The Scout Law……An Introduction

Most of us look up to some mentor, hero, or deity to follow as an example in how to live. In doing so, we work to improve ourselves and come closer to reaching our goals, whatever they may be. As a long time Scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts of America, I have come to respect the original organization (notwithstanding the current drama unfolding). In the coming series of articles, I am planning to write about the Scout Law, a “pattern” on which if we live as men, will improve our own lives, and the lives of those around us.

Since the advent of feminism, the definition of manhood has been revised. Old aged virtues we are to strive for such has courage, integrity, morality and honor have been replaced recently with feminine traits such as nurturing, caring, compromising, and empathy. While these work well and are sought after in women, we are not women. In order to repair the discord between the sexes, we need to return to our God given roles.

The Scout Law

“A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.” -Boy Scouts of America

The original Scout Law appeared with the publication of “Scouting for Boys” in 1908 as follows:

  1. A SCOUTS HONOR IS TO BE TRUSTED. If a scout says “On my honor it is so”, that means it is so, just as if he had taken a most solemn oath. Similarly, if a scout officer says to a scout, “I trust you on your honour to do this.” the Scout is bound to carry out the order to the very best of his ability, and to let nothing interfere with his doing so. If a Scout were to break his honour by telling a lie, or by not carring out an order exactly when trusted on his honour to do so, he would cease to be a Scout, and must hand over his scout badge and never be allowed to wear it again.
  2. A SCOUT IS LOYAL to the King, and to his officers, and to his country, and to his employers. He must stick to them through thick and thin against anyone who is their enemy, or who even talks badly of them.
  3. A SCOUT’S DUTY IS TO BE USEFUL AND TO HELP OTHERS. And he is to do his duty before anything else, even though he gives up his own pleasure, or comfort, or safety to do it. When in difficulty to know which of two things to do, he must ask himself, “Which is my duty?” that is, “Which is best for other people?”—and do that one. He must Be Prepared at any time to save life, or to help injured persons. And he must do a good turn to somebody every day.
  4. A SCOUT IS A FRIEND TO ALL, AND A BROTHER TO EVERY OTHER SCOUT, NO MATTER TO WHAT SOCIAL CLASS THE OTHER BELONGS. If a scout meets another scout, even though a stranger to him, he must speak to him, and help him in any way that he can, either to carry out the duty he is then doing, or by giving him food, or, as far as possible, anything that he may be in want of. A scout must never be a SNOB. A snob is one who looks down upon another because he is poorer, or who is poor and resents another because he is rich. A scout accepts the other man as he finds him, and makes the best of him — “Kim,” the boy scout, was called by the Indians “Little friend of all the world,” and that is the name which every scout should earn for himself.
  5. A SCOUT IS COURTEOUS: That is, he is polite to all-but especially to women and children and old people and invalids, cripples, etc. And he must not take any reward for being helpful or courteous.
  6. A SCOUT IS A FRIEND TO ANIMALS. He should save them as far as possible from pain, and should not kill any animal unnecessarily, even if it is only a fly–for it is one of God’s creatures.
  7. A SCOUT OBEYS ORDERS of his patrol-leader, or scout master without question. Even if he gets an order he does not like, he must do as soldiers and sailors do, he must carry it out all the same because it is his duty; and after he has done it he can come and state any reasons against it: but he must carry out the order at once. That is discipline.
  8. A SCOUT SMILES AND WHISTLES under all circumstances. When he gets an order he should obey it cheerily and readily, not in a slow, hang-dog sort of way. Scouts never grouse at hardships, nor whine at each other, nor swear when put out. When you just miss a train, or some one treads on your favourite corn—not that a scout ought to have such things as corns— or under any annoying circumstances, you should force yourself to smile at once, and then whistle a tune, and you will be all right. A scout goes about with a smile on and whistling. It cheers him and cheers other people, especially in time of danger, for he keeps it up then all the same. The punishment for swearing or bad language is for each offence a mug of cold water to be poured down the offender’s sleeve by the other scouts.
  9. A SCOUT IS THRIFTY, that is, he saves every penny he can, and puts it in the bank, so that he may have money to keep himself when out of work, and thus not make himself a burden to others; or that he may have money to give away to others when they need it.


While some of these traits have been made obsolete by the decrease in integrity of society (Should we be absolutely loyal to those who are dishonest?), if we value the positive qualities of those around of, we will be able to see an improvement. That old adage “no good deed goes unpunished” should not be the case.

Some of the definitions of these virtues have been bastardized recently. For instance, is it really brave to wear a dress like Bruce Jenner? Being loyal is great, but what if the premise of what you were originally loyal to has changed? While it is important to define what these are, it is just as important to define what they are not.

Where are good examples of these traits, and how do we develop them? I hope to explore some of these things that we, as men, husbands and fathers, can do to foster these qualities throughout society in the upcoming related articles.

Baden-Powell, C.B., F.R.G.S., Lieut.-General R. S. S. (1908). Scouting for Boys (Part I ed.). London: Horace Cox. p. 49.

Author: Jim Johnson

As a man in his early 40's, I grew up on a dairy farm in an irreligious home. Disgusted with the choice of women out there, I looked into religion to find a worthwhile mate. At 23, I joined the LDS (Mormon) faith, married, became a civil engineer, and now have six children. My favorite things are puppies, long walks on the beach, and the color blue (not really).

21 thoughts on “The Scout Law……An Introduction”

  1. When I was a very young kid (9 maybe?) I was in the Cub Scouts.
    Lasted one year. Did not care much about it.
    The “leader” was one of my classmate’s mother. “Den Mother” I believed they called it. It was kind of like being in school, with a bossy old lady telling us what to do.
    I only wonder if the leader was a man, teaching us useful things, perhaps I would have liked it better and stuck around longer.

    1. It is a common sentiment anymore nothing like the stories of my dad. Still, the principles are there even if the organization has strayed

    2. When I was in the Scouts, our scout leaders were two men, one being my father. I never had a woman scout leader so I can’t tell you how they compare but I know I’d rather have men leading boys instead of women trying to turn boys into men.

      1. “..instead of women trying to turn boys into men.”

        That is impossible. “Strong, independent” single moms aside.

  2. Being loyal is great, but what if the premise of what you were originally loyal to has changed?

    Indeed. The idea that these laws are reciprocal seems to be built in. Others deserve to be treated within this framework as they treat you within this framework. So much is immediately lost if we do not share the same framework and principles.

  3. […] or some one treads on your favourite corn—not that a scout ought to have such things as corns

    Great. Now we’re being trolled by a one-hundred-and-ten year old code of honor honour.

      1. Mine liked to sing this song to the tune of the Def Leopard’s Rock of Ages:
        “rise, up, pick your butt,
        pick your balls and pick your dik,
        run around, pIck your nose, then say

    1. Yeah, yeah.
      Got back from the whorehouse a while ago and now drinking Mt. GAY Rum.
      There you go.
      I teed it up for you…

  4. Jim….. you da man….. if every young man lived by these principles, the world would be a better place.

  5. Should we be absolutely loyal to those who are dishonest?

    No. Several of those traits listed are reciprocal. Be respectful to all women, for example. That applied back when women were women. When women in general acted like they deserved respect. With most women being feminist hags nowadays, there is no way I will give automatic respect to any of them. Common courtesy, yes, but that too will quickly disappear at the first sign of someone being a jackass, regardless of sex. I don’t hold the door for women I don’t know, and I will drive right by a chick broken down on the side of the road.

    Loyalty is another one. Companies and employees used to be loyal to each other because it benefitted both. The worker worked hard for the company, and the companies took care of their workers. My company would fire me tomorrow without a second thought if they could replace me for less money. Companies fire thousands of people and move the jobs to China, but still expect workers to care about the company.

    Unfortunately, we’re moving towards a country where those things only apply on a local level. Your family, your friends, your local businesses, local organizations, and your community. Outside of that, and outside of people you know, it’s hard to say you should obey someone without question or be loyal without question.

    1. I recognize the same thing occurring with “respect your elders”. When I was a child, my elders were WW2 vets and generally hard-working people with strong morals. Now, there’s a good chance that your elders are frothing marxists who were filthy hippies in their youth. I doubt I’ll teach my children that same adage.

    2. I’d say these traits should be one’s default behavior. It is only through someone else’s response that you hold hem back.

    1. Blind obedience, sure. But understanding why a chain of command exists and why it’s important to follow it is the basis of a successful, cohesive organization.

      It’s important to question your superiors when you think they’re making a critical blunder, but ultimately it’s their call to make.

  6. OT: So I wander in after being gone for a couple months. After meandering around the semi-recent comments I’ve come to a few conclusions…

    1) Who knew there were so many wops around here? It’s like they’re taking over. Are there any non-dagos around?? (Fun fact, wop and dago don’t exist in Italia.) 😉

    2) Lolknee, Hippo-something, his current name, and probably that weirdo grapefruit guy too….. How many names does the Kneeman need!??? 😀

    3) The least the guy-that-shan’t-be-named could do is leave up his silly posts for posterity. I feel like I’ve missed half the humor with all the deleted posts. On the other hand, at least I didn’t get AIDS.

    4) I know bringing up the -old- place is bad form but… the Feds faking an alien Invasion? …. SERIOUSLY!? And I thought that place was loopy -before- I left! 😀

    Anyway, glad to see everybody is still out here having fun in 2018. Articles are getting better all the time as well. Look forward to seeing what’s up next.

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