At a recent troop meeting, one of the boys led the others in the Scout Law. They recited:
A scout is:
Scoutmaster Ken Hill later asked to boys to think carefully about the Scout Law that they had recited and to give their opinion as to which of the 16 words in the law was the most important. He also wanted them to say why they thought that particular word was the most important one. Some thoughtful answers were given.
Then Ken asked the boys to consider the possibility that the word "is" might be the most important word in the Scout Law.
The law, he noted, doesn't say, "A scout should be ... ," "A scout wants to be ... ," or "A scout tries to be ...." It says, "A scout is ..." all of the 12 principles listed in the law. The law is not a list of goals, but a list of characteristics that define and identify a scout.
Of course, all scouting age boys are in training. Each can only be expected to live up to the 12 points of the Scout Law according to their age appropriate abilities. But to be a scout, they are expected to do their best at this.
Imagine how much better the world would be if each of us did our best to live these principles in our individual lives—if these words were part of our individual identity.
Ken Hill may be right. The most important word in the Scout Law may be "is."