A commenter on a story in The New York Times made the observation:
Belief is the conviction that one already knows; learning, in contrast, requires an awareness that one has yet to know.
This is what happens when a mania for belief takes over your life. Eventually, you become incapable of learning. New information goes in one ear and out the other — it literally just does not register, as the mind, addicted to belief, blocks it out.
While the original context of the comment had nothing to do with Scouting, I certainly think it applies to some volunteers in our movement.
Too many Scouters come in to Boy Scouts with the belief that they know how the Scouting program should work, and they apply the beliefs they have acquired in life. Often these have to do with their experiences in areas like business management, sports coaching, and even Cub Scouting. They do not have the awareness that Boy Scouting is different. Continue reading “Belief or learning?”
Talking with the Cubmaster at a Blue & Gold banquet recently, I found out that her son is crossing into Boy Scouts this spring. In fact, he (and she) have already been on a campout of the troop that he is joining. Among other tales of the adventure that lies across the bridge, I gently advised her to quell the urge to do things that the boys should be doing. She had heard that before – from the Scoutmaster. On the campout, she thought it would be helpful if she’d wipe down the table after the patrol had lunch, whereupon the Scoutmaster reminded her that it was the boys’ job to do that – not the adults’. So she called her son over and told him to do it, and learned the next part – it’s not the adults’ job to direct the Scouts, but that they’re led by their own leaders.
There’s a lot to learn when an adult follows his or her son into a troop. Continue reading “What are you clinging to?”
Scouters sometimes get impatient with the way things are working. We’re frustrated that committee members aren’t getting things done. Youth leaders are clumsy and inept and we don’t fully grasp that this is the process of leadership in the learning stages.
It’s not an uncommon problem. It happens all the time in business, school and our daily lives. Continue reading “Patience is a virtue”
If someone set a marshmallow in front of you, would you eat it?
If that person told you that if you didn’t eat it, but watched it for 15 minutes, they’d give you another marshmallow. Would you eat it or wait?
Now imagine you’re a kid. Do you think you’d have the patience to wait 15 minutes? Think of how much longer 15 minutes seems like to a child than it does to us.
You’ve probably heard of the psychology experiment conducted by Stanford professor Walter Mischel in the 1960s. Continue reading “The Marshmallow Test”
Has this ever happened to you?
The following question was posted on one of the Scouting forums in the last few weeks. I thought it was an interesting conundrum and offered my comments. Since it’s unfortunately not an uncommon situation, maybe you can relate. I’ll paraphrase:
Last month at the troop committee meeting, I [a Scoutmaster] was told that “this boy-led thing” was not working. I was hurt and disappointed in the boys. The parents thought the boys chose their leaders poorly at the previous election, and they want a major overhaul. I’m not sure we did the right thing, but we had two boys express interest in being senior patrol leader. The assistant Scoutmasters and I picked between the two and chose a tenth grader as the new SPL.. We let him pick his staff down to the patrol leaders and assistant patrol leaders. The boy we chose believes in the patrol method and wants to continue to develop it. I think.he has chosen a good staff, but the parents are still calling for changes. What do you do to quell a parent revolt?
Continue reading “How do I quell a parent revolt?”