The Scout Law Revisited: Thrifty

A Scout is taught to be economical and to show good management, not only financially, but with the resources we’re given in this world. He is taught to think of the future, and save for those unforeseen and unexpected moments. He is also taught to be economical with his time, and realize that we are only given a fixed (and small) amount of time on this earth.

As a young man, this principle didn’t mean much, admittedly. The concept of being thrifty meant very little, other than what you were taught in Scouts or in school and at home. It was more of a theory we were meant to memorize and follow. The closest I got to understanding being thrifty was by saving my money from doing chores and jobs for my parents. I quickly learned that if I saved my money, rather than letting it burn a hole in my pocket, I could take my bike every few weeks and go down to the local store and buy basketball cards. It meant more to me because I worked to earn that money, bought them myself and then sorted and organized them.

I still have those cards today. Some of them are pretty great! (Jordan, Bird, and Magic.) Every time I pick up those binders full of those cards, it make me smile thinking about the memories of those days, and what I did to get them. It definitely cemented the importance of being thrifty, even if I didn’t truly understand it until I got older.

As an adult, being thrifty becomes even more crucial, and money and time management skills become a necessary and crucial life skill. Unfortunately, our children are not directly taught in school how to manage time and money, and I feel it should. It’s an important skill, and just because you get older and potentially receive increasingly bigger paychecks doesn’t mean you automatically know how to handle things. All you need to do is look at most professional athletes who suddenly make millions, and then are broke the moment they retire. Poor money management. Nobody took the time to teach them the skills they would need, which became even more crucial when the huge paychecks came. As a result, many of them don’t see the importance of being thrifty.

The same can be said of time management. The tragedy of life is that as we get older and make more money to enjoy life, we have increasing responsibilities and less time in which to enjoy it, or to get everything accomplished in our day. Time management becomes crucial in ensuring that we take full advantage of the time we’re given. In schools, this is one concept that we attempt to drive home with students, especially when it comes to balancing their schoolwork, their activities, and their home life. The most successful students are able to properly balance these different areas, and they are successful as a result of the balance they allow themselves.

Being thrifty gets a bad reputation sometimes, and there is a tendency to confuse it with being “cheap”, but that is inaccurate. There is no negative connotation with being thrifty, and if a young person starts with these principles at a young age, it will lay the foundation as they get older and take on more responsibility. It will give them more balance as they grow older.

And being balanced in our lives is a goal for everyone.

-Z

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