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Neckerchief: The Oath and Law You Wear

My first Scoutmaster taught the importance of the Scout Oath and Law using the Neckerchief. He would hold the open neckerchief in his hands and remind the young scouts of what the last item of clothing they put on when they were getting dressed of the meeting was, his neckerchief. He said that it was no coincidence that the neckerchief had 3 sides, just like the three parts of the Scout oath. He would run a side through his fingers and say "On my honor, I'll do my best. To do my duty to God" The first and longest side is to remind you of your long standing duty to God. This whole side is hidden from view, just as your faith is deep inside you. But without that faith, there is no strength for the rest.

Holding on to the neckerchief by the point he would run the next side through his fingers and say "To help other people at all times...." This shorter side is to remind you of your duty to help others. Remember it is some of this duty that shows to others, just like part of this side of your neckerchief shows. So do your duty to others well so that people might see the good work you do in the name of Scouting.

The last side also shows. He would say "To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight." This last side is your duty to your self. This shows to others as well. They will know that by seeing your uniform, you are a young man who is physically fit. Has a strong moral foundation and who is not apt to fall into the temptations of drugs and alcohol.

He would then say that this was a means by which we could remember the Scout Oath, every time we got dressed in uniform. He also gave us a means by which to remember the Scout Law.

While wrapping the neckerchief up for wear, he said to wrap it tight in small twists, 12 in fact. And to repeat the 12 points of the Scout Law as you did so. Then as you placed your neckerchief around your neck for wear, the elements of the Scout Oath and Law were with you. They were in fact part of you.

I hope my remembrances of Mr. Clinton Cooper Troop 6 Nashua, N.H. from 1969 can be used by some. It is a memory that I have used through out my scouting career and have shared with Scouts and Scouters.

John Herrholz,
Eagle Scout from Troop 6 Nashua NH 1973
Massabesic District Commissioner
Daniel Webster Council, New Hampshire

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