As I attended several camps and events this summer, I found myself contemplating why Scouting has had such an important place in the development of the Church’s young men in the United States.
Doctrine and Covenants 90:15 says “…study and learn, and become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people.” I believe that getting acquainted with the good teachings in the Boy Scout program would definitely fall under what Heavenly Father is asking of us in this section.
To me, the greatest teaching of the Boy Scouts of America is the Scout Law: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.” I love that declaration for all young men all over the United States of America. I must admit that when we repeat that phrase as Scouts, I hope that the individual young men are personalizing that statement. For example, “I am courteous.”
While contemplating the values of the Scout Law, I found myself focusing on the wonderful attribute of Christ of being courteous.
In today’s world, we need to step up our game with regard to being courteous. There is a greater need for courtesy than ever before. Technology etiquette (courtesy) is very important. How often have you been speaking to someone and they will not even look you in the face because they are busy texting?
Or rather than following the Come Follow Me lesson in class and participating, they have to ask where the class is when asked to read something because they are using their phone for something else. How often do we send text messages to express something and they are misinterpreted because we did not take the time to hold a personal conversation? I have even seen people playing games on their iPad during sacrament meeting. Let’s show the world that our young people are the most courteous. I plead with you young people to please be courteous with technology.
We should then speak of the traditional courtesy that has always existed among the Latter-day Saint young men and young women. How many Aaronic Priesthood holders are looking anxiously at how they may help some of the widows in the ward? Would it not be wonderful if our young men decided that their mother would not open a single door when they are around, especially on the Sabbath?
We need to focus on what is happening in the world around us in order to truly be courteous. Elder Harold G. Hillam who at the time as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy said, “I urge you young people to develop the habit of always showing respect, courtesy, and deference to your parents and others, especially those who are older than you.” Please find a way this very week to show the women in your life that you are kind and courteous.
Baden Powell said, “One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong when you are a boy, so that you can be useful and enjoy yourself when you are a man … but the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try to leave this world a little better than how you found it, and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy feeling … that you have not wasted your time, but have done your best. ‘Be prepared’ to live happy, and to die happy.”
Sure our young men love the camps, outdoor activities, rank advancements and other treasures of Scouting. But leaving the world a little better than we found it by being courteous is much more important to their salvation. Remember that the reason Scouting blesses our young men is by helping them build character, live values and become better disciples of Jesus Christ.
Author: Brother M. Joseph Brough | Young Men general presidency