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 AM sure it is a good thing to do a bit of play-acting when you are young. At school I was encouraged to do a lot of it and I have thanked my stars ever since that I did so.
For one thing it taught me to learn yards of stuff by heart; also it accustomed me to speak clearly and without nervousness before a lot of people: and it gave me the novel joy of being someone else for a time.
It led one to know the beauties of Shakespeare and other authors, to feel, while expressing them, the emotions of joy and sorrow, love and sympathy.
Above all it gave one the pleasure and happiness of giving pleasure to other people at times when they needed it.
For instance, in the deadly hot season in India when cholera was about, the Colonel of my Regiment saw that something was needed to cheer the men against the nervy depression which came of seeing their pals suddenly snatched away by death. Therefore he encouraged the officers to keep getting up theatricals, concerts, and varied shows of that kind in order to get them to laugh and so to take their minds off the terror.
Someone has written: “When I become Archbishop of Canterbury I shall insist on every candidate for Holy Orders going through a course of acting, and acting a performance before the examiners prior to being ordained. In this way I should ensure his being able to grip his congregation, to sense their thoughts, and to put such deeper meaning into his words as will move their feelings and be an inspiration to them.”
The practice of acting undoubtedly helps you tremendously in the event of your having to speak in public, and this is valuable to every man. Even if you don’t go into Parliament you will at any rate have to return thanks one day at your wedding breakfast.
Play-acting ought to form part of every boy’s education.
So for these and many reasons I am glad to see that more and more Scouts are earning the Entertainer’s Badge. More Troops are giving entertainments in the winter months and are thus not only earning satisfactory additions to their hinds, but are giving good training to their boys and, moreover, are giving pleasure and happiness to other people.