Civic Hygiene

The Boy Scouts of America were part of my formative years and as an adult, I led two Explorer Posts. At every meeting Scouts recite the Scout oath and law:

 

 

Scout Oath or Promise         

On my honor I will do my best

To do my duty to God and my country

and to obey the Scout Law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong,

mentally awake, and morally straight.

 

Scout Law

A Scout is …

trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly,

courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful,

thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

 

You may see this as quaint. Perhaps you object to the reference to God, or the notion of duty to country, or the idea of being obedient. All these traditions are now widely scorned as naive.

 

Rotary clubs across the nation recite the Rotary Four Way Test:

The Four-Way Test of the things we think say or do.

Is it the truth?

Is it fair to all concerned?

Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

 

Both of these traditions deserve to be part of our American Civic Hygiene: practices that protect against infection by calumny, fear, bigotry, ignorance, intolerance, and avarice. No sneering!

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