Scoutmaster Musings - Friendly


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Scoutmaster Musings

Friendly
From the Scout Handbook - "A Scout is friendly. A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He offers his friendship to people of all races and nations, and respects them even if their beliefs and customs are different from his own."

Friendship is a strong relationship between two people. Sometimes it grows over years while other times it springs up in a short time. In my life, I've had few close friends, though I've had many acquaintances and been friendly to many more people. Friends are people you cherish and care for and enjoy being around. You know them and they know you.

A Scout should be friendly to everyone he meets, giving them the benefit of the doubt and believing them to be worthy of friendship first until their character becomes known. If a Scout pre-judges someone on their skin color, language, clothes, looks, family name, or other superficial aspect, then he is not following the Scout Law. Offering his friendship to be taken, rejected, or lost to all people is expected of a Scout. It is going out on a limb and knowing that some people will reject you.

Being friendly is demonstrated in many ways, depending on the situation in which a new person is met. Being friendly to a new boy in school struggling to find his next class might require escorting him there. If he were seen sitting alone at lunch, it might just mean asking to join him. If a gang of boys were laughing at his strange accent, a Scout might step in and deflect the abuse.

It is easier to relate to people of our own race, beliefs, and social standing. It can be more of a challenge to befriend someone poorer or wealthier, either because of our snobbery or jealousy. Looking past social standing to see the value of the person is required of a Scout. Scouts come from all ranks of life and they accept others based on their character and actions.

Finding common ground with those people having beliefs and customs that vary from our own is more challenging, but also more interesting. Imagine how your knowledge and understanding expands as more is learned from a friend from a foreign land. We also learn that we have far more in common than we have differences. We can ask for explanation of behaviors that seem odd due to no understanding of the norms of a foreign society, but make sense when explained. If we ignore the possibility of friendships like these, we remain ignorant and close-minded.

Once a Scout shows his friendliness, it is up to the other person to follow through. A person's actions and behaviors will demonstrate his character and we can determine if it is wise to continue building on the relationship or discontinue it. Observing how the person works, plays, treats others, talks about others, and generally behaves, shows us what sort of friend he is. When someone is clearly of poor character, a Scout should continue to be friendly to him in the hope of turning him around. But, a Scout should not have a friendship with such a person, since doing so would associate him with the same character.

The law says that a Scout is friend to all. Sometimes the best way to be a friend is to demonstrate high values and refuse to join in those activities and behaviors that are of low character. A friendship will not grow in such a relationship, but the low character may rise when faced with the choice of continuing inappropriate actions or relating with a Scout of high character. And, later on, a real friendship may slowly grow.

A Scout is friendly.
Posted: 0:07 01-08-2008 288
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