By Clay Capp and Riley Berg,
2002 National Chief and National Vice Chief
When Chingachgook, Chief of the Delaware people, created a brotherhood that
would memorialize the efforts of his son, Uncas, and the others that put service
above themselves, he chose three words, W. W. W.,
to describe it. While brotherhood, cheerfulness, and service are as important
today as they were to our legends chief, it isnt often that were
able to sit back and clearly think about these pillars of the Order, and what
they mean in life.
Each is very different, yet interconnected at the same time. Brotherhood you
feel when youre with those important to you; cheerfulness is an attitude,
a way we can look at and be a part of the world; service is something tangible,
that we can do for another.
Of all these things, only one appears in the Scout Law the one we may
think least about, but is still central to our order: Cheerfulness.
Step back for a moment and think about the role cheerfulness can play in our
lives. It, as one of the three tenets of our Order, does not diminish the role
of the other two, but it is being addressed here because the other two are much
more frequently treated in our lodge activities. Lodges organize themselves
to do service to their councils, and the OA sends crews each summer to Philmont
and Northern Tier to give service to our National High Adventure Bases and to
national camping. There are events that stress brotherhood, like a lodge fellowship,
and NOAC. But cheerfulness is an attitude that pervades all those things. Service
can be done without a smile, and true brothers will stand by you no matter the
mood but these things, all things, are so much more fulfilling when you
do them cheerfully.
Not only does a positive attitude lift your spirits and the task at hand,
but it lifts up those around you also. Think about how many times a simple smile,
a pat on the back, or a kind word has made you feel better about what youre
doing. The same can easily be done for others; it just takes the willingness
to try to go about the work of our Order and life, with the mindset
that those who have the greatest power to motivate, to help others to a level
they may not have imagined, do it with kind words, and genuine smiles. The amount
of service possible and the strength of brotherhood are multiplied when cheerfulness
is present as well.
Cheerfulness does not mean that everyone is constantly in a good mood. What
it signifies is the continual commitment to life, the constant vigilance with
which cheerful people face the world and problems in a way that transcends simple
optimism. It is not merely an external quality; it is the deep and abiding quality
of working toward the good things in life, of maintaining a positive spirit
even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities,
of not letting surmountable barriers prevent us from our fullest potential of
brotherhood and service.