Inertia, as understood in classical physics, typically refers to the First Law of Motion as described by Newton, paraphrased below:
“An object not subject to any external force moves at a constant velocity; and will continue to move at its current velocity until some force causes its speed or direction to change.”
Essentially it’s the amount of resistance to change in velocity of some object, which in physics, is determined by its mass. This principle, I think, can also be applied to the struggles of getting a new, traditional scouting program off the ground here in the United States. Currently, we are moving along at a constant velocity. And with out some outside force, specifically the time, effort and enthusiasm of our members and supporters, we will continue at our current velocity.
This isn’t the current velocity that I want for the BPSA. We can increase our speed. As our current Commissioner, a local Group Scoutmaster, and a father of five children, I understand the positive aspects, benefits and training that a real, traditional scouting program can offer to both kids, parents and volunteers. Without the enthusiasm and willingness of adults and parents, the Scouting movement would never have progressed the way it did. The Scouting movement is, after all, an international brotherhood of service. In cultivating the spirit of selflessness and service in our scouts, we should be leading them by example. That same selflessness, sacrifice and service that we teach should be readily apparent to anyone within or outside of the Scouting movement. It is through this character of our members and volunteers that the BPSA will ultimately succeed or fail in the long run.
As an alternative Scouting organization, just trying to get off the ground, this quality of character and selflessness is what we need from our members and supporters now. It is exactly this action of leading the movement by example, of “being” the change you want to see in our organization, that is the outside force BPSA and its members needs to exhibit in order to change its velocity. We can overcome our inertia by spreading our own enthusiasm for the program to others.
Baden-Powell said the following in his last letter before retiring from his position as Chief Scout of the World,
But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. “Be Prepared” in this way, to live happy and to die happy—stick to your Scout promise always—even after you have ceased to be a boy—and God help you to do it.
B-P had the right idea about happiness and the reasons to do your best. It is with exactly this intent that many of us are wholeheartedly working to get BPSA off and running. Not only is it a way to do our best and leave the world with something that improves things for our generation and those to come; but in doing so it brings about a pure happiness in each of us. A deep happiness that can only come from rendering selfless service to our fellow humans, our nation and our communities—knowing that, in the end, we’ve done the very best we could with the life and energy we had.
I would like to challenge you today to reflect on these ideas and ask yourself if the BPSA and a real, traditional scouting program for youth and adults in this country is worth your effort and energy to help make the world a slightly better place than when you first arrived? In service to others, can you truly find happiness for yourself and others?
What can you do to provide that energy and the force needed to help this movement overcome its inertia?