The Scoutmaster’s Corner:

“A Scout can face danger although he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him.” ~ Boy Scout Handbook. 12th Edition

Bravery comes in many forms in your life. It is important to understand that bravery is not the opposite of fear, but rather a reaction to fear. In the face of fear, a Scout can choose to act with courage or with cowardice. Acting with courage is what the Scout Law calls brave. Without fear, there is no bravery.

Opportunities for bravery are wide-ranging: You may be faced with a decision to save a life by putting your Scout skills into practice — say rescue a drowning victim. More commonly, you may have the opportunity to stand up to a bully for yourself or for others. You will certainly have an opportunity to try something new such as rappelling off the tower at COPE, shooting a rifle or a shotgun, leading your patrol or your Troop, giving a five minute speech in front of your Troop, leading the campfire or chapel service, swimming in the lake (or jumping off the blob) at Summer Camp. Will you control the fear and demonstrate bravery, or will you let the fear control you?

As you mature, you must learn to recognize the feeling of fear that will occasionally rise up in you and respond appropriately. The specific situation does not matter. What causes fear for some may be no big deal to others.

Physical bravery may be easy to spot — you can either attempt a difficult task or not. There will be times when you will face a more subtle, internal fear: When you are tempted to lie, steal, or cover for a friend; you must be brave to stand up and say “No”; and maybe even to tell an authority. By not going with the crowd, you may face teasing from friends; but when others do things that are contrary to the Scout Oath and Law, you must be brave and offer an alternative.

Fear takes many forms: A fear of looking foolish, a fear of failure, a fear of the unknown. Making excuses and blaming others can be a path dictated by fear. Remember, the fear is not bad, it is a signal and an opportunity to be brave. You must be brave to accept the consequences of your actions, to face the unknown and to try new things. Take the path of courage and not cowardice.

William Schmidt
Scoutmaster Troop 204

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