Keeping with my 2014 promised theme of breaking down the 12-Points of the Boy Scout Law, this month I want to hone in on Trustworthy. Trustworthy is the first point of the Law and very simply states… a Scout is Trustworthy. However, how is this attained for a Scout or anyone and how do you teach such an important character trait so it has meaning and value?
Having a trustworthy reputation is something that must be earned over time. A history of reliability and honesty are personality traits that earn the trust of others. The degree of trust others have in you is based upon positive interactions with that person. Trustworthiness is earned, not granted. Others will not trust you just because you are nice, friendly, or serve in an important position. Trust is based on historical interactions over a period of time.
Trustworthiness joins several other factors that require personal action, action such as integrity. You simply cannot expect others to just trust you… you have to give them reason. For example, you have to be honest with yourself and with others. Personal integrity is necessary and honesty demonstrates integrity. The ability of others to trust you hinges upon your individual honesty and integrity. Reliability fosters trust. People are assured you will follow through on your word when you put your money where your mouth is. Keep your promises and be reliable. If you say you will do something, do it.
In Troop operations, these three factors are very important when taking a team of youth into the wild. Everyone has assigned tasks (before-during-after an event) and it is important that each sequenced task be executed in accordance with the plan. When one individual cannot be trusted to follow through, it affects the whole, and chaos ensues, not to mention whining, yelling and finger pointing. As an adult leader, this is a beautiful thing, as we sit back and watch the boys try to work through their issues. Ultimately, it is this way in life for all of us, so building a foundation of being trustworthy early in life is paramount. This is what Scouting teaches through active involvement and team interaction.