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Values that we need to pass on to our kids:
lessons from the boy/girl scout of America

By Mulugeta GS.

Recently my son joined the boy scout of America and I found myself highly involved in the day to day planning and execution of the activities of the scouts. It is a very interesting endeavor and I thought it is something that I ought share with my fellow parents.

The main objective of scouting is to provide an educational program for boys and girls to build character, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop personal fitness. It is focused in fostering the development of qualities that kids will carry throughout their lifetimes. Scouting gives an excellent opportunity for parents to instill good values early on during childhood. Note that the qualities we admire in adults are often learned early in life.

The nice thing about scouting is, it can be done with out a huge time and financial commitment. What it really requires is a simple formula of weaving the values mentioned below into fun and educational activities. The organizational structure in brief is as follows. It is organized by age-Tiger Cub (ages 6-7), Wolf Cub (Ages 7-8), Bear Cub (8-9) and Webelos Scouts (age 10). Scouts work together in groups called patrols- where the patrol leader is an older boy, not an adult elected by his fellow cubs. Patrols are part of a troop. The troop has adult leaders, but their job is to give guidance and advice to the Boy Scouts. There are also Packs and small entities called dens for more info www.scouting.org

Scouting helps boys and girls grow up to be self-reliant, dependable, and caring adults. Here are excerpts of the 12 core values of character development in the scout association of America.

  1. Citizenship: contributing service and showing responsibility to local, state, and national communities .
  2. Compassion: being kind and considerate, and showing concern for the well-being of others
  3. Cooperation: being helpful and working together with others toward a common goal
  4. Courage: Being brave and doing what is right regardless of our fears, the difficulties, or the consequences
  5. Faith: having inner strength and confidence based on our trust in God
  6. Health and Fitness: being personally committed to keeping our minds and bodies clean and fit
  7. Honesty: telling the truth and being worthy of trust
  8. Perseverance: sticking with something and not giving up, even if it is difficult
  9. Positive Attitude: being cheerful and setting our minds to look for and find the best in all situations
  10. Resourcefulness: using human and other resources to their fullest
  11. Respect: showing regard for the worth of something or someone
  12. Responsibility: fulfilling our duty to God, country, other people, and ourselves

Finally, I am not proposing to copy cut the system in the US and apply it to our kids, but rather to think of something that is based on our culture that gives opportunity for Ethiopian children to grow learning good values including the value of Ethiopiawinet. I believe it is something that is worth trying (a simple quiz to our cultural bureaus). This applies to Ethiopian parents in the US too- who would not want his kid to sing and recite those nice things listed below?

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.

A Scout is:
Trustworthy
Loyal
Helpful
Friendly
Courteous
Kind
Obedient
Cheerful
Thrifty
Brave
Clean
Reverent

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