Every Monday, I dress up in a uniform. I button up a tan shirt with a variety of patches; I tuck the shirt into a pair of olive green shorts; I stuff a matching belt with a gold buckle into the loops of the shorts. I struggle to put on a pair of silly-looking, red and green socks. After I am done putting on my uniform, my mother drives me to the local church. I meet with other boys, similarly dressed. We gather into patrols, and face the American flag. An older kid raises his right hand, folding his thumb and pinkie down, leaving the three middle fingers straight. After we recite the Pledge of Allegiance, the Scout Law and Scout Oath, my troop repeats the Scout Slogan, “Do a good turn daily.” I have been repeating this process every week since I turned eleven years old. After a bit of calculation, in my four years as a Boy Scout, I have said “Do a good turn daily” over 200 times. Since then, I have made this simple slogan the goal and principle of my life.
To me, service is not just a simple idiom – “Do a good turn daily” is not a jingle or a phrase from a fortune cookie – it’s a way of life. Everyday soldiers, teachers, judges, doctors, police officers, firefighters and other volunteers use their time to help others. When I become an adult, I want to revolve my work around the betterment of society. I may join the Peace Corps; I may become a teacher, tennis coach or a Scoutmaster. I want to do more than just one good turn daily. I want to do five, ten, one hundred good turns daily. I know that I will be serving others and at the same time helping myself.
When I practice the Scout Slogan, I feel more content and fulfilled. When I open a door or pay a compliment, I not only make the other person feel better, I also feel a sense of satisfaction. I believe I can make a difference. I asked my scoutmaster once why he was always smiling. He responded, “Every smile is contagious”. The same principle holds true with service and the Scout Slogan. In a recent commercial from Liberty Mutual, one good deed is done by a person. Another deed is carried on by a bystander who is generally inspired by the action. The same process repeats itself and the person who originally did the deed is eventually the recipient of one of the kind actions. I believe that this commercial can be applied to real life. My positive attitude towards life can change my community for the better – that truly makes me happy.
I believe that a life lived for others is ultimately worth more than living a life for myself. Every Monday, I dress up in my scout uniform and recite a slogan with about 50 other boys. Every Monday, I reaffirm my allegiance, my belief, in the simple words, “Do a good turn daily.”