy must learn to obey the orders of his patrol leader, scout master, and scout commissioner. He must learn to obey, before he is able to command. He should so learn to discipline and control himself that he will have no thought but to obey the orders of his officers. He should keep such a strong grip on his own life that he will not allow himself to do anything which is ignoble, or which will harm his life or weaken his powers of endurance.
Even in the description of “A Scout is Cheerful” we see this statement – “He smiles whenever he can. His obedience to orders is prompt and cheery. He never shirks nor grumbles at hardships.”
How does obedience relate to leadership skills? A good leader is someone who can convince others to obey commands without hesitation. This isn’t accomplished through trickery or cunning manipulation, but by influence, fair dealings, consistency and charisma.
Obedience is a positive choice that each scout makes for himself. It represents a commitment to:
working as a team to accomplish big projects in a safe and timely fashion
submit to established laws and rules
comply with a leader’s lawful and reasonable directions based on their authority or influence.
Conversely, disobedience typically leads to chaos, and the breakdown of scouting ideals when we can’t trust each other to get tasks done in a correct, consistent or timely manner.
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 are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobeying them. Your family cares for you and wants you to be safe. Help them out by following the rules set for you by your parent or guardian. There are others besides family members to whom you owe obedience. When teachers give you homework, it is usually because the assignments will help you learn. When an employer gives you a task to be done, it is usually for the good of the business. When your Scout leader asks you to do a job, it is because your efforts will help your patrol and troop. Being obedient also means following city, state, and national laws. Obedience must be guided by good judgement. If someone tells you to cheat, steal, or do something else you know is wrong, you must say no. Trust your own beliefs and obey your conscience when you know you are right.