Scoutmaster’s Minute

The only place that the concept perseverance comes up in the scout rules (oath, law, motto, slogan, outdoor code) is in the scout oath: “…I will do my best…”. That same phrase also appears in the Outdoor Code.

That’s OK I suppose but it’s not quite enough for me and here ‘s why. In training for Shotokan Karate, our school has only 5 rules. Just like scouting’s oath and law, I tell scouts that if you continue to strive to adhere to these rules, that’s the way you really become a scout (or black belt). Not by signing off your book or passing tests. It’s all right there in a list of summarized rules like Be Trustworthy or in Karate, Refrain from Violent Behavior. The list is pretty simple and the concepts are easy, but obviously becoming someone who truly embodies these qualities in everyday life, well, that’s the hard part.

Anyway, back to perseverance. As it turns out, that’s one of the 5 rules for our karate school and I like, it makes sense. I think it includes “do my best” but in a more realistic and practical way. What I mean is that, let’s face it, I don’t know anyone who can “do their best” all of the time, and that’s where the problem is. If someone wants you to promise to “do you best” and the implication is “all the time”, seems like failure is a forgone conclusion and if that’s the case, that part of the oath may receive less attention than it should. That’s where perseverance comes in, it means a few things, primarily Try Hard and also Don’t Give Up. To me it acknowledges the challenge, that sometimes we fail to perform to the best our ability or to the ability that is expected of us, but that we should keep trying, we should get back up and try harder. I often look back on my day, my week, my year, my decade, and I never fail to see room for improvement. Do I give up and say “Well I didn’t do my best so forget about it”? No, I recognize that even now in my sixth decade or life, I’m still a work in progress, and I make the decision to persevere. So, please, once in a while when you repeat those words “I will do my best”, think along the lines of Try Hard and Don’t Give Up. Think about perseverance.

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