There were three very important parts of my life as a young boy in the 1950s: my school, my church, and the Cub Scouts. Not in that order. But I don't know which was of more importance all these years later.
On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
The Scout Law has 12 points. Each is a goal for every Scout. A Scout tries to live up to the Law every day. It is not always easy to do, but a Scout always tries.
A Scout is:
TRUSTWORTHY. Tell the truth and keep promises. People can depend on you.
LOYAL. Show that you care about your family, friends, Scout leaders, school, and country.
HELPFUL. Volunteer to help others without expecting a reward.
FRIENDLY. Be a friend to everyone, even people who are very different from you.
COURTEOUS. Be polite to everyone and always use good manners.
KIND. Treat others as you want to be treated . Never harm or kill any living thing without good reason.
OBEDIENT. Follow the rules of your family, school, and pack. Obey the laws of your community and country.
CHEERFUL. Look for the bright side of life. Cheerfully do tasks that come your way. Try to help others be happy.
THRIFTY. Work to pay your own way. Try not to be wasteful. Use time, food, supplies, and natural resources wisely.
BRAVE. Face difficult situations even when you feel afraid. Do what you think is right despite what others might be doing or saying.
CLEAN. Keep your body and mind fit . Help keep your home and community clean.
REVERENT. Be reverent toward God. Be faithful in your religious duties. Respect the beliefs of others.
I read my Scout manual. I believed it. I lived it. As best as I could. I really did. I lived the life of a good little middle class kid in the western suburb of Denver after World War II. America was prospering and we were all living the good life, even if we were not rich, we were prospering as America was reborn.
We went to our weekly den meetings first at Bruce Small's house where his mother, Shirley, was den mother. Later we went to Kenneth Davidson's house where his mother, Lucille, was our den mother. Both were kind women who truly loved all of us. I cannot imagine a better life than to have lived as I did back then with these two kind women helped raise us little rascals. We weren't bad. We were boys. Joyous boys.
We wore our little blue shirts with yellow kerchiefs, raised our right hands with index and middle finger outstretched and swore the Scout Oath. It meant something. It was, as it is written, The Law of the Pact. They were good instructive words to live by.
How many adults today - even leaders - can live up to the Law of the Pact?