During his lifetime Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the worldwide Scouting movement, wrote many books and articles directed to Scouters.
Each Sunday I’ll publish a selection from his writings in the hope that you’ll draw inspiration and understanding from his timeless ideas.
MY recent tour round the world showed me how strong is already that feeling of brotherhood throughout our Movement. Whether it was in Africa or Australia, Canada or New Zealand, America or Malta, Scouts felt that they were with and of us in the parent Movement at home, and I was impressed with the idea that, if this sentiment were only promoted, it would mean an immense deal for the strengthening of the bonds of our Empire, and even beyond that, for the assurance of peace in the world through a better understanding and fellowship between the nations.
Internally and locally our brotherhood is already doing good in that direction. Counties in England are often fairly jealous of each other, provinces in Ireland can nearly be at war; States in overseas Dominions can be suspicious or envious between themselves — just from want of a little broadmindedness or a common tie. It is a failing that cannot be cured by preaching to the present men, but it may be prevented in the next generation by eradication? that is by bringing the mass of the boys into sympathy and mutual touch through the feeling of “brotherhood.” Local racial differences run strong, and are hard to wash out in such instances as between Boer and Briton in South Africa, French and British in Canada, Eurasian and White in India, Maltese and British in Malta, between the eight nationalities in Shanghai, and so on. But it struck me very forcibly in the course of my visit to these countries that the Boy Scout Movement, young as it is, is already doing a good deal in that direction.
Boys of whatever origin are equally attracted by Scouting: once they find themselves in the same uniform, under the same promise, working for the same ends, inspired with the same ideals, and competing in the same games, they forget their respective little differences and feel that they are brother-Scouts before all. If a sufficient number of them are encouraged to take up Scouting, this must in the next generation go a considerable way to abolishing the present absurd jealousies between localities. If the ties of the brotherhood can be strengthened by mutual interchange of correspondence and of visits, a further link will be forged for consolidating our Empire by the development of personal sympathy and sense of comradeship between the manhood of all the different overseas States and the Mother Country.
Should the Scout Movement develop on to a more general footing, then I have no doubt whatever that the same principle of “brotherhood” will extend its influence for good among those who will be the men of the different nations within the next few years, and must, of necessity, prove a genuine factor for the maintenance of peace where they are in personal touch and sympathy with each other.
From B.P.’s Outlook