Every month on The Boy Scout we theme an article on one of the Six Pillars of Being Prepared. For the month of December, we’re focusing on Pillar 6 – Integrity. Pillar 6 states, “Be prepared by learning who we are as Scouts and sons of God by keeping ourselves physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight, understanding our true nature as a son of God.”
The author John D. MacDonald has said “Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn’t blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man who won’t cheat, then you know he never will.” The youth today, particularly our young men, need to learn to find that integrity within themselves. Integrity, in all that we do, can become the center of an effective youth that has the chance to learn through doing. Scouting can provide those opportunities in an environment that is safe, effective and meaningful.
Scouting was able to help me find a great deal of that inner image John MacDonald mentioned. Through watching effective, trained leaders who cared about each youth in their circle of care and who allowed those youth to make decisions that would build integrity for themselves, I was able to gain a fundamental understanding of what having integrity means to me. In everything they did, from their interactions with us as Scouts to the way they treated others at church functions and in their own professional lives, I was very fortunate to have leaders that exuded what integrity meant to them. I could see that the things they talked about in troop meetings were not just for Scouting. They were for every day, all time. Those experiences, as well as lessons, provided by loving parents, other life missteps, and my own personal growth have given me a perspective and understanding that will, I believe, help me better understand how to instill integrity in my own children.
It is imperative that we give our youth an opportunity to see and experience what growing integrity is like. Mistakes happen; amazing opportunities are around every corner; it is the fundamental integrity and self-image that every youth needs that will help them to make the most of those opportunities.
See the previous last months pillar themed article here:
Author: Nick Hutchinson | Black Diamond District Executive, Utah National Parks Council, BSA