December 29, 2009

A Scout is Clean

50+ Lifestyles has been exploring the code of ethics known as the 12 points of the Boy Scout Law

JGrahamBy James N. Graham

The Boy Scout Law instructs a scout to be “clean.”

Anyone who has ever hiked in the wilderness knows that “clean” is a relative term. On such an excursion, bodies, clothing and gear may be repeatedly drenched in sweat and dust and washed only in a stream, if at all. “Clean” is hardly the term that comes to mind when seeing (and smelling) a boy scout troop returning from a week in the woods.

When the troop sits down to eat, they do clean their hands, and they clean their utensils and cooking gear after dinner. As an aside, it is always a good idea to put soap on the outside of your pots and pans before placing them in the fire for cooking. This makes them much easier to clean.

However, being “clean” is a concept in scouting that encompasses much more than washing hands, pots and pans. For reference, let’s review the oath taken by all Boy Scouts:

“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 concept of being “clean” is emphasized in the promise to be “physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” A person should be “clean” by being strong, aware, and moral. It is hard to argue
against that.