Someone once asked Baden-Powell, “Be prepared for what?”
“Why, for any old thing.” the founder of Scouting replied.
Being prepared is usually thought of as having the knowledge, skill and gear to meet any challenge. We may think that we only hurt ourselves by not developing the skills, obtaining the knowledge or having the right gear. If a Scout is too lazy or inattentive to be prepared he becomes a burden. He asks everyone else to make up for his selfishness, for others to bear his responsibility:
- When meeting time rolls around and the Patrol Leader is unprepared he is being irresponsible and disrespectful of his Patrol.
- When night falls and a Scout has no flashlight because he “couldn’t find it” at home he is placing the responsibility for himself on his fellow Scouts.
- If the rain starts to fall and one out of twenty Scouts has no rain
gear the greatest harm is done not to the Scout who gets wet but to the
nineteen that can’t go ahead because someone was unprepared.
Scouting develops individuals by inspiring personal responsibility and interdependence. No one will refuse to help a fellow Scout when needed. We depend on the support of others when we make mistakes. We should not become dependent on others to compensate for our lack of preparation.
Being prepared isn’t simply about your comfort and safety it is respect for the comfort and safety of those around you.