The Scoutmaster’s Corner:

“A Scout looks for the bright side of things. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.” ~ The Boy Scout Handbook, 12th edition

Many Scouts tell me that they have no problem with being cheerful. It is often cited as the one point in the Scout Law they have no problem living up to. And indeed, I frequently hear this from a Scout who often has a big smile on his face and a good attitude to share with others. Some Scouts find it easy to be cheerful when engaged in an activity they enjoy such as camping, bike riding, rock climbing, backpacking, etc. The challenge for a Scout is to be cheerful at all times. Staying cheerful when you have to scrub the dirty pot, or haul water or miss a fun activity to perform a chore.

Every task you do comes with a choice for how you are going to do it. Nobody likes to clean the latrine, and I wouldn’t dare ask you to be happy about it; but I would say you need to be cheerful. I can be sad and miserable and slog through the task giving it only the minimal effort; or I can attack the task, do a better job then expected and finish quickly by being cheerful. Either way, the job must be done; but one way the work drags on and the other way, I can walk away with a sense of accomplishment having proven myself stronger.

Notice also how this part of the Scout Law also requires you to ‘make others happy’. Do you go out of your way to make sure everyone is happy? If your patrol looses a competition, are you the one who cheers them on and tells the others how proud you are of the effort? When a friend is ‘stuck’ with an unpleasant chore, you can help out and be the cheerleader to help him get done more quickly and with more cheer.

As we often find in Scouting, there are the things we want to do and the things we have to do. Sometimes the things we have to do prevent or delay the things we want to do. Attack the “have to” with an attitude of cheerfulness and you will be surprised how quickly things get done and you can get on to the “want to”.

William Schmidt, Scoutmaster – Troop 204

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