Robert Baden-Powell was a lieutenant-general in the British Army and the founder of the Boy Scout movement. From the little I've heard about him over the last few years, he is an inspiring figure. This letter was read in my church yesterday as part of someone's talk. It was a message that he wrote to the scouts and saved to be published after his death. I thought it was a relevant message for anyone, scout or not.:
Scouts - if you have ever seen the play 'Peter Pan' you will remember
how the pirate chief was always making his dying speech because he was
afraid that possible, when the time came for him to die, he might not
have time to get it off his chest. It is much the same with me, and
so, although I am not at this moment dying, I shall be doing so one of
these days and I want to send you a parting word of goodbye.
it is the last time you will ever hear from me, so think it over. I
have had a most happy life and I want each one of you to have a happy
I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be
happy and enjoy life. Happiness does not come from being rich, nor
merely being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence. One
step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you
are a boy, so that you can be useful and so you can enjoy life when you
are a man.
Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and
wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy. Be contented
with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on the bright
side of things instead of the gloomy one.
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.