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See the Wisdom Chapter for more instructions, hints and tips.


You can go one of three ways with this thought on first impressions.

  1. How you look and behave has an impact on others.
  2. How first impressions can be wrong.
  3. Using first impressions as a tool to keeping you safe from criminals.

You only get one chance to make a good first impression. First impressions are very important when meeting new people.

If you see a panhandler on the corner, you immediately notice that he is messy and dirty. You reason that he doesnít care or know enough to make himself presentable. This could be because of problems with drugs or alcohol. It could even be the result of mental issues. Whatever it is, your mind should be telling you DANGER, BEWARE.

You have made a judgment based on your first impression.

The same can be applied to us as Boy Scouts, students, members of a church, and other organizations.

How you appear and behave is how others will perceive you. Maybe itís at Scout Sunday or going on a campout or attending a district event. Others will notice how you look and behave and generalize that all Scouts are like that.

So, if you look messy or behave poorly, others will think that all Scouts are that way. Your actions have affected all Scouts.

The opposite is also true. If you wear your uniform properly and neatly and behave well, they will think the same of other Scouts.

So always look and behave your best first of all for yourself. You want others to think highly of you and you want to set a good example. Secondly, do it for your troop, they are your friends and would do the same for you. And thirdly, do it for all Scouts, after all we are all brothers.


You only get one chance to make a good first impression. First impressions are very important when meeting new people.

If you see a panhandler on the corner, you immediately notice that he is messy and dirty. You reason that he doesnít care or know enough to make himself presentable. This could be because of problems with drugs or alcohol. It could even be the result of mental issues. Whatever it is, your mind should be telling you DANGER, BEWARE.

You have made a judgment based on your first impression.

Even though making a first impression judgment is often necessary for your safety, be prepared to change your opinion if the person SHOWS you to be incorrect.

Snap Judgment

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without an appointment into the president's outer office. The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn't even deserve to be in Cambridge.

She frowned. "We want to see the president", the man said softly. "He'll be busy all day," the secretary snapped. "We'll wait," the lady replied.

For hours, the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn't. And the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted to do. "Maybe if they just see you for a few minutes, they'll leave," she told him. And he sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with them, but he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office.

The president, stern-faced with dignity, strutted toward the couple.

The lady told him, "We had a son that attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus". The president wasn't as touched as he was shocked.

"Madam," he said gruffly, "We can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery".

"Oh, no," the lady explained quickly, "We don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard.

The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, "A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical plant at Harvard".

For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. He could get rid of them now.

And the lady turned to her husband and said quietly, "Is that all it costs to start a University? Why don't we just start our own?" Her husband nodded.

The president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment.

And Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California where they established the University that bears their name, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.


You only get one chance to make a good first impression. First impressions are very important when meeting new people.

If you see a panhandler on the corner, you immediately notice that he is messy and dirty. You reason that he doesnít care or know enough to make himself presentable. This could be because of problems with drugs or alcohol. It could even be the result of mental issues. Whatever it is, your mind should be telling you DANGER, BEWARE.

You have made a judgment based on your first impression. And you are right to do that. Being aware of the people around you and if they might be dangerous to you may someday save your life.

Always being aware of what is happening around you (situational awareness) is very important in our world. There are a lot of folks out there looking for a victim. As you go about, be aware of what is happening around you.

Could there be someone hiding behind a car or bush?

Who is around you: in front, on the side, or behind you? How are they behaving? Are they watching you? Is their behavior making you nervous?

Are you preoccupied or distracted (putting groceries in the car, for example) and thus more vulnerable?

Where might you go for safety (inside your car or in a place with other people)?

Be aware, be prepared, donít be a victim.

Being aware of who is around you and what is happening around you will also present opportunities to do more good deeds.

You will notice the mother whose wallet fell out of her purse as she was attending to her young son. You will notice the elderly woman struggling with a bag of groceries. You will notice the gentleman ...

Be open to these opportunities and cheerfully do your "Good turn daily."


Copyright © 2008 Vincent Hale