In 1908 Baden-Powell founded scouts and based it on the principles stated in the Scout Promise and the Scout Law. In the intervening 110 years or so the principles embodied in the Promise and Law have remained constant, even if the wording has changed somewhat. 1st Claremont has seen the Spanish Flu, two World Wars, the Great Depression, the era and end of apartheid, and now we are faced with Covid 19.
While these events are significant, we should not forget the more long lasting, subtle and pervasive aspects of life – like gender based violence, racism, slavery, child trafficking, drug trafficking and police brutality. Issues such as these are pervasive around the world and affect lives just as much as major events like war or pandemics.
When Baden-Powell wrote the Scout Law, he said that he had created 10 rules that if implemented would bring peace to the world. More than 110 years later, we still use the Scout Law as guidance for our scouts to realise the vision of Baden-Powell for a better world. That the world we are trying to make better is very different to that which Baden-Powell lived in, or that Baden-Powell himself was not a man without flaws, does not change the effect that the Scout Law can have as a force for better in the world.
The Scout Law does not stop and start at the doors of the scout hall or when we put on a scout uniform. It is not a set of principles to be put aside when inconvenient. The Scout Law is for life and the scouters, in accordance with the Promise, do their best to live by the Scout Law and be living role models for our scouts. We cite the Scout Law when a scout is invested and we cite the Scout Law when a scout is awarded Springbok to remind them that the Scout Law is not just until you turn 18 – it is for your life, even if you are no longer a scout.
In all the activities that scouts offers and the marvellous experiences that scouts can have, we should not lose sight of the fundamental aim of scouts – to produce better citizens – and the role the Scout Law plays in achieving this aim. Without the Scout Law, the world would be a sorrier place and scouts would be a poorer movement spiritually. When we are faced with hard times such as Covid 19 which disrupt our world we should remember Scout Law 8 and when we see injustice we should remember Scout Laws 3 and 4. Were everyone do their best to apply the Scout Law, Lord Baden-Powell’s vision of a better world would come to pass.