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.
So long as (the spirit of of goodwill and co-operation is there; there is brotherhood). But, mind you, self slips in unexpectedly sometimes; maybe it takes the form of a feeling that one is blessed with a gift for making a specially fine troop, or one is keen to show one’s patriotism to be greater than one’s neighbors; or one rather fancies oneself in a backwoodsman’s kit, and so on.
Harmless weaknesses, but giving expression to Self.
Search yourself and see that you are free from it. Otherwise there is bound to follow some little sense of rivalry, some little difference of ideals with your neighbors, from which springs, if not envy or dislike, at least aloofness. In other words, not quite the right spirit is engendered.
Brothers we are to our boys, brothers to each other we must be, if we are going to do any good. Only the other day I saw a letter from a Scouter who had been having a hard struggle to carry on his Troop single-handed in a poor slum, and his spirit had been depressed not by his difficulties but by his “utter isolation and the very little spirit” of fellowship “shown by those around him who might” have given a helping hand.
Whose fault it was I don’t know, but such 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.