Monday, May 11, 2015

A long night. Scout leaders vs Scout mentors vs Scout parents

A few nights ago was a long night. 1 AM to be exact. I haven't been up that late in years when I have not had nothing specific to do. I hope this all makes sense. I am still dragging.

I spent the night mostly rereading some Scout stuff written by LDS Church members. My thoughts have been on Scouting for about 10 days since the day I received my 3rd Eagle Mentor pin from one of my Scouts. A huge honor for me. I wonder exactly why I received it because I am not so sure what exactly I did to get it. There isn't a set of requirements--the Eagle Scout gets to decide who gets it and why they get it. My goal isn't to earn these pins (nor will it ever be) but to create a relationship with a Scout to where they will listen to me and hopefully take counsel and advice from me. And hopefully my advice is good.  I served as a Varsity Coach for 6 years leading and trying to help the Scouts lead themselves. I think I have come to the conclusion that my time as a Scout leader might not have been the best use of my time in Scouting. So with that conclusion and the belief that being a Scout leader and a Scout mentor are totally different things, I wish I had learned to be a Scout mentor earlier. From an LDS article called Tenderfeet-Eagles-Missionaries from the 1978 New Era:

He handed me a letter that he had received from William Jones, a deacons adviser who had served during the time the boys were in Scouting. The special ingredient is described therein. The letter reads:
“Dear Brother Craig:
“As I prepare to leave Utah, I feel it appropriate to express my feelings and impressions of Troop 194, both as a deacons quorum adviser and as a worker on the troop committee.
“You know of my deep respect for you as a man, but I need to expand this to include your unique role as Scoutmaster. The activities have often taxed your time to the limit, but time was still found to meet the sincere needs of both Scouts and parents, even a ‘confused committeeman’ on occasion. Many felt that after your son became an Eagle Scout your enthusiasm would die. On the contrary, each boy in Troop 194 has, in turn, become a son to you and achieved the Eagle rank. I know personally of the great love each boy has for you.
“As a deacons adviser I owe you much for assisting me in making the priesthood such an integral part of each boy’s life. In no other place is cooperation more important, and I personally feel that in no other area is it more present than in our ward. Because you were with us on Sundays and you allowed me to play an active role in Mutual and on campouts, every boy became our concern and gave the program a true completeness.
“I was privileged to work with a choice group of men, but my greatest joy came from the obvious source—the individual boy. I shall never forget my first outing with the boys to Silver Lake. I was critical and tried to oversee 20 active Scouts. I failed, of course, but by the second go-round things began to focus and I watched the patrol leaders function. I saw characteristics in boys then that will someday make them fine men and our future leaders. Clean speech, honesty, and other principles that were taught in priesthood lessons came alive as I watched our boys.
“Troop 194 has no perfect boy. We have had and will continue to have loud, fidgety, curious, active creatures called boys to love, appreciate, train, and say good-bye to as they head into future challenges, better prepared for having been a boy in our ward.”

I have spend the past 4 weeks meeting with a Life Scout about his Eagle Project, talking to another about his project, trying to get another Scout who has his project complete but not his last two merit badges to complete them, meeting with a parent and a Scout on where they are at/how we can get them to where they need to be and just trying to be that "non-parent" voice to some Scouts reminding them that they are so close. Sometimes Scouts are more willing to listen to advice from someone who isn't a parent.  BUT PARENTS ARE ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS THE KEY TO A SCOUTS SUCCESS!!!  No Scout leader can replace a good or bad parent when it comes to Scouting (I know personally in my family). I have encouraged parents to be a squeaky wheel to their son's Scout leaders because Scout leaders sometimes don't know what the Scout (or parents) need to be successful. Don't fool yourself if you are a Scout parent and you don't know the program -- it is more important to know your Scout! You get a Scout pin no matter what because of how important you are to the success of the Scout. Everyone else doesn't get a pin on purpose.

It is only through good Scout Mentors and better parents who see the purpose of the Scouting program to make their sons better men will we get those better men!!  I heard an interesting quote at an Eagle Board of Review this week from one of my past Bishop who I love: "Mom Eagles make Mom missionaries. They can't learn to do hard things on their missions." Amen. AMEN!

So parents don't be scared to ask 5,000 questions. I have answered phone calls from one mom in the area 8 times a day when she called but I would rather answer their questions than them do something that they don't know if it is right.

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