Edhird's Blog

Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


Leave a comment

Winston Churchill and Baden-Powell: Unlikely Soulmates

    By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdBaden-powell3

 Over the last number of years, I have written several articles about Baden-Powell, the remarkable founder of the world-wide Scouting and Guiding movements.  Both Lord and Lady Baden-Powell were born on February 22nd, a coincidence which has led to the widespread celebrating of their lives every February with events like Parent-son banquets, church parades, and thinking days.

In thinking about Lord Baden Powell, I was struck by the unexpected similarities between Baden Powell and Winston Churchill.  Both, for example, came into international recognition through their miraculous escapes and bravery in the South African Boer War.  Both were courageous, determined men who inspired millions of others to try their best and to never, never give up.  Admittedly, they had many differences as well.  For example, Churchill lived in the world of politics and power, while Baden-Powell lived in the world of boys and backpacks.  As well, Baden-Powell clearly warned against the dangers of smoking and drinking, while Churchill was famous for his cigar and glass of brandy.

Winston Churchill 2 PictureAt a deeper level however, their common determination and perseverance has had remarkable impact on the character development of millions.  Churchill once went to a meeting of students, where he stood up and said: “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.”.  Then he sat down.  In his 1937 book Great Contemporaries, Churchill included one whole chapter on Baden Powell.  In describing Baden-Powell’s Scouting movement, Churchill said: “It is difficult to exaggerate the moral and mental health which our nation had derived from this profound and simple conception.”  Churchill described Baden-Powell (B.P.) as one of the three most famous generals he had ever known.

Churchill first met Baden-Powell while B.P. was acting as an Austrian Hussar in an amateur vaudeville entertainment, given for the British Army in India.  Three years later, Churchill interviewed B.P. for a newspaper article about B.P.’s famous 217-day defence of Mafeking in South Africa.  Churchill said of this interview: “…once B.P. got talking, he was magnificent.”  Churchill commented: “In those days, B.P.’s fame as a soldier eclipsed almost all popular reputations.  The other B.P. – the British Public – looked upon him as the outstanding hero of the War.  Even those who disapproved of the War, and derided the triumphs of large, organized armies over the Boer farmers, could not (help but) cheer the long, spirited, tenacious defence of Mafeking by barely eight hundred men against a beleaguering force ten or twelve times their number.”

“No one”, said Churchill, ” had ever believed winston churchill gravethat Mafeking would hold out half as long. A dozen times, as the siege dragged on, the watching nation had emerged from apprehension and despondency into renewed hope, and had been cast down again.”  By the end of the siege, Mafeking had become so famous that it turned into a verb: “to Mafeking meant to celebrate uproariously”.  Churchill noted that “when finally the news of Mafeking’s relief was flashed throughout the world, the streets of London became impassable, and the floods of sterling cockney patriotism was released in such deluge of unbridled, delirious, childish joy as was never witnessed again until Armistice Night in 1918.”

Churchill, too, became an instant hero through his adventures in South Africa.  On May 15th in 1899, Winston Churchill the newspaper journalist was accompanying 150 soldiers on an armoured train, when suddenly it was ambushed and derailed.  Churchill took command in clearing the lines, and took 60 men, many of them wounded, away to safety.  Upon returning to help the other troops, Winston was captured, despite his protest that he was just a journalist.  After 3 weeks in captivity, Churchill escaped over the prison wall, jumped a train, hid in a mine, and finally escaped by train.  In the afterglow of his amazing adventure, Churchill was elected to the British Parliament at the young age of 25.

Lord Baden Powell PictureNeither B.P. nor Churchill were particularly successful in their early school days.  B.P.’s school reports read:

1) Classics: Seems to take very little interest in his work

2) Mathematics: Has to all intent given up the study of mathematics

3) Science: Pays not the slightest attention, except in one week at the beginning of the quarter

4) French: Could do well, but has become very lazy; often sleeps in school.

Churchill was described by one of his teachers as “the naughtiest small boy in the world”.  His father warned him: “I am certain that if you cannot prevent yourself from leading the idle unprofitable life you have had during your school days, you will become a mere social wastrel, one of the hundreds of public school failures, and you will degenerate into a shabby and futile existence.”  Both B.P. and Churchill preferred to learn their lessons from nature than from a classroom.

Baden-Powell once said: “Say your prayers regularly, read that wonderful old book, the Bible, and read that other wonderful old book, the Book of nature, and see and study all that you can of the wonders and beauties that nature provides for your enjoyment.  Then turn your mind to how you can best serve God while you still have the life that He has lent you.”  Churchill loved animals and loved to paint the beauties of nature.  After his crushing election defeat right after V-Day, Churchill went to the Mediterranean where he said: “I paint all day and every day, and have banished care and disillusionment to the shades.”

Despite the many setbacks and defeats in both B.P.’s and Churchill’s life, neither of them ever gave up the struggle to fulfill their visions.  Churchill described B.P. as a “man of character, vision, and enthusiasm.”  Winston described what he saw as the marks of a scout: sturdiness, neighbourliness, practical competence, love of country and , above all in these times, indomitable resolve, daring and enterprise in the face of the enemy.  “BE PREPARED”, said Churchill, ” to stand up faithfully for Right and Truth, however the winds may blow.”

Similarly, Baden-Powell said that it is the stickability of the man that really counts.  Stickability for B.P. was “that mixture of pluck, patience, and strength which we call endurance.”  Stickability “…will pull a person out of many a bad place when everything seems to be going wrong for him.”

As I think of Baden-Powell’s and Churchill’s stickability, I am reminded of the words of wisdom: “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  May the God of endurance fill each of us with stickability as we face life’s challenges.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide

Advertisements


1 Comment

Baden-Powell: School of the Outdoors

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Baden-powell3

Baden-Powell, the founder of the world-wide Scouting movement, preferred to learn his lessons from nature rather from a classroom.  B.P. was not an academic success. His school reports read:

1) Classics: Seems to me to take very little interest in his work

2) Mathematics: Has to all intent given up the study of mathematics

3) Science: Pays not the slightest attention, except in one week at the beginning of the quarter

4) French: Could do well, but has become very lazy; often sleeps in school.

 

Baden-Powell was a bit of a loner in school, somewhat reserved though never unpopular.  Given a choice, he preferred the solitary pursuits of exploring the woods round the Charterhouse school in Surrey, England. There he learnt  how to snare rabbits and cook them in secret with a smokeless fire, how to use an axe,  how to creep silently through the bush, how to hide his tracks, how to identify the different kinds of animals and plants, and how to climb a tree and hide from Scouting Emblemthe school authorities.  B.P. said that it was in those woods that he gained most of what helped him later in life to find the joy of living.

It is no wonder that years later Baden-Powell that the object in Scouting “was to wean (the boys) from indoors and to make the outdoors attractive to them.”  B.P. described Scouting as a school of the outdoors.  Scouting, said B.P., was not a science, nor a military code. Rather “it is a jolly game in the outdoors,  where boy-men can go adventuring together as older and younger brother, picking up health and happiness, handicraft and helpfulness.”

As Scouting was first developing, B.P said to his adult leaders: “… give your boys all you can of woodcraft and Nature study…The Nature study should be a real close touch WebMustardTreewith Nature, far beyond the academic dipping into the subject which passes under the name in school.  Collecting, whether of plants or bugs, and investigation, whether of beasts or birds, are all-absorbing studies for the boy and mighty good for him.”

Why was Baden-Powell so exciting about Nature study and Outdoor camping? Because B.P. saw it as a “golden chance to bring the boy to God through the direct appeal of Nature and her store of wonders.”  Nature study for B.P. was a character-building, and spiritual exercise.  Nature study, said B.P., “gives the best means of opening out the minds and thoughts of boys, and at the same time…gives them the power of appreciating beauty in Nature and consequently in art…”  Nature study  helped “the realization of God, the Creator, through His wonderous work, and the active performance of His will in service for others.”

I believe that Baden-Powell might have really enjoyed living on the North Shore with its unforgettable beauty of mountain, forests, and sea.  B.P. would have reminded us that “the mystery of the sea and the heavens, and the fascination of the colouring of the scene, and the modelling of the scene” all point to God’s handiwork.   Baden-Powell saw all of nature as gifts from God.  We all teach our children to say “thank you” for birthday and amber%20dawnChristmas presents.  How much more should we say “thank you” for God’s gifts of nature?  B.P. said “We teach the boy that a gift is not his till he has expressed his gratitude for it.  His attitude to God is, therefore, thankfulness for benefits received; and his method for expressing this is through service, in behalf of God, to his fellow-men.

To Baden-Powell, the question was not what can I get from life, but what can I give in life.  When dealing with conflicts in the Scouting movement, B.P. recommended that people “…ask themselves the simple question,   `What would Christ have done under the circumstances?’ and be guided accordingly”.

In a last message found among B.P.’s papers Durham Cathedral from Riverafter he had died, he said:  “Dear Scouts,…I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life.  Happiness doesn’t  come from being rich, not merely from being successful in your career, not by self-indulgence.  One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so can enjoy life when you are a man.  Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy.  Be contented with what you have got and make the best of it…”

My prayer is that we too, like Baden-Powell, may be filled with gratitude to God our Creator for the wonderful gift of Nature.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

 St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


Leave a comment

Olave Baden Powell: Mother Of Millions

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Lord and Lady Baden Powell

 

One of the most loved and fondly remembered women of the last century is Olave Baden Powell, founder of the worldwide Guiding movement. Girls and young women today often have few healthy models on which to base their life. One only has to think of the infamous rock star Madonna or Paris Hilton to realize how much we need role models like Lady Baden Powell.

Olave Baden Powell, who died in 1977, was a woman who loved and cared for millions, and in return was loved and cared for by millions. Olave energetically led a movement which now includes over 8 million Sparks, Brownies, Guides, and Pathfinders (and over 500 girls in the Seymour/Deep Cove area). She was radically unselfish, always thinking of the other, always thinking of a way to serve her fellow human being. She and her husband Robert both believed that “happiness comes not from what we have but from what we give and what we share”, Lady Baden Powell was a wonderful example of what true Christianity is all about: loving God and loving your neighbour as yourself. One of the most distinctive things about Olave was her smile. Her smile was not that of politeness put on for an occasion but of honest to goodness enjoyment of what she was doing. It was a most infectious smile. People felt it quite impossible not to give an answering grin when they met her sparkling eyes and smiling mouth face to face.

Though raised in an affluent upper class home, Olave did not find life to be always easy. Her father Harold Soames was a restless artist who uprooted his family six times in nine short years, and was often away painting overseas. The affluent life of leisure bored Olave and left her longing to do something useful with her life. But even her small effort at amusing and teaching handicapped boys was frowned upon by her family, because it interfered with her daily schedule of tennis and squash.

Her parents had initial feelings of reluctance over Olave marrying a man more than thirty years older than her. But when her mother Katherine found out that Olave intended to join the Guides and to throw her lot in with “those wild girls”, her mother was horrified. The name “Girl Guide” was anathema to her mother. Sadly she never overcame her dislike of Olave’s work, even going to such lengths as running away and hiding if she thought Guides were about to appear. Olave was never allowed to be in Guide Uniform in her mother’s presence. Her mother’s resentment of Guiding was deeply hurtful to Olave, and drove a wedge between an otherwise close relationship.

Initially Olave was not greatly interested in Girl Guides, for she preferred to serve as a Lady Scout Master for a Boy Scout Troop in Ewhurst, England. When she first offered her services to the Girl Guides (at her husband’s request), they turned her down because they felt that she was too young and inexperienced! But Olave believed that “… when God wants one to do something, He smooths away the difficulties in one’s way.” So she persisted and was so dedicated in organizing the Guides in Sussex that they elected Olave as Chief Commissioner for England, In the next 18 months, she recruited 2,840 Guide Commissioners, and organized every county in England! All this was accomplished despite the fact that 19 out of every 20 potential commissioners turned down her request.

“I do not think anyone ever realized,” wrote Olave, “how deep and passionate was our love for each other _” So when her husband Lord Baden Powell died at Nyeri, Kenya in 1941, Olave experienced his death as a terrible blow. She longed for nothing but death itself. For the first time in her courage seemed to desert her. Olave felt utterly alone and very restless. She wondered if she would ever find real contentment again. Fortunately her husband had left her four farewell letters that help her recover her peace of mind. She found that by throwing herself into caring for Guides and Scouts, her grief became manageable.

Another great source of comfort to her was her personal faith. Olave was a committed churchgoer and a very God centered woman. I thank God daily,” wrote Olave, for the wonderful way in which His Divine Hand led us both (Robert and Olave) to come together … How richly God blessed us both in giving us our work and each other.” Olave was very clear about the priority of the Guide and Scout promise to “do my duty to God” (love and serve God). As Olave’s official biography put it, “she had traveled in most countries in the world and taken part in services in great Cathedrals as well as in small churches of many denominations, for “Duty to God” is the Guide’s first Promise and this involves worship as well as service.” Olave also expressed her Christian commitment by serving as godmother to over 40 baptized children … a duty she took very seriously. Olave wrote in her autobiography: If I have any message to leave, it is this: Believe in God. He guides and protects you all through life.” My prayer is that the practical spirituality of Olave Baden Powell may inspire all of us, whether or not we are guides, to a deeper love of God and our neighbour.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

 -author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide