Prophetic Writing

I was looking in my bookcase the other day and came across a book by a hero of mine that I’d forgotten I had.

sill-bigGreat Contemporaries’ by Winston S. Churchill is a series of essays he wrote in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s about famous people (Douglas Haig, Adolph Hitler, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George V etc.) with a further four written in 1939. One of the four written in 1939 was about Baden-Powell. The last two paragraphs are very interesting:

The Great War swept across the world. Boy Scouts played their part. Their keen eyes were added to the watchers along the coasts; and in the air raids we saw the spectacle of children of twelve and fourteen performing with perfect coolness and composure the useful functions assigned them in the streets and public offices.

Many venerable, famous institutions and systems long honoured by men perished in the storm; but the Boy Scout Movement survived. It survived not only the War, but the numbing reactions of the aftermath. While so many elements in life and spirit of the victorious nations seemed to be lost in stupor, it flourished and grew increasingly. Its motto gathers new national significance as the years unfold upon our island. It speaks to every heart its message of duty and honour: ‘Be Prepared’ to stand up faithfully for Right and Truth, however winds may blow.

This was written in 1939 when the Scouting movement was ‘only’ 32 years old and BP was still alive and the Chief Scout of the World. I suspect BP was at the time still surprised at the movement’s growth and longevity.

Since then, the Movement has carried on growing and has past its centenary and is a healthy 102 years old. It has seen off many other organisations, just as Churchill suggested 70 years ago. Indeed, other parts of movement are also celebrating their centenaries in the next 12 months – the Guides, the BSA and many Scout groups in the UK and in other countries (Falkenberg Sweden for example).

Be Prepared is still a motto that is perfect for a worldwide movement and one for the 21st Century.

So something written over 70 years ago by someone who was one of the greatest leaders of all time is still as relevant today!

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