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.
“I SHAN’T play any more in your yard,” was the refrain of a charming song, which was very typical of the child who does not, after all, like the way the game is played, so it “cuts off its nose to spite its face,” and goes and tries for another game elsewhere, or goes and “tell Mother.”
It makes the grown-up onlooker smile, but the grown-up himself is not always free from the same sort of self-centred conceit.
I have frequently figured in the part of “mother,” and it is almost beyond belief that grown-up, or nearly grown-up, men can take little matters so seriously and so narrowly as some of them do. If they had only a sense of humour, or had a slightly wider range of view, so that they could see the other side of the question or its greater aim, they, too, would smile at the littleness of it all.
It reminds one so much of what one feels on returning from our big, open Empire into the little old island and finding here our politicians tearing each other’s eyes out over some defect in the parish pump! They do not realise that their little word-war is only laughed at by the onlookers outside.
They probably feel quite hurt when they die because they are not buried in Westminster Abbey under the label of “Statesman,” but are only sized up as “Petty Politicians,”
As “mother” I was appealed to the other day in a case which was evidently considered of vast importance by the contending parties, but which would have seemed ridiculously simple to an outsider who saw both sides and the higher motive which was supposed to be their joint aim.
My reply to them was one which might apply to many similar cases where the contestants cannot at once see the| right line to take. It was this:
“It is curious to me that men who profess to be good Christians often forget, in a difficulty of this kind, to ask themselves the simple question, ‘What would Christ have done under the circumstances? ‘ and be guided accordingly.”
Try it next time you are in any difficulty or doubt as to how to proceed.
In the earlier days of our Movement there were many of the little local rows which are really incidental to most committees, and which would never occur if the members could remember their duty and to take the above line. Of late, however, those debating societies seem to have died down and given place to co-operative councils for mutual advice and help, and all goes well.
From B.P.’s Outlook