EXCERPTS FROM THE WRITINGS OF ROBERT BADEN-POWELL
And as the Founder said - "When I speak of Scouting I include
in it Guiding also."
A FAREWELL NOTE TO MY BROTHER SCOUTERS AND GUIDERS (Found
after the Chief's death, this note must have been written before he
became a peer in 1929)
"Cecil Rhodes said at the end of his life (and I, in my turn
feel the truth of it), 'So much to do and so little time to do it.'
No-one can hope to see the consummation, as well as the start, of
a big venture within the short span of one life-time. I have had an
extraordinary experience in seeing the development of Scouting from
its beginning up to its present stage. But there is a vast job before
it. The Movement is only now getting into its stride. (When I speak
of Scouting I include in it Guiding also.) The one part which I can
claim as mine towards promoting the Movement is that I have been lucky
enough to find you men and women to form a group of the right stamp
who can be relied upon to carry it to its goal. You will do well to
keep your eyes open, in your turn, for worthy successors to whom you
can, with confidence, hand on the torch. Don't let it become a salaried
organisation: keep it a voluntary movement of patriotic service. The
Movement has already, in the comparatively short period of its existence,
established itself onto a wide and so strong a footing as to show
most encouraging promise of what may be possible to it in the coming
years. Its aim is to promote healthy, happy, helpful citizens, of
both sexes, to eradicate the prevailing narrow self-interest, personal,
political, sectarian, and national, and to substitute for it a broader
spirit of self-sacrifice and service in the cause of humanity; and
thus to develop mutual goodwill and co-operation not only within our
own country but abroad, between all countries. Experience shows that
this consummation is no idle or fantastic dream, but is a practical
probability - if we all work for it; and it means, when attained,
peace prosperity and happiness for all. The 'encouraging promise'
lies in the fact that the hundreds of thousands of boys and girls
who are learning our ideals to-day will be the fathers and mothers
of millions in the near future, in whom they will in turn inculcate
the same ideals -PROVIDED THAT THESE ARE REALLY AND UNMISTAKABLY IMPRESSED
UPON THEM BY THEIR LEADERS OF TO-DAY. Therefore you, who are Scouters
and Guiders, are not only doing a great work for your neighbours'
children but are also helping in practical fashion to bring to pass
God's Kingdom of peace and goodwill upon earth. So, from my heart,
I wish you God-speed in your effort.
Baden-Powell's speech at the first Jamboree in August
1920 (It was pointed out to BP, that at that time, the dictionary
had the definition of Jamboree as: A noisy revel; a carousal or spree.
The Chief said: "Then we will give it a new meaning.") On the Friday
evening of the Jamboree, a week after the opening, BP was spontaneously
acclaimed 'Chief Scout of all the World' by the 25 nations represented.
"Brother Scouts, I ask you to make a solemn choice. Differences exist
between the peoples of the world in thought and sentiment, just as
they do in language and physique. The war has taught us that if one
nation tries to impose its particular will upon others, cruel reaction
is bound to follow. The Jamboree has taught us that if we exercise
mutual forbearance and give and take, then there is sympathy and harmony.
If it be your will, let us go forth from here fully determined that
we will develop among ourselves and our boys that comradeship, through
the world-wide spirit of the Scout Brotherhood, so that we may help
to develop peace and happiness in the world and goodwill among men.
Brother Scouts, answer me. Will you join this endeavour?" And from
every corner of the vast building there came back a great shout of
The founder had very strong views on the subject
"There are nearly sixty different subjects among which every boy should
be able to find one or more suited to him. Thus he is encouraged to
take up a hobby, and a lad with hobbies will not as a rule waste his
life. "Moreover there is only one standard by which a boy is judged
as qualified for a badge, and that is the amount of effort he has
put into his work. This gives direct encouragement to the dull or
backward boy - the boy in whom the inferiority complex has been born
through successive failures. If he is a trier, no matter how clumsy,
his examiner can award him the badge and this generally inspires the
boy to go on trying till he wins further badges and becomes normally
capable." BP fought against any schemes for the standardisation
of badges on to the level of school examination or competitive tests.
Scouting was a GAME.
More of BP's writings:
"Take a negative instance. A Mahommedan Guider comes to England and
addresses a lot of Girl Guides on religion, in the course of which
she quotes Mahomet as the one divine teacher. This in spite of the
fact that her audience are believers in Christ. How would you regard
her action? As tactless, as insulting, as fanatical? At any rate it
wouldn't be exactly polite or in accordance with our laws of courtesy.
"Yet I have known Christian Guiders as well as Scouters do exactly
the same thing with Jews or Hindoos or people of other beliefs present,
and these on their part have sat under it, too polite to raise objections
but none the less made uncomfortable by it. "Once, at a mixed gathering
at a 'Scout's Own' a speaker carefully avoided much reference to Christ
and was accused by some there of 'denying Him'. His defence was that
he was rather following Christ in that he was showing Christian deference
to the feelings of others who, equally with himself, were sons of
one Father, under whatever form they rendered homage to God."
The famous "Look Wider" quotation:
"There are two ways of climbing a mountain. One man goes steadily
upward, following the track that has been made by others or has been
pointed out by the guide book; he keeps his eyes fixed on that track
so that he may not miss it; his one determination is to be successful
in getting to the top. The other climber is equally anxious to reach
the top, but he looks wider. He looks ahead and higher and sees where
the former track may now, owing to wash-outs, etc., be improved upon,
and he varies his course accordingly. Occasionally he pauses to look
around him and to realize the glorious view that is opening and unfolding
itself at every step; thus he gains the spirit of exhilaration that
lightens his task and gives him fresh encouragement to press on. Then,
too, he looks back and realizes that the foot-hills through which
he has laboured are mere mole-hills now, and he is in a position whence
he can wave encouragement and direction to others, who are still struggling
through the early part of their climb. Thus he pursues his way in
cheery exaltation rather than with the stern laborious doggedness
of the other climber.
So in our work - indeed, in any work of life - we should look forward,
well forward, with high aims and hope; look around with joy and goodwill;
look back with thankfulness at what has been accomplished and then
press on with renewed vigour, with helpful initiative, and with broadened
outlook, towards the highest goal, not forgetting to give a helping
hand to others as we go. But when you look - look WIDE; and even when
you think you are looking wide - LOOK WIDER STILL. "
B-P's final letter to the Scouts :
"Dear Scouts - if you have ever seen the play 'Peter Pan' you will
remember how the pirate chief was always making his dying speech because
he was afraid that possible, when the time came for him to die, he
might not have time to get it off his chest. It is much the same with
me, and so, although I am not at this moment dying, I shall be doing
so one of these days and I want to send you a parting word of goodbye.
Remember, it is the last time you will ever hear from me, so think
it over. I have had a most happy life and I want each one of you to
have a happy life too. I believe that God put us in this jolly world
to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness does not come from being rich,
nor merely being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence.
One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong
while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so you can enjoy
life when you are a man. Nature study will show you how full of beautiful
and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy. Be contented
with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on the bright
side of things instead of the gloomy one. But the real way to get
happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave
this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes
to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not
wasted your time but have done your best. 'Be Prepared' in this way,
to live happy and to die happy - stick to your Scout Promise always
- even after you have ceased to be a boy - and God help you to do
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