Sometimes all we need to solve our biggest problems is a slight shift in attitude.
What would things be like if our first assumption was goodwill?
The patrol leader who forgot to do something may have honestly forgotten to do it, not just ignored their responsibility. I forget all kinds of things! Assume goodwill.
The Scout that earned three merit badges last month may just have worked hard to achieve something rather than trying to get around your standards. Assume goodwill.
An honest misunderstanding is not a punishable crime. Assume goodwill.
The parent who asks a question is trying to understand what’s going on, not undermine your authority. Assume goodwill
If you have to explain something for the thousandth time, it may just be you aren’t communicating well rather than others are failing to listen. Assume goodwill.
If it looks like someone is pulling in the other direction look for good intentions before you start pulling back. Assume goodwill.
The Scout sitting across from you at a Scoutmaster’s conference is doing their best. Assume goodwill.
The Scout sitting across from you at the board of review is doing their best. Assume goodwill.
An Eagle candidate is conducting his project the best way he knows how. Assume goodwill.
Your assumption of goodwill may be wrong every so often, but much less than you imagine. You may get burned every once in a while, but isn’t it better than burning everybody else?
Instead of throwing a wet blanket on the fire, fan the flame! Instead of stepping on the brakes, hit the gas! Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle! Instead of looking for bad actions assume goodwill!
Brothers we are to our boys, brothers to each other we must be, if we are going to do any good … aloofness or jealousy could not exist where there is the true ideal of brotherhood. What we need, and what, thank God, we’ve got in most places in our movement, is not merely the spirit of good-natured tolerance but of watchful sympathy and readiness to help one another. We not only need it but we’ve “got to have it” if we are going to teach our boys by the only sound way, that is through our own example, that greatest of principles — goodwill and co-operation.
- Baden-Powell, B.P.’s Outlook