If You Think You Know a Lot, Take This Test

merit_badges
This is the 17th in a collection of newspaper ads written by Harry Gray, then CEO of United Technologies, that appeared in the Wall Street Journal from the late 1970s through the early 1980s.


Can you explain the self-evident truths of our Declaration of Independence?
The checks and balances of our Constitution?
Do you know three of the rights in your Bill of Rights?
What must be done to become an American citizen?
Can you compare the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens with those of people from three ideologically different countries?
Explain the preamble of the UN Charter.
Outline the UN organization.
What is meant by foreign exchange, balance of payments, diplomatic exchange?
Can you answer all these questions?
If so, then you know only some of the things a Boy Scout must know to earn merit badges in national and world citizenship.


I must admit that I did OK with the first four questions and the one starting with foreign exchange, but I really had no answers for the questions about comparing the U.S. to other countries or the ones about the UN.

If you would like to see the details for what is required for these badges, here are the links from the Boy Scouts web site, along with suggested answers from an unofficial web site.

Citizenship in the Nation (answers)

Citizenship in the World (answers)

There is also a Citizenship in the Community (answers) merit badge that Boy Scouts can earn, which focuses on the rights, duties, and obligations of citizenship, and requires the Scouts to explain how they can demonstrate good citizenship in their community, Scouting unit, place of worship, or school.

I remember being a Cub Scout (my mom was a den mother), and it was a fun group and organization to be part of. I still recall with fondness the annual Pine Run Derby (my car never won, in fact I don’t think my car ever crossed the finish line). It was also exciting to be presented with the new badges you had earned, and to me were the early stages of learning about setting goals and the importance of being recognized for accomplishing those goals. I did move on to Webelos, but that’s as far as I went with Scouting.

For many reasons, I wish I had continued on and became an Eagle Scout, not only because of the useful knowledge I would have acquired along the way, but also for the sense of accomplishment that must come with earning such a designation.

When I meet someone who is an Eagle Scout, it always makes a favorable first impression. While I could be proven wrong at a later date, earning such a designation says something about the person’s work ethic and sense of honor.

But getting back to the focus of this week’s United Technologies ad; while you obviously don’t need to be a Boy Scout to become informed about your community, your country, or the world, it’s nice knowing that there is an organization that encourages such knowledge, and provides incentives for doing so.

While I may not agree with everything that the Boy Scouts of America stands for, all in all I think it provides a useful service to our young boys. If any of our sons had expressed interest in becoming a Boy Scout, I certainly would not have hesitated in allowing them to do so, as long as what they were learning from the Boy Scouts was consistent with my family’s values.

In the meantime, it looks like I’ve got some studying to do.

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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