Lord Baden-Powell on Character

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54. It is by the character of its citizens, not by the force of its arms, that a country rises superior to others.

55. By character I want it understood that I do not merely think of passive self-restraint and self-discipline: it includes also, beside these, the active desire to do things. It is not merely the “being” good but it is the “doing” good that counts.

56. Character is acknowledged to be of greater importance then mere book instruction for citizen efficiency.  And yet no practical scheme exists for its inclusion in education to even an equivalent extent.

57. Undoubtedly the mother’s influence gives as a rule the first impetus to character. A mother cannot give that which she does not possess herself.  Therefore it is all-important that the mothers of our country should possess character of a high quality in order to inculcate it in their children.

58. Character is largely a matter of environment and training and later on, of experience.  Character is formed more by the environment outside the school walls than by the instruction within them.  The environment may be for good and at the same time it may very easily be for the bad.

59. Knowledge without character is mere pie-crust.

60.  Character has more value than any other attribute in life.

61. Success in business is not a matter of luck or favour or interest, nor even learning, so much as of ability and character.  Expert skill in your work is bound to tell, but for promotion to higher grades character – that is, absolute trustworthiness, tact and energy – is essential.

62. Character cannot be drilled into a boy.

63. Character cannot be taught in a class.  It has, necessarily, to be expanded in the individual, and largely by effort on the part of the pupil herself.

64. By balanced character I mean a calm and common sense outlook on the art of the individual, not to be carried away by herd impulse or panic, but able to keep his head and to look forward with courage and optimism and recognize what is best for the community, and so to help in bringing the nation safely through the fog of conflicting ideas into the clear atmosphere of peace and prosperity.


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

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