Lord Baden-Powell on Example

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183. Our training is largely by example.

184. What the Scoutmaster does his boys will do.  The Scoutmaster is reflected in his Scouts.

185. There is no teaching to compare with example.

186. There is no doubt whatever that in the boys’ eyes it is what a man does that counts and not so much what he says.  A Scoutmaster has, therefore, the greatest responsibility on his shoulders for doing the right thing from the right motives, and for letting it be seen that he does so, but without making a parade of it.

187. In a small camp so very much can be done through the example of the Scoutmaster.  You are living among your boys and we are watched by them, and imitated unconsciously by them, and are probably unobserved by yourself.  If you are lazy they will be lazy; if you make cleanliness a hobby it will become theres; if you are clever at devising camp accessories, they will become rival inventors and so on.

188.  I never suggest to people to do what I would not do myself.

189. Boys are awful imitators, and I use the word “awful” advisedly, because it fills one with awe when one thinks what harm or what good one might be doing to the boys in examples we set them.  They are very apt to make a hero for themselves of a fellow who is older than them, and who has done their admiration by his own personality or by something that he has done.

190. If you stick to it pluckily and say, “What does a little irritation matter – I’m going to stick it out and make the best of it and will slow those week-need girls their duty”, they will follow your lead.  Remember they look to you to see what they ought to do.  If you grumble, they will do the same.  If you put a grin on and say, “Never mind disappointments: I am going to make a success of it” , they will do the same.


Baden-Powell of Gilwell, Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell – Mario Sica – Nuova Fiordaliso – 2002

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