Monday, October 27, 2014

Modern "Good Turns"

Our Family's Scout Handbook from 1939 (And a few of our jack knives).  



Note:  Some of you may have already seen these pages we scanned.  But here they are again, just because they still amuse.  



Are you looking to do some more good turns?  Are you striving to be more helpful?

Here are some suggestions. Perhaps you could, as the guide suggests:
  • Protect a little girl from some ill bred bully.
  • Climb a tree at night to get a chicken for a lady.
  • Let a dog out of a trap.
  • Put out fire in a lady's house.

Want more?  Draw inspiration from these pages of this 1939 Boy Scout Handbook.







20 comments:

Anonymous said...


I walk. I’ve been walking forever. Even in horizontal rain, I’m out there with an umbrella and foul weather gear. About ten years ago, I was standing at the counter of my auto mechanic, staring at a large jar of metal items extracted from flat tires, objects of varying shapes and sizes, all destructive. That gave me an idea and I have been picking such objects out of the road on my walks ever since, tossing them out of harm’s way. A rough estimate of the number of sharp objects I’ve removed from roads easily exceeds five thousand. Have cars been spared flat tires because of my action? I’ll never know. Does it bring about good karma? You be the judge.

I’ve had two flat tires in the past decade. Did they happen on the highway? Did the tires go flat while traveling far from home? No, they both occurred within a hundred feet of my mechanic and his jar of menacing, tire-puncturing debris. Both times my car drifted easily into his parking lot.

As an aside, my scout leader invited parents to our meetings every Saturday morning. The parents sat in deck chairs sipping Bloody Marys while my troop completed a list of chores our leader had prepared, such as mowing his lawn, raking leaves or clearing brush. Sometimes he’d let his pet fainting goats out of their shed for our amusement. We were always astounded when they would collapse on the ground, lie motionless for a minute or so, then spring back to life looking somewhat stoned. Occasionally we’d learn to tie a knot. Such was scouting in Manchester, Massachusetts in the early 1960’s.

MGC

Anonymous said...

On my way home from work - a late night at Disneyland in the 1970s - my car broke down in a very dark, very lonely yet huge intersection. As i was a 17 year old girl I panicked and sat stupidly in my car (despite there being a gas station nearby). Within moments several trucks and cars pulled over and various men jumped out and reassured me, stopped the oncoming traffic that appeared and pushed my car and me to the gas station. I thanked them and most of them left but one waited with me whilst i called my father on the public phone. This man then told me to get in to his truck and sit there with the door open and "one foot outside". My father got there fifteen minutes later, thanked the man in the truck profusely (as did I) and took me home. I will never forget the goodness of these total strangers and since then I have gone out of my way to always help people. Strangers. I wonder if these men were scouts? For me they were angels.

Anonymous said...

We have the deepest respect for the BSA and how it helped our 3 sons grow into men that have a " can do" attitude.
All three achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the late 90's - early 2002. We ( and they) look at it as an honor, and the jobs in college and post grad were enhanced by the fact that Eagle was on their resume, and today all 3 have very high level positions due to the hard work ethic they received growing up and what went into working into Eagle Scout, My husband was a Scoutmaster for many years ( I was a Den mother for 9 yrs!) Both my parents were in Scouts, dad was a Scoutmaster and mom was a Girl Scout leader for 25 yrs, ( quite a few years before she married in 1952!)

All the ( now grown) boys are invited to be speakers to encourage youth today and they do. No sitting around for them when they were in Scouting! They traveled and did all the high adventure camps there were~ from Sea Base to hiking in mountains and carrying gear to surive for 10 days. They are good responsible family men today, and I do believe that Scouting contributed to their commitment of helping their communities be better place and all are committed young husbands, fathers and leaders in each of their chosen fields of work.
Regarding pocket knives, I carry a small one on my key chain ( which my son picked out for me) because,( as they say) one must always be prepared!

Anonymous said...

I've done my share of good deeds along the way, my most satisfying are the times I've helped animals. Reading these scanned pages makes me think of simpler times, even though I did not live during them, the content alone speaks volumes of how simpler life was. Certainly not easier. My grandfather was a scout and I used to like listening to his stories. --Holly in PA

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful and amusing post. It takes very little effort to be of some service to at least one person each day.

EJF

BlueTrain said...

I was a Boy Scout for a while but I personally wanted to be more like the Hardy Boys. I don't suppose they incorporated many scouting virtues but they had a boat, a car and motorcycles and apparently, never much homework.

Both of our children were in scouting, too, and my wife was a den mother, which takes a lot of work. It's like hosting a birthday party once a week. The most fun I ever had was spending a week as an adult leader at Webelos Camp. It was an impressive bunch of kids, too.

Twice I have broken down on the side of busy highways in the last 20 years and twice total strangers stopped to help: both were immigrants.

Katahdin said...

My father passed down his Scout Handbook to me and I in turn gave it to my son.

There is no better roadmap to life than the Scout Oath & Law:

Scout Oath
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.

Anonymous said...

I desperately wanted a jack knife to whittle and play mumblety peg with the boys but my mother wouldn't let me have one. Fortunately all the boys had more than one knife, and would lend me one. Then one miraculous day my dear friend Tom gave me the Girl Scout pen knife his older sister had passed on to him. I was so excited. It wasn't woodsy with stag horn handles, but it had a slender and sharp blade, as I soon discovered trying to break the stick I was whittling while holding my open knife in my hand. I still have a small scar in the fleshy part of my palm at the base of my thumb. And of course my mother never knew how I got the cut.

BG

Patsy said...

My 2 favorites are went to town to get husband for a sick lady and drove a cow home.

Perhaps a modern good turn would be to allow scouting to be open to all!

Anonymous said...

Lovely! A moving credo to live up to and strive to follow. Wish I had been a scout!
~Hearthstone Farm

Paul Connors said...

The Scout motto: "BE PREPARED" has always been something I have tried to remember and act on.

Two simple words that mean so much! Those two words got me through some very tough times in the military and I often tell others to "be prepared" is to be able to meet anything life throws at you.

Alexandra said...

Loved this post... And here's a shout-out to the Brownies and Girl Scouts of America too.

Anonymous said...

My mother, an up-state New York transplant to Massachusetts always said that a gentleman should always carry a pocket knife. I assume without knowing for sure that it was part of the "be prepared" mentality, possessed by many of our predecessors and sorely lacking today. It's lamentable that carrying a pocket knife today is looked upon with suspicion and derision today, especially by our so-called "elites."

Anonymous said...

What Paul Connors says is so true. The Be Prepared motto (and its subtext Think Ahead)has kept me in good stead over the years from simple snafus to more complicated situations. Plus, one can sometimes appear to be in possession of a MacGyver-esque ingenuity.

BG

pGj said...

Although the book has changed, the premises of scouting has not.Our son has achieved Eagle and is off to a college that fits him well...there are four more Eagle Scouts on his dorm floor alone. It is the perseverance and parental involvement (even if we parents must suffer the occasional glass to fortify)combined with ethical and moral upbringing that stand out among the crowd. Quiet and humble are the Eagle scouts I have encountered. Just living their lives.

Anonymous said...

Muffy, Your good posts always seem to stir. My eyes welled at the sight of the pocket knives, for my father always carried one. He was forever using it, puttering in the garage, cutting rope to tie things on top of the station wagon, teaching me to whittle up at the lake..... So much so that I wonder now seeing this post how I get through life without one. His pocket knife, which he had for some time, was confiscated on a first class flight back from Asia in the '80s. He was told it would be given back to him on arrival. Of course it never made the flight. He was so upset, as what was a gentleman going to do wrong with a pocket knife on a flight. How times and travel have changed.

Question for the community: Do you or your families still speak of breeding not referring to studs, but rather of well mannered, respectful, well-rounded, educated, interesting, engaging children? My family spoke of it privately, but never in front of others. My grandmother would describe someone as being from "a good family".

Last thing, and it kills me, is that I have two straight a kids who are active, engaging, well-rounded, well-mannered, church-going, non-bigoted, and respectful....... And I will never be their Scout Master. I have instilled solid traits and I have no idea which way it is going to go, but they will be able to love and marry whomever they wish.

Joanna said...

And here's a shout-out to the Brownies and Girl Scouts of America too.

That's right! As a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts and a GS leader, I always have a pocket knife with me, and my emergency kit for my car is in an LL Bean tote. :)

pGj said...

@ anonymous 9:36 I would say that we speak of good family, raised right, because that is the way we do things, and being of service to society...among other things. Always in private; always kindly. It is never about nice, money or possessions. Hmmm...hadn't really thought much about it before. Quality counts.

Beresford said...

I wish they had Boy Scouts for grownups. (And no, I don't mean something like Rotary, I mean Boy Scouts.)

pGj said...

There is a Boy Scouts for adults...it is in the form of leaders and adult volunteers. Having been involved for about 13 years, my husband and I have worn many hats...and I have learned much. Troops (older boys) cannot go camping alone...they must always have adults with them, but the boys are responsible for their troop and activities. They have taught us so much. As merit badge counselors, you can participate in scouting without an overwhelming amount of involvement. The boys call you for a specific activity that you have expertise in. I expect that, if you chose to get involved, you will find it rewarding and would fill a great need. I have been a merit badge counselor for cooking, citizenship in the world,and archaeology. The boys also need some adults to boss around for their Eagle Scout projects. Now, that is a fun day or two.