Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes


Scout’s Honor

Posted on June 11, 2016 by jimparedes

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 12, 2016 – 12:00am

When I was in grade school, I was not much into joining clubs or extracurricular activities. But I was an active member of the Boy Scouts. I loved joining every activity. There was camping, hiking, games and survival skills like making a fire without matches by rubbing two sticks together. I learned first aid and mastered tying knots, pitching a tent and digging a canal around it so water does not get in when it rains. I also learned to handle knives and cook basic foods.

As a young boy, I loved being outdoors. It was an age when there was no social media to distract us and I gave my all to Scouting.

The Scout’s Oath, which we repeated every day, was, to many of us, a character-building experience:

“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.”

Then there was the Boy Scouts’ Law that went:

“A Scout is: Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, reverent.”

Reciting this every day had such a positive effect on me that I have been using these characteristics as criteria when I vet candidates I might want to want to support.

Let me go through each trait and explain why it is important for leaders to possess them.

Trustworthy. This is very important trait. Basically, a person running for office offers himself to be a leader the people can trust with money, power and their well-being. They will trust him to do the right thing.

Loyal. We need leaders who are loyal to their commitments and promises, and to their constituents. It is disconcerting to see our politicians desert their own political parties and pledge loyalty to the winning side during elections. It says a lot about our political system and the character of our politicians.

Helpful. If a leader is not helpful to his constituents, why should they vote for him?

Friendly. Everybody wants a leader who is approachable. A friendly person is great to have around. In fact, many good leaders are people-oriented. It goes without saying that they are approachable. They wear big smiles and easily establish rapport and personal connections with people.

Courteous. Basic courtesy and good manners are essential. People need to be treated with respect and leaders must set the example. A leader can’t be calling people names. Duterte’s lack of courtesy may be one reason why people who did not vote for him continue to be hesitant about heeding his call for unity.

Kind. A kind leader is a good leader. Compassion touches people in ways they never forget. On the other hand, an efficient but spiteful and vindictive leader will be remembered only as spiteful and vindictive.

Obedient. A leader must be obedient to the law, the moral code, and his conscience.

Cheerful. It helps to be a happy, positive individual who radiates a lightness of spirit. A cheerful leader harbors no negative attachments that prevent him from reaching out to everyone. He seeks no entitlement. He is just happy to serve.

Thrifty. Extravagance, or excessive spending on luxuries, has no place in the life of a true leader. A leader who saves the community money in carrying out his projects is most commendable.

Brave. A leader will invariably face trials. He must be courageous in dealing with adversity. He must fight hard for what is right. There is no integrity in cowardice.

Clean. This is not only about personal hygiene, but also about having a clean record in governance, with no bad reputation for stealing or other shenanigans, and no credible cases filed against him.

Reverent. This character trait makes a leader capable of honoring and respecting life, relationships, vows, etc. He is also respectful of Mother Nature — all of God’s creation. And he pursues, with reverence, his vow to serve the people.

If you find a leader who has most of these qualities, you can be assured that he will serve his community well, and by the time he leaves, people will see how much he has changed things for the better. Such a leader will be remembered well by his constituents. Character is built early in life, and one’s character is reflected in the choices one makes.

One who aspires to be a good leader will find that there is a lot to learn from being a Boy Scout.

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