Monday, April 30, 2012

The Scout Motto: 'Be Prepared'

On our way home from work the other day, Mrs. KintlaLake and I stopped for a traffic light a few miles from our house. Rather than staring mindlessly at the signal I took purposeful note of the surroundings -- vehicles, occupants, pedestrians and businesses.

As I often do, I posed a hypothetical to my wife: "Suppose one of us needed immediate medical attention -- right here, right now. What are our options?"

We discussed the relative merits of calling 911 and waiting for the EMS squad to arrive, versus driving hell-bent to the closest emergency room (4.5 miles away). Our other alternatives included driving to the police station (1 mile), the sheriff's substation (2.5 miles) and two firehouses (1.5 and 2.5 miles).

Determining the "best" option wasn't the goal of our mental exercise. The point of my question was to practice a preparedness mindset -- observing surroundings, identifying potential threats, considering resources and tactics.

That's the way my brain works, the way it's worked for a very long time. For a clue as to why, take another look at pages 40 and 41 of the Boy Scout Handbook that I blogged about yesterday morning:
"The Scout Motto means that a Scout is prepared at any moment to do his duty, and to face danger if necessary, to help others."

"Accidents or emergencies are continually happening and Boy Scouts are prepared to help. Learn what to do in all kinds of emergencies, and how to do it. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, think through in advance what you ought to do. It will be too late if you wait until the emergency happens."

"As a Scout it is your duty to Be Prepared."
The duty to be capable -- at truly useful things, not life's frivolous pursuits -- was drummed into me as a boy growing up in the Heartland. As an adolescent I adopted Scouting's formal doctrine of preparedness, exemplified by the Scout Motto, which simply reinforced what I was raised to do.

It's a mindset that serves me well to this day.