By Utah National Parks Council
Dec 17, 2013

Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 8 – A Scout is Courteous

The fifth attribute in the Scout Law is to be courteous.

A Scout is courteous. He is gracious. He is respectful. He is considerate.

refiners fireThe refiner’s fire.

President Gordon B. Hinckley gave this advice:

It is amazing what courtesy will accomplish. It is tragic what a lack of courtesy can bring. We see it every day as we move in the traffic of the cities in which we live. A moment spent in letting someone else get into the line does good for the one who is helped, and it also does good for the one who helps. Something happens inside of us when we are courteous and deferential toward others. It is all part of a refining process, which if persisted in, will change our very natures.

On the other hand, anger over a little traffic problem, with swearing and filthy gestures, demeans those who make them and offends those at whom they are aimed. To practice the kind of self-discipline which can control one’s temper in the little things that happen almost every day is an expression of emotional cleanliness. [1]

 Learning Self-discipline

This is not always easy because there are constant daily annoyances whether intentional or unintentional. But figuring out why it happened or who did what is less important than learning how to confront frustrating instances.

Swearing is out – not an option. Remember a Scout is well-spoken. So how do you develop the discipline needed to control your reactions.

I think a lot of athletes learn to be very disciplined to improve. Athletes have to be committed; there is no time off. An athlete works on a skill until he or she has mastered it. You have to start at the beginning and advance as you master each skill.

I love this scene from the Disney movie “Miracle” about the 1980 U.S. Hockey team. Early in the team’s training they are lazy and not focused. The team plays an exhibition game against the Norwegian Olympic team five months before the Olympics and the players are more concerned about the cute girls in the stands than winning. They are content with a tie. Their coach is not content with a tie and has a surprise in store for them.

There will always be people who cut in line, who try to cheat to get ahead. There are those who intentionally drive slow to make sure others drive slow. Do not worry about what others do. Be kind, be courteous and move forward. Go around them if you need to do and brush it off.

On the eighth day of Christmas a Scout remembers to always be courteous. He works on learning self-discipline to become more emotionally clean.

Merry Christmas!

Author: Heidi Sanders | Marketing & PR Director, Utah National Parks Council



1. See President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Be Ye Clean.” (1996, April).

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