How to help young leaders grow

mechanics-fourstepsOne of the most fascinating and fulfilling things about being part of the Scouting movement is watching our young people grow and develop as individuals, team members and leaders.

Every time I sit on a board of review (as I did for two new Eagle Scouts last week), I’m reminded that, in one way or another, the adults of our troop helped these young men grow. We did it, not by doing for them, but helping them see what’s important and how to handle it when they see it. Continue reading “How to help young leaders grow”

More on “helicoptering”

helicopter_200I’ve written before about the so-called “helicopter parent” phenomenon. Some parents are so concerned with keeping their child from failing that they practically do everything for them so they won’t fail at the tasks at hand, but with adverse consequences. Helicopter parenting often results in children who are ill-equipped to handle situations on their own once they finally break free of their parents’ influence – if that is even possible. Tales abound of parents who go so far as to represent their children in college, calling professors and registrars to intervene in what their kids really should be doing.

So what’s so bad about making sure your child is successful? Don’t we all want to have children who are successful? Continue reading “More on “helicoptering””

Let boys be boys!

cheerfulboyplaying_200For  most kids, play dates can be fun. You get dropped off at a friend’s house, play a few games, maybe have lunch or a snack that Mom prepared, the go play in the backyard, watch TV or play video games, then get picked up and go back home. Sounds like fun, right? But for a lot of people, what they fondly remember were long days spent playing with friends in an unstructured manner. You’d go to the park and swing on the big swingset, roam the neighborhood, ride bikes all over town, sneak into the kitchen and cook some hot dogs for lunch, then just hang out and build a fort in the backyard with things you’d find in the garage. Continue reading “Let boys be boys!”

Are you trying to do everything?

manyhats_200Many of us got into Scouting leadership because we wanted to share in the fun and adventure with our sons and wanted to help our pack or troop provide a great program for the boys. “An hour a week,” we were told, and soon found that it’s not always an accurate estimate, “but who’s counting?” we reason, because it’s for our sons and those of our friends and neighbors.

As we climb higher up the tree of adult leadership, though, we may find ourselves taking on more and more responsibilities. “Sure, I’ll do that,” we say, when someone asks us to handle a fundraiser, plan an outing, or serve on a district committee. It will be fun, and we’ll learn new things and meet new people, and we’ll be helping others.

As the chairperson of our unit committee, for instance, we realize that there are almost always more things to do than there are people to do them. Continue reading “Are you trying to do everything?”

Why do volunteers falter?

discouraged_200Scouting is a volunteer organization. We knew that already. Except for a relatively few paid staff members at the national and local council levels, almost all of the work of Scouting is done by volunteer adults, giving of their own time and resources to make Scouting happen for the youth.

Because of this volunteer nature, the people who actually keep the wheels turning are in a different position and place than in a typical large organization such as a corporate or governmental entity. Much of this involves generous people stepping forward to take on sometimes challenging roles; other times we invite selected individuals to join our movement and carry its aims forward. Continue reading “Why do volunteers falter?”