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Andy’s Rules -December 25, 2012

You’ve asked for them– Here they are!

My “101 RULES” for Scouting and for Life.

With personal thanks to B-P, Ken King, Diana Cilluffo, Mark Twain, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Douglas MacArthur, Laurence Peter, Oscar Wilde, and Murphy.

No. 1:
• Stupid has no cure.

No. 2:
• You show up at “troop volunteer night” and after ten minutes you still can’t figure out who the new Scoutmaster’s gonna be… It’s gonna be you.

No. 3:
• Don’t try to teach pigs to fly… It wastes your time and annoys the pigs.

No. 4:
• When in doubt, ask a Scout!

No. 5:
• The apology you’re willing to make to your fellow Scouter causes you to grow, not shrink, in your own and everyone’s eyes.

No. 6:
• Pray not so much to win but to do your level best.

No. 7:
• The first thing to do after delegating is: Get out of the way.

No. 8:
• Scouting’s first “volunteers” are the Scouts themselves.

No. 9:
• Program produces participants. Show me a dull, no-show troop or pack and I’ll show you dull programs.

No. 10:
• Cleanliness is next to godliness; except at camp, where it’s next to impossible.

No. 11:
• If you’ve molded yourself to have Command Presence you never need to announce who’s in charge and you’re never challenged.

No. 12:
• Life is a series of lessons. Each lesson appears to us in different ways and forms until we learn it. Then the next lesson appears.

No. 13:
• Once you’ve hit “send” Mister Flame-Mail is no longer your friend; neither is he the missile you expect him to be…He’s now a boomerang.

No. 14:
• When personal dignity is genuine, it cannot be made less by the foolishness, meanness, indifference, or invective of others.

No. 15:
• We succeed 100 percent of the time…at what we’re really up to.

No. 16:
• Scouts and teabags: You never know how strong they can really be till they get themselves in a bit of hot water.

No. 17:
• The only sensible answer to the question, “May I be brutally honest?” is: “No.”

No. 18:
• Beware any Scouter who’d rather be wrong than take the time to look it up.

No. 19:
• The extent of politics in any organization is inversely proportional to its ability to show results.

No. 20:
• “COMMISSIONER CHARM SCHOOL” is where, among other things, we learn to say “That’s just amazing!” instead of “Which of you geniuses thought that one up all by yourself?”

No. 21:
• Don’t waste time reading the “Nutritional Content” of a Three Musketeers, Snickers, or bag of Gummi Bears… Nutrition isn’t what they’re for, or what you want, anyway.

No. 22:
• Any adult leader who can’t make his point to a group of sharp teen-aged boys in under three minutes is in the wrong job.

No. 23:
• “Because I said so,” is often reason enough.

No. 24:
• Whoever says, “The score doesn’t really matter,” isn’t winning.

No. 25:
• The batteries of your flashlight will die only when you need light the most.

No. 26:
• A bought neckerchief slide will always become lost; a hand-made slide will never be lost.

No. 27:
• Knowing where to get the answer always trumps guessing.

No. 28:
• Order of the Arrow elections are always “popularity contests.” Scouts who best live the Scout Law with their fellow Scouts will always be the most popular.

No. 29:
• Two things you never want to see being made: Unit bylaws and sausages.

No. 30:
• The moment you decide to wear the medal you received for your modesty, you no longer qualify.

No. 31:
• Sometimes it’s OK to be average: It means you’re still ahead of almost half the group.

No. 32:
• There are always five types of people in every brainstorming session: YES-BUTers, NOT NOWers, IT’LL NEVER WORKers, WE TRIED IT BEFORE AND IT DIDN’T WORKers, and LET’S DO IT!ers. Rally the LET’S DO IT!ers — They’ll get the job done.

No. 33:
• No book is error- or typo-free.

No. 34:
• All blanket statements have exceptions, including this one.

No. 35:
• While on tour and staying in a hotel, the very first thing all Scouts will do upon entering their assigned rooms is check to see if there’s access to the TV’s “adult” channels.

No. 36:
• Any Commissioner who believes Commissioners out-rank unit leaders should be immediately taken outside and shot.

No. 37:
• Two-thirds of the earth is covered by water; the remainder is covered by FOS chairs and Popcorn colonels.

No. 38:
• Wealth doesn’t assure happiness; neither does poverty.

No. 39:
• Knowledge and intelligence can be faked; clever and witty can’t.

No. 40:
• On any campout, the gadget most needed will be the one left behind in somebody’s car trunk.

No. 41:
• In any confrontation between emotion and logic, emotion always wins.

No. 42:
• Either employ the Scout sign or simply shout, “Sign’s Up!” To do both is pointless.

No. 43:
• Never give a Commissioner a weak cup of coffee.

No. 44:
• Never argue with idiots. They’ll drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

No. 45:
• The question, “Will you promise not to get mad when I tell you something?” is a guarantee that you will.

No. 46:
• Despotism cannot be cured; only overthrown. Before they hurt the next Scout, rise up and throw the rascals out.

No. 47:
• Scouts: The probability that your Scoutmaster happens to be looking your way is directly proportional to the stupidity of what you’re doing at that moment.

No. 48:
• Want to create half-hearted Scouts? It’s easy: Just wear a half-hearted uniform.

No. 49:
• No boy can be saved from his own parents.

No. 50:
• Beware excess enthusiasm. It often masks incompetence.

No. 51:
• It’s lonesome at the bottom, too. It’s just more crowded with lonely people.

No. 52:
• Conscience is what you do when nobody’s looking.

No. 53:
• The Scouters who actually thank their Commissioner are often the ones for whom he’s done the least.

No. 54:
• The more simple, logical, and Scout-friendly the Scouting policy, the more it will be ignored.

No. 55:
• In phone conversations with fools, say whatever will make them pause; then hang up.

No. 56:
• The most essential gift of a good Commissioner is a built-in crap detector.

No. 57:
• One troop in town will constantly struggle to stay afloat; two troops in town will both succeed.

No. 58:
• If “the fine print” were your friend, it would be printed in large.

No. 59:
• When your good work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.

No. 60:
• When called upon to speak to any group or audience, resist the urge to describe the thoughts that ran through your head before you figured out what you were actually going to say.

No. 61:
• The three most important elements of a good speech or talk are (1) a “wake-up” opening, (2) a thoughtful close, and (3) keeping 1 and 2 as close together as possible.

No. 62:
• Beware what a new acquaintance tells you he’s best at. This often turns out to be his Achilles’ heel.

No. 63:
• “Co-leaders” who agree to share 100% of the responsibilities will each accomplish 10%.

No. 64:
• The length and complexity of all PowerPoint presentations are in inverse proportion to their value.

No. 65:
• Anyone who must tell you he always tells the truth, is lying.

No. 66:
• Anything told to you “for your own good” isn’t.

No. 67:
• “No” and “Let me think about that” have identical meanings.

No. 68:
• When contemplating the replacement or removal of a volunteer, make the decision with surgical precision, then carry it out with compassion.

No. 69:
• First law of guides, manuals, and handbooks: The topic you seek is always absent from the index.

No. 70:
• Light travels faster than sound, which is why some people look intelligent…until you hear what they have to say.

No. 71:
• Procrastination can always be solved…eventually.

No. 72:
• The BSA trainer’s motto: “Look Prepared.”

No. 73:
• Learn a subject or skill so well that you can teach it; by teaching it you’ll understand it and it’ll stay with you for life.

Rule No. 74:
• Commissioners: If you want to learn a unit’s greatest weakness, listen to what they brag about.

Rule No. 75:
• You can fix the blame, or you can fix the problem. Take your pick.

Rule No. 76:
• You can tell some Scoutmasters there are four billion stars in the universe and he believes you, but tell him that the Senior Patrol Leader is supposed to be running troops meeting and he looks at you like you’ve just had frogs leap out of your mouth?

Rule No. 77:
• A clear conscience is often the sign of a faulty memory.

Rule No. 78:
• When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that firefighters usually use water.

Rule No. 79:
• Ready, fire, aim isn’t always the best way to tackle a problem.

Rule No. 80:
• Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

Rule No. 81:
• It takes just one careless match to start a forest fire, but it’ll take a Scout the whole box to start a campfire.

Rule No. 82:
• Some volunteers are sorta like Slinkies… not really good for very much, but you can’t help smiling when you see one tumbling down the stairs.

Rule No. 83:
• A boy kept from making mistakes is likely to be kept from making anything else.

Rule No. 84:
• If God is indeed watching us, the least we can do is be entertaining.

Rule No. 85:
• Opinions are never substitutes for facts.

Rule No. 86:
• Scouters: Keep your eye on the heavens and your feet close to the ground.

Rule No. 87:
• When you’re actually right you can count on one or two folks hearing you; when you’re wrong you can count on everyone hearing you.

Rule No. 88:
• A good speech will produce applause of appreciation; a bad one, of relief.

Rule No. 89:
• All ninety-minute meetings last two hours; all thirty-minute meetings last two hours.

Rule No. 90:
• The Scouts who show up for every meeting are often the ones who don’t need to.

Rule No. 91:
• To avoid being elected to a volunteer position you don’t want, chair the nominating committee.

Rule No. 92:
• The unit with the smallest number of youth will be the one requiring the most attention by their Commissioner.

Rule No. 93:
• When you demand that someone meet you halfway, be sure he doesn’t use his fist to do it.

Rule No. 94
• There’s no such thing as “bad weather” for Scouting… only bad clothing or equipment decisions.

Rule No. 95:
• Productivity is inversely proportional to the size of the committee.

Rule No. 96:
• Before contemplating your own self-importance, consider the lowly pigeon’s reality check: Yesterday’s heroes are today’s targets.

Rule No. 97:
• When doing it right collides with doing it the way we’ve always done it, the latter wins. Every time.

Rule No. 98:
• “I think I can fix that” always solves more problems than “Somebody ought to do something…”

Rule No. 99:
• The difference between doing it right and doing it almost right is the same as the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

Rule No. 100:
• Never leave the Scouting Movement with the regret that you might have served better the youth in your care had you just taken the time for training.

Rule No. 101:
• At the end of the day, only three things are truly important: The Patrol, and The Patrol, and The Patrol.

Happy Scouting!


Copyright © 2012 Andy McCommish


About AskAndy

Andy is a Board Member of the U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.

Andy has just received notification by his council Scout Executive that he is to be recognized as a National Distinguished Eagle Scout. He is currently serving as a Unit Commissioner and his council's International Representative. He has previously served in a number of other Scouting roles including Assistant Council Commissioner, Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Den Leader, and--as a Scout--Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. His awards include: Kashafa Iraqi Scouting Service Award, Distinguished Commissioner, Doctor of Commissioner Science, International Scouter Award, District Award of Merit (2), Scoutmaster Award of Merit, Scouter's Key (3), Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award, Cliff Dochterman Rotarian Scouter Award, James E. West Fellow (2), Wood Badge & Sea Badge, and Eagle Scout & Explorer Silver Award.

Read Andy's full biography

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