I came from a “scouting family.” My father and two older brothers were all Eagle Scouts. ln addition, my father was a professional BoyScout Executive. The decision to go into scouting was made for me at an early age. I don’t recall that I was ever given a choice in the matter. And it was assumed from the day I put on my first “Bobcat” pin as a Cub Scout that I would someday become and “Eagle Scout.” Anyone who knows about Scouting knows that only about 1% of those who start in Scouting make it to “Eagle” and it’s even harder today than it was 40+ years ago when I earned mine. Of that big group of 2nd grade “Bobcat” Cub Scouts, I know of two of us who made it to Eagle over the next 10 years.
I wouldn’t say I was the best Scout who ever lived. Frankly I didn’t enjoy camping and in a lot of the activities we were supposed to “love.”
I always felt like a fish out of water, but I have to admit I learned a lot. There were two things that have stuck with me my entire life: the Scout Motto:”Be Prepared!” And the Scout Slogan: “Do a good turn daily.”
Frankly as a kid I never gave that a lot of thought. Say “do a good turn daily” and you get a mental picture of a kid helping an old lady across the street. I can’t say I found too many old ladies to help in that way, but lately l’ve been giving a lot of thought to what that slogan really meant.
“Do a good turn daily” really meant that at least once a day we should take our eyes off of ourselves and focus on the needs of another. It’s really a pretty simple lesson. How hard is that really? How difficult is it to take a few moments to extend courtesy to another, or to go out of your way to make someone else’s day a bit better. I’m not talking about just being polite. I’m taking about proactively doing something for somebody else, expecting nothing in return.
And how do you feel when you’ve done that?
I can’t think of anyone I know who doesn’t feel better at the end of their day when they’ve done that.
And more importantly, how different would our world look if every single day every single person took just a few minutes to “do a good turn daily”?