Lord Baden-Powell on Citizenship

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88. Citizenship has been defined briefly as “active loyalty to the community”.  In a free country it is easy, and not unusual, to consider oneself to be a good citizen by being a law-abiding man, doing your work and expressing your choice in politics, sports, or activities, “leaving it to George” to worry about the nation’s welfare.  This is passive citizenship.  But passive citizenship is not enough to uphold the world of virtues of freedom, justice, and honor.  Only active citizenship will do.

89, It is still a neglected item in education that the boy should be taught that his rights as a citizen should in the first place be earned by serious performance of his civic duties and responsibilities.  It should be an unwritten but a none the less acknowledged law that a man only has rights when he has earned them, and he earns them not merely be fighting the impulse to become a waster or a criminal. but by energetically and conscientiously playing his part as a good citizen.  In a word, he must play in his place and play the game for community if he want to wear the colors of his team.

90. A very important step in this training in citizenship is, again, the example of the Scoutmaster himself.  It is what the Scoutmaster does rather than what he merely says that influences the boy.  In becoming a Scoutmaster you have started to show in actual practice the very secret of good citizenship, which is also the secret of success in any career: you have taken it up not for what you can get out of it, but for what you are going to put into it.


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

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