These days they’re called Cub Scouts, but when I was a kid I belonged to the Wolf Cubs before I graduated to the Boy Scouts. In fact I was a member of both organisations right on the cusp of name changes (“rebranding”, to use today’s vernacular) – just as the ‘Wolf’ and the ‘Boy’ were dropped, in an effort to bring the Scout Association kicking and screaming into the Sixties.
Yes, I really am that old.
I loved being a Cub and I LOVED being a Scout, and just the other day I was thinking about my old Cub promise. It began with ‘I promise to do my best,’ then segued into ‘to do a good turn for somebody every day’, which I still think is an admirable goal.
The phrase ‘a good turn’ might seem slightly quaint and out-of-date, but the idea of doing someone a favour is something I trust will never go out of fashion. Doing things for others is a sure-fire way to boost your own wellbeing, and of course it also helps to build a better world: a more rewarding place for us both to live in.
As a Cub, I was told to be on the lookout for old ladies who wanted to cross the road (what a funny old world I grew up in) but in case there’s a shortage of shy female octogenarian street-crossers in your neighbourhood, may I suggest that you go a little out of your way to find other people to help during the course of the next 24 hours?
So if the person behind you in the supermarket has just a couple of items, why not let them go ahead of you? If you still have time on your car park ticket as you’re ready to leave, how about handing it on to someone who’s just driven in? Finished your newspaper on the bus or train? Offer it to a neighbour.
The more unexpected your help and the more out-of-the blue it seems, the greater the impact it can have. And the greater the impact, the bigger the kick it will give you.
So seek out those chances to do a good turn today, and – oh yes – do your best, too.