From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Scout Law’s 10th point is ‘A Scout is brave’

by Father Terence Tully, for the Inland Register

(From the Feb. 7, 2002 edition of the Inland Register

Brave, fearless, foolhardy are not three words for the same thing, although all three are about action in time of danger.

Explaining the 10th point of the Scout Law “A Scout is brave” — the Scout Handbook says: “A Scout can face danger although he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even though others laugh and make fun of him.” The Handbook seems emphasize more a young person’s fear of scorn than his fear of physical injury or death, probably because scorn happens more often to more boys than physical danger, at least in our country, where we enjoy peace and plenty.

The danger of drowning is a physical danger common enough that almost everybody can relate a story about someone who drowned. So many of these sad events could have been prevented if rules about life jackets and the buddy system had been obeyed.

The buddy system means never swimming alone but always having a person near at hand who can help the swimmer. And lifesaving, as taught to Boy Scouts, emphasizes the rescue of a troubled swimmer by throwing a rope or some flotation device to him or her until a rescue boat can get there. Of course, there is instruction for one swimmer to rescue another swimmer if no other method is available.

Danger from fire and danger from getting lost in the wilderness are other possibilities.

“Since 1910, when Scouting came to America,” says the Handbook, “thousands of Honor Medals have been awarded to Scouts who have saved lives at the risk of their own. They proved themselves ready when emergencies arose. They might have been frightened but each one of them went to the aid of someone in serious trouble.”

Needless danger

The foolhardy kind of bravery is no bravery at all, of course. Reckless driving may be the most common kind, but any kind of thrill seeking that endangers lives is a kind of madness that needs treatment. Maybe psychologists can tell us what causes this behavior and what can be done to prevent it. I offer Scouting itself as an activity that satisfies and fulfills. Let us hope that it can help eliminate this fake bravery.

Doing what is right

The most genuine bravery gets no medals but wins high praise from all good persons. This bravery means having the guts to think, do, and say what is right, speak the truth, correct our mistakes, and speak up for the rights of others. That is what martyrs for the faith did, and in small matters that is what we all must do from time to time.

Coming Events

• Catholic Camporee, Camp Easton on Lake Coeur d’Alene, Sept. 6-8, 2002.


For information on the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting and its activities, contact:

Father Terence Tully, diocesan Scout chaplain, 221 E. Rockwood Blvd., Apt 308, Spokane, WA 99202-1200, phone (509) 458-7674; or

Joe Schmitz, chair of Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, 400 S. Jefferson St., Suite 112, Spokane, WA 99204, phone (509) 747-7499.

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