Saturday, June 5, 2010

Wholehearted Duty To God

A coworker and I were recently discussing some challenges he was having with his teenage children; specifically in the sense that they had not inherited his work ethic, motivation, drive, determination to be productive and contribute to the family or society. Furthermore he was concerned with the older son's complete disregard for moral integrity.

This conversation turned to religion - more accurately a faith or belief in God, which governs our behaviors and actions, and how a lack of faith in God reduces the likelihood that a person's "moral compass" is pointing the correct direction. We discussed at length how in today’s society fewer people are going to church regularly, and with each passing generation it is fewer and fewer. I asked him some probing questions during the discussion and found that as a youth he attended church weekly until about age 10 (experts agree many moral lessons are learned by age 2 and that by age 8 decision-making morals have been cemented), and that as a parent he has not taken his children to church. It seems apparent to me that as church attendance declines, moral behavior likewise diminishes.

For this reason I am very glad to be involved in the Scouting program, which I believe to be an inspired program. Many today question the moral foundation of the scouting movement, and whether it really should expect a scout to believe in God, or commit himself to do his duty to God. One only need read about the great Chief of Scouting – Lord Baden Powell - to understand that he believed this was a crucial tenet of Scouting.

Here’s just one example. In 1933 Baden Powell gave an address at a World Jamboree in Budapest, Hungary in which he said, “These aims are to do your duty wholeheartedly to God, to your country, and to your fellow man by carrying out the Scout Law. In that way you will, each one of you, help to bring about God's kingdom upon earth—the reign of peace and goodwill.” (See Full Address Here) Clearly not only did Baden Powell believe in God, but also believed that Scouting was is a means by which Scouts will bring about God’s kingdom on earth through faithfully doing their duty to God, and doing their part to bring about peace and good will.

As we teach scouts to live the scout oath, and do their duty to God and practice reverence, they will learn a greater perspective on life and serving and helping others. Promoting selfless values and the ability to make wise choices based on sound moral principles.