Every time we say the Scout Promise we commit ourselves to the Good Turn. While it doesn’t directly say Good Turn, it does say “To help other people at all times”. When Baden-Powell originally introduced the Promise it was much more specific reading “I will do my best to help others, whatever it costs me”. Or more simply put do, good deeds for any and all you meet. But what is it that we are promising to do exactly?
The entertainment industry is full of the stereotypical Boy Scout helping someone across something. My all time favourite is Russell from Pixar’s movie “Up” and his pursuit of the “Assisting the Elderly” badge. While this is a fun idea we all know that the Good Turn is much more than that. I like to tell my youth that it is doing something for someone without any expectation of reward or thanks. Then I will challenge them to put that thought into action during the upcoming week. As an added twist I say they can’t tell anybody because then it won’t count.
I got to thinking about Scouting Good Turns because of a blog that I happened across called “Project Light to Life” this past weekend. While it isn’t a Scouting blog, I was intrigued by the Kind Acts & Volunteering page on it. Christine who is the author of the blog has created a kindness bucket list! It is full of ideas the anybody could do with a minimal amount effort. This is a unique and commendable idea and well worth trying for yourself (or group). Christine, if you happen to be reading this you can cross off #35 because you were the inspiration for this post. I would also be remiss if I didn’t suggest that for #36 you check out your local scouting group (never hurts to ask!).
So how can we actually live up to the idea that we should do a good turn each day? It’s not that hard really. It’s the simple things like holding the door at the mall or giving your seat up on the bus. Even a smile and good morning to a stranger on the street can change that person’s outlook for that day. It need not be elaborate – if in doubt use K.I.S.S (Keep it Simple Scout). It is this positive interaction that has started to disappear in the busy pace of our lives. Just one good turn could inspire someone to pay it forward.
I’ll leave you with a quote from the Chief Scout’s final letter. Even though he was called home in 1941 it’s just as relevant today –
But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best.
Be safe, be prepared, and keep Scouting!