A Scout is Friendly

This Scoutmaster’s Minute is about the fourth point of the Boy Scout Law. “A Scout is Friendly.

Times have really changed since I was growing up. I remember being able to walk down the street from my house and playing in a huge field. It had a deep canyon running through it and it had caves and tall trees. And the most amazing thing, as I look back on it, was that we could go barefooted. You can’t do that today for sure. Trash, broken glass, rusty nails, rotten boards, and all kinds of stuff keep kids from doing that today. Going barefooted just isn’t safe anymore. Times have really changed and, although this is an exciting time to be alive with all the new technology and computers and games and movies, etc., many of the things that have changed are not positive.

One of those things is our ability to be friendly. The world has become a very suspicious place. Neighbors live right next door to each other for years but never become friends. Some never even meet. We have programs in our schools like D.A.R.E. and Operation Aware. We are told on the evening news about the people out there who will hurt us. People out there who will take advantage of us. People who will use us and disrespect our freedoms. Scams are everywhere. “Stranger danger.” All this has contributed to us becoming a very unfriendly society.

People don’t speak to each other anymore. I can remember my mom making lists of people that she needed to make Christmas candy or cookies for as a way of saying thank for their contribution to our family. The milk man, the postman, the paper boy, the neighbors, the barber who cut my hair (back when I had hair), and my teachers and scout leaders. My mom was a busy woman. But she felt that part of her job as a parent was to reach out to others and to teach me to do that too. She taught me about the importance of thank you notes and birthday cards and messages of condolence. Times have changed. No milk man. Garbage men and paper boy come too early. Lots of changes.

I went through the drive through at the bank this morning to deposit a check. The voice said “Good morning.” I replied, “Good morning. how are you today?” I did that without thinking. The voice said “Thank you for asking. I have already serviced seventy-five people so far this morning and you are the first one to ask me how I was doing. Thank you”.

I have a picture in my head, a Norman Rockwell picture if you will, of Scouts being friendly. Scouts assisting and helping people that they did not know. And people accepting that help with gratitude and friendship. It really isn’t that way anymore except in Norman Rockwell’s paintings. But it could be. It starts with each of us. If we take the time to be friendly, people will respond by being friendly in return. If we don’t, our society will eventually become a cold, uncaring, selfish, and suspicious community of strangers who go through life alone.

Remember. What we put in the lives of others….will someday come back into our own. “A Scout is Friendly.”

© Bill Shaffer 2004