What’s in your backpack?

In 1910, the Boyscout movement began with its infant steps. It was a gathering together of several sources and ideals that has culminated today into the highly recognizable and worldwide phenomenon that was started by a British Lord named Powell. When the ideas started to congeal, there were and are several base principals that are the rule and guide of all Scouts everywhere.

With few exceptions and local custom each Scout is quoted to recite the Oath and Law at the opening of each meeting. In the opening, twelve points are remembered: trustworthy, loyal, helpful and so on. But what is often said but little understood is that a Scout is Reverent.

I know of at least a few troops that when asked what reverent means, there are blank stares given to me. And that is tragic to me.

In a fully outfitted Boyscout troop, there is a position for an adult who is tasked with being the chaplain. Now, that position is easier to fill and more expected in a troop affiliated with a church. But in a chartered one, that need may not be filled. It’s not out of maliciousness. But it may often be out of ignorance. I don’t judge. But I will say this:

It’s my argument that there is no more important point of the twelve than the point of a Scout being reverent.

In a Scouts life, he will encounter many challenges both in Scouting and in the world after age 18. He will face tests of his skill, strength and fortitude. His ability to lead will be questioned and his trustworthiness will be called upon time and time again. But without reverence to a higher power, whatever name he recognizes it by, the boy will always have some void in his manhood.

No Scout is required to be an particular religion. No religious expression of the major three Muslim, Christian or Hebrew. No. A particular faith expression is not required. BUT there must be a recognized higher power. A guiding set of principals that the boy who would become a man will follow when his own understanding and skills fail him. Faith is the essence of things unseen and the evidence of things hoped for. Faith is the source power of a reverent Scout and not to be underestimated.

This is perhaps the most important tool in his pack as he travels the world after hiking trails is done. The television commercial challenges us to declare what’s in our wallet. I challenge you former Scouts to ask yourself: what’s in your pack? Have you packed your loyalty? Is there a bottle of trustworthiness there? Have you rolled up and stowed your supply of helpfulness? Can you find buried in there someplace a bag of courtesy? And in the center of it all, close to your back so you can feel it always, have you carried with you your reverence?

With reverence, you can find strength that you yourself may not have. A strength that will carry you through even in the face of the toughest storms of life. Not all battles are to faced alone. Sometimes you need another to help. And with an humble spirit, and a quiet strength that comes from those who have trust in their higher spirit can more easily face life by being reverent.

Yes I know. If it’s so important why is it the last tool in our Boyscout packs? It is our anchor. Our final word. The last thing you pack in but the first thing you see when the pack is opened back up. Reverence is faith. It is acceptance of our I man nature and that we cannot always have all the answers so then we still have one(s) greater than us to call upon for help aid and assistance.

Check your pack now. See if it’s there. Go ahead. I’ll wait.


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