Love Your Country

November 18, 2003

Baden-Powell wrote:

My country and your country did not grow of itself out of nothing.  It was made by men and women by dint of hard work and hard fighting, often at the sacrifice of their lives—that is, by their wholehearted patriotism.

There is a way by which he can so do easily, [e.g., contribute to your country] and that is by becoming a Boy Scout.

In all you do, think of your country first.  Don't spend the whole of your time and money merely to amuse yourself, but think first how you can be of use to the common good.  When you have done that, you can justly and honestly enjoy yourself in your own way.

Perhaps you don't see how a mere small boy can be of use to his country, but by becoming a Scout and carrying out the Scout Law every boy can be of use.

"My country before myself" should be your aim.  Probably, if you ask yourself truly, you will find you have at present got them just about the other way about.  I hope, if it is so, that you will from this moment put yourself right and remain so always.  Don't be content, like the Romans were, and some people now are, to pay other people to play your football or to fight your battles for you.  Do something yourself to keep the Flag flying.

If you take up Scouting in that spirit, you will be doing something.  Take it up, not merely because it is good fun, but because by doing so you will be preparing yourself to be a good citizen not only of your country but of the whole world.

Then you will have in you the truest spirit of patriotism, which every boy ought to have if he is worth his salt.

Baden-Powell, Robert.  Scouting for Boys, 35th edition, 5th printing, 1999.

Good night, gentlemen.