By Michelle Carpenter
Dec 29, 2016

A Scout is Courteous–12 Days of a Scout Christmas

Traditionally, the 12 Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day and last until the evening of January 5th – also known as Twelfth Night. The 12 Days have been celebrated in Europe since before the middle ages and were a time of celebration.

It has been our custom at The Boy Scout to post a Scouter’s minute each day leading up to Christmas. This year, we decided to try something new. The Christ­mas messages will focus on the lives of modern-day prophets and times when they exemplified a point of the Scout Law. Come back for the next eleven days to find out how prophets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been trustworthy, loyal, helpfulfriendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

David O. McKay teaches us to be courteous.

Treating His Wife with Respect

David O. Mckay understood what it meant to be courteous. He kept appointments if he could help it, and he apologized if things went wrong. He said that there should never be yelling, unless the house is on fire.

mckays-2President McKay also frequently reached out in gentle respect towards his wife. He’d stand when she walked into the room. He’d pull out a chair for her to sit down. He kissed her as they parted ways, even when they were both in wheelchairs.

Mckay performed many weddings, and one couple recalled the advice he gave them, discussed in the book David O. Mckay and the Rise of Mormonism by Gregory Prince.

He told the just married man to treat his wife with kindness and to keep courting her. “And always admire her new hat,” he said.

Sister McKay told the following story about her husband’s attitude towards her:

“I accompanied my husband to a dedication of a meetinghouse in Los Angeles. We stopped on Wilshire Boulevard to get our car washed. I sat on a bench and the President was standing over by the car. Suddenly at my elbow I heard a tiny voice say, ‘I guess that man over there loves you.’ Surprised, I turned and saw a beautiful boy about seven years of age with dark curly hair and large brown eyes. ‘What did you say?’

“‘I said, I guess that man over there loves you.’

mckays“‘Why, yes, he loves me; he is my husband. Why do you ask?’

“‘Oh, ‘cuz, the way he smiled at you. Do you know, I’d give anything in the world if my Pop would smile at my Mom that way.’”

McKay understood that being courteous towards his wife strengthened their relationship and life.

Being courteous towards others is an important point of the Scout Law, and it is an easy one to leave out in today’s society. In a culture where vulgarity and rudeness is considered funny, boys might forget to treat others with decency and respect.

Teach your Scouts the importance of courtesy. Teach them to treat women as McKay treated his wife. Teach them that equality doesn’t equal disrespect. Courtesy increases love.

As President David O. McKay stated, “Love can be starved to death as literally as the body that receives no sustenance. Love feeds upon kindness and courtesy”.



Author: Michelle Carpenter | Marketing Associate, Utah National Parks Council.

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