I am an Eagle Scout and I am pretty sure a large amount of my decision making process was heavily influenced from my years in the scouts. While they didn’t turn me into exactly what they wanted (pretty sure they didn’t plan on anyone coming out a card carrying atheist) the core values of scouting are a great road map to build a wonderful life.
For those unfamiliar the scouts have a few mottos they live by. The list of 12 laws are particularly wonderful with almost no exceptions.
There are 12 principles a Boy Scout lives by which is actually considered the Scout Law. “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”
The 12 words in the Scout Law are so well rounded it’s hard to think of anything to add or remove.
We start strong with Trustworthy. Remain someone who’s trust is unquestionable in every circumstance. If you disagree then speak your mind, if you promise something you follow through and see it to the end. Being Trustworthy is one of the keys to financial success in our world and an excellent first word.
The hits just keep on coming with word 2; Helpful. Being helpful to those around you is such a wonderful way to live your life. Your friends, family and co-workers know they can rely on you because you are always willing to lend a helping hand. Maybe you need to help someone meet a deadline, you help a co-worker for 2 hours on their project; maybe a neighbor needs help staining their fence. By remembering to always be helpful in turn you will have others always willing to help you.
No one likes an asshole. This applies to all forms of negativity like gossip, hate speech, intolerance and sorts of other bullshit. Be known as the person who is laid back, cool, tolerant and Friendly.
When I was younger and actively in Scouts this one was the one I forgot when reciting the list. It always felt like it could be rolled into friendly. I thought this way right up until I started experiencing the real world. People are fucking terrible and if you’ve ever worked in food service, cashier, etc you’ll know that a Courteous person can change the entire course of your day. Be understanding to those that serve you, be overly generous with gratuity, and not only will your path through life be more pleasant but so will everyone else’s you encounter. Think to the last time a fast food worker had to tell you to go park and wait. Did they act timid and a little afraid to tell you that info? Yeah, well it’s conditioning because way too many people are fucking awful human beings and being a little more Courteous makes the world a better place.
Kind is a synonym of Courteous! Yeah, that’s the point. Being a Kind person is so important they listed it twice so you won’t forget. Be kind to others; it’s really not that hard, but it is rewarding.
A rare miss, but I always treated this one a little differently. There is a time and a place to question authority and there are times to be obedient. In extreme circumstances like an extreme wilderness adventure where being obedient to your Scout leaders is crucial to keep everyone alive. There are times to disobey. Trust and listen to experts, scientists, and people whom you respect. Question authority that claims they have authority for authority’s sake.
We took a detour but we are back with some serious chops with Cheerful. We all like to bitch about our problems, stupid people, politics, squirrels that steal your bird seed or whatever other issue you have with the world. There is a limit and nobody likes a Debbie Downer or a Pouting Pete. The world is awesome and there is an unlimited amount of cool shit you can spend your time on this planet doing. Don’t get bogged down in the stuff that sucks. Focus on the good in all things.
It’s not going to come as a surprise that this is my personal favorite. The entire world of personal finance consisting of college courses, degrees, full-time speakers, bloggers, Dave Ramsey, Suzi Orman, MSNBC, wallstreetbets, countless books, and the Boy Scouts managed to nail it down with one word: Thrifty. The ability to give a lifetime of financial lessons in a single word is a work of art. Let’s explore why thrifty is the perfect word to include and how it covers all manner of personal finance advice.
In adult speak this translates to “don’t be a bitch”. Stand up and face your problems and fears. Tell the truth even if it’s uncomfortable. Stand up for what is right in all circumstances even if there are negative consequences. Don’t be afraid to venture into the unknown as discomfort is the source of inspiration.
Typically the first piece of advice a therapist gives to someone working on depression is to clean up their environment. It feels good, instills a sense of purpose and places value on your existence to see progress on something. If you ever go down the deep web rabbit hole and read about incel support groups, you’ll see that one of the first pieces of advice is to CLEAN YOUR ROOM. It doesn’t need to be perfect but a reasonably clean living space that isn’t filled with trash, dust and filth with have an immediate and positive impact on your life.
I have been an atheist who was raised Catholic for most of my life. The last memory I have of believing or at least following the Catholic God was around 3rd grade. I remember asking our religion teacher a question and getting yelled at for questioning something…..in school. From that point on I was on the “this is bullshit” train. Reverence to me has a different meaning. It means to respect the beliefs of others and let them live their lives in peace. Whatever views you may have is totally fine but you do not have the right to infringe on differing beliefs of others. Live and let live.
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” When you really dive in and think about each word and it’s deeper meaning on a life it’s hard to think the Scouts were wrong. I was in Scouts long before the scandals came out and I believe my life is better as a result. While not everyone has the privilege to be involved in such a program we can still all read and understand their laws and apply those lessons to our daily lives.