Living one's life by a Code of Honor & Service gives meaning, structure, and purpose...as well as discipline, to guide us Rovers through this world and all of its challenges. In olden days, the Knights had a set of rules which remind us of the Scout Law. They considered their honor to be their most sacred possession, and would try never to do anything dishonorable. In fact, some would rather die than act dishonorably. Particularly interesting to Baden-Powell were those Knight-Errants such as Sir Lancelot and also the Ronin of Japan, who would would roam the countryside, searching for chivalrous and worthy causes, “damsels in distress,” people who couldn’t defend themselves such as the old, sick, or weak, etc., in order to dedicate themselves to protecting and defending them.
These were their rules:
Chivalry requires that Rovers should be trained to perform the most laborious and humble offices with cheerfulness and grace; and to do good unto others.
Baden-Powell had this to say about Chivalry, from Rovering to Success:
“The knights of old were bound by their oath to be chivalrous, that is to be protective and helpful to women and children.
This means on the part of the man a deep respect and tender sympathy for them, coupled with a manly strength of mind and strength of body with which to stand up for them against scandal, cruelty or ridicule, and even, on occasion, to help them against their own failings.
A man without chivalry is no man. A man who has this chivalry and respect for women could never lower himself to behave like a beast, nor would he allow a woman to ruin herself with him by losing her own self-respect and the respect of others. It is up to him to give the lead and that a right one; and not to be led astray.
Chivalry, like other points of character, must be developed by thought and practice, but when gained it puts a man on a new footing and a higher one with himself and with the world.
For this he must use his self-control to switch off all that is impure from his mind and ensure that his own ideas are clean and honourable, that his sense of duty is so high that ridicule and chaff will mean nothing to him.”
He had this to say about Samurai:
“Samurai are a fifteen-hundred-year-old brotherhood of Knights in Japan, much on the lines of our own mediaeval knights. Their guiding ideal is Bushido, which encourages among its members--
Poverty in place of wealth, Humility in place of ostentation, Reserve in place of advertisement, Self-sacrifice in place of selfishness.”
And finally, back to Rovering to Success, a formal Commission from the Founder for Rovers:
“With this opening up of a new and human side to your character you can, if you will, make your hiking into the wandering of a knight-errant, by being a doer of good turns to all and sundry as you go along.”
Chief Rover Scout, Ken Pataky
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