The Best of the Cowboy Codes

Posted by jdg | 1:24 PM

My daughter asked about the ten commandments the other day and when I explained them to her she looked really confused. That (and the cite to the boy scout vesper in that New York Times article from last week) got me thinking about the oaths and creeds that used to be such a big part of guiding kids' lives. We're not a particularly religious household, so when I stumbled upon some of the codes from the old 1950s television cowboy shows and their related clubs, I had to smile. There's a lot of goodness here:

Hopalong Cassidy's Creed for American Boys and Girls
  1. The highest badge of honor a person can wear is honesty. Be truthful at all times.
  2. Your parents are the best friends you have. Listen to them and obey their instructions.
  3. If you want to be respected, you must respect others. Show good manners in every way.
  4. Only through hard work and study can you succeed. Don't be lazy.
  5. Your good deeds always come to light. So don't boast or be a show-off.
  6. If you waste time or money today, you will regret it tomorrow. Practice thrift in all ways.
  7. Many animals are good and loyal companions. Be friendly and kind to them.
  8. A strong, healthy body is a precious gift. Be neat and clean.
  9. Our country's laws are made for your protection. Observe them carefully.
  10. Children in many foreign lands are less fortunate than you. Be glad and proud you are an American

The Lone Ranger Creed
  1. I believe that to have a friend, a man must be one.
  2. That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
  3. That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.
  4. In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.
  5. That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
  6. That "this government, of the people, by the people, and for the people," shall live always.
  7. That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
  8. That sooner or later...somewhere...somehow...we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.
  9. That all things change, but the truth, and the truth alone lives on forever.
  10. I believe in my Creator, my country, my fellow man.
Roy Rogers Riders Club Rules
  1. Be neat and clean.
  2. Be courteous and polite.
  3. Always obey your parents.
  4. Protect the weak and help them.
  5. Be brave, by never take chances.
  6. Study hard, and learn all you can.
  7. Be kind to animals and care for them.
  8. Eat all your food and never waste any.
  9. Love God and go to Sunday School regularly.
  10. Always respect our flag and country. 
Buck Jones Cowboy Creed          

I must be courteous and obedient to my elders.
I must study and learn.
I must be courageous, honest, industrious, truthful and unselfish.
I must be a pal to my playmates and big brother (or big sister) to all boys or girls younger than myself.
I must keep my life bright and clean.

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