Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Value of Thrift

My son is ALMOST and Eagle Scout.  I pretty much won't be breathing during the next 7 days while I wait to see if he completes all the paperwork before he turns 18 at 12am June 28th.  Not that we are counting.  Stay tuned for more on that in the coming days.  

One of my tasks (technically my only task but you know what a helicopter parent I can be) is to write a letter of recommendation stating how Jake has lived out the Scout Oath and Scout Law.  So I figured I would review them.  

The Scout Oath: 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. The Scout Law: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave clean and reverent.

Did it jump out at you like it did at me? Thrifty.  A scout is thrifty.

Don't you think it is interesting that the boy scouts value this trait enough to list it with things like trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, etc.  The other traits seem so much more noble.  Thrifty, that just seems like something  we do when we are broke or cheap.  I never thought of it as a character trait worthy of emulating no mater the circumstances of our life.

Ok, yes, they also have "clean" but remember we are talking about teenage boys.  Enough said.

The boy scouts was founded in 1910 and this oath does not appear to have been significantly altered since then.  The ideals of scouts and the traits they find worthy are the same today as they were over 100 years ago.  And apparently 100 years ago being thrifty was a noble endeavor.

In today's economy I certainly hear a lot about being thrifty.  After living through the consumption decades of the 80's, 90's and early 2000's we are all pulling back and rediscovering the nobility of thrift.  In some ways our thrift is different than it was 100 years ago.  I am shopping at consignment stores to maintain a wardrobe many times the size of the average woman in 1912 and I am using coupons not just for necessities like groceries but for indulgences like designer coffee.  But some things are the same, we are learning to repair what is broken rather than replace it (I wrote on this idea a couple years ago), to enjoy what we have rather than focus on what we don't have (Gratitude is definitely a big theme in today's culture), come up with creative solutions when we have a need (remember the tree house John built last summer with materials we had laying around?) and share resources with friends and family (I couldn't have thrown Jake's grad party without tables from our church, chairs from my parents, taco meat from my mom and aunt, serving baskets brought over last minute by a friend and cupcakes from my SIL and mom).

I have noticed that many of the traditional ways of being thrifty rely on valuing our things, our blessings, our talents and the people in our life.  They create opportunities to interact with family and friends, to bless and be blessed.

Hmm, I guess thrifty really is a noble character trait.

1.practicing thrift or economical management; frugal: a thrifty shopper.
2.thriving, prosperous, or successful.
3.thriving physically; growing vigorously.
thrift1.economical management; economy; frugality.
2.Also called thrift institution. Banking . a savings and loan association, savings bank, or credit union.

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