We Should All Live By Boy Scout Values—All of Them

Leadership isn't about the title, it's about the way you live your life.

On Monday night, President Trump gave a political speech and also told some stories about New York cocktail parties he’s attended to around 40,000 11 to 18-year-old Boy Scouts at their National Jamboree in West Virginia. You can read the details in this article from the Washington Post.

I made a promise to myself a few years ago that I was going to stay away from political commentary on my blog. However, as an Eagle Scout, I can’t let this one go.

Scouting played a big role in who I am as an adult. Nine years ago, I shared the story of my grandfather, who was a Scoutmaster and is still one of my heroes. I was active in Scouting for 12 years as a boy. I went to a World Jamboree in Norway, a National Jamboree in Pennsylvania, served on the staff of my local Scout camp, piloted leadership development programs for the Scouts and was a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow.

When my two sons were of age, I served as a Cubmaster for a few years and filled other volunteer roles later. Long story short, while I recognize that, like any organization, Scouting isn’t perfect, I know and appreciate the values of what the organization stands for. Sadly, it’s clear to me that our President has no clue.

After asking, “Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts?” the President went on to do just that by reminiscing about his electoral college victory, dissing the “fake media” and throwing out some threats to those who he thinks aren’t doing enough to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Then he attempted to get back on message.

“Boy Scout values are American values,” the President said. “And great Boy Scouts become great, great Americans. As the Scout law says, a Scout is trustworthy, loyal — we could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that.”

And then he went off script again. I guess I can understand that. Based on what he’d said up to that point, it would have been pretty weird if he had gone on to cite the other ten points of the Boy Scout Law. In case you’re not familiar with them, they are:

  • Helpful
  • Friendly
  • Courteous
  • Kind
  • Obedient
  • Cheerful
  • Thrifty
  • Brave
  • Clean
  • Reverent

Not a bad checklist for leadership or life in general. In 2017, this list may seem quaint, but how are you feeling about the alternative?

When our President doesn’t live by Boy Scout values, it’s up to the rest of us to double down on them. Leadership isn’t about the office or the title; it’s about the way you live your life.