Sunday, August 28, 2011
I have to tell myself that the Lord knew where I was at when he called me. He knew what was going to happen when he called me as a very, very young adult to teach a class full of rowdy eight-year-old boys. He probably would not have called me if it was going to ruin them for life. Very likely He did it so that I could learn and grow a little from the experience (and hopefully those poor boys had an outstanding leader or teacher at some other point who could influence their lives for good).
I am learning and growing all the time, seeing things that I could have done better even just last year. We all have to start somewhere, though.
What I can do is keep learning and growing to best take advantage of future opportunities. My husband recently pointed out that with three boys we will guaranteed be involved in Cub Scouts at some level for at least the next eleven years. There will be many opportunities (which makes me grateful that I did start learning as a young adult and grateful to those who were a patient example and help - especially a certain committee chair who pushed me to get my training).
No matter where you are at, this comes down to the same answers we always give: study (get trained!), pray and listen to the Spirit for guidance. Do the best you can and try to be prepared (hmm, those sound familiar too).
Bishops, this is a good reason to allow your leaders tenure. Charles Dahlquist said, "Unless the Spirit shouts, I have found it a good rule of thumb to leave Young Men leaders in their calling for a sufficient length of time to be trained, to apply what they have learned, and to make a difference in the lives of young men and in the generations unnumbered that follow." The new Handbook says, "When possible, leaders should be allowed to serve in Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting callings long enough to become fully trained, establish strong activity programs, and effectively touch the lives of boys and men."
Sunday, August 21, 2011
One of the things that is emphasized a lot more in the new Handbook is that Faith in God should be a part of your Cub Scout program. This is something I have wondered about as both a den leader and a primary teacher – whose job exactly is it to do Faith in God with the boys? Well, number one should be the parents, of course, just like with the Cub Scout requirements. But prepared leaders and teachers can find ways to work Faith in God into what they are already doing. I am trying to get better at this, and I wanted to share some of the ideas I have had.
I am still getting to know the new Cub Scout program (err.... delivery method) with using Character Connections as the themes. I think these make it easier than ever to work Faith in God into meetings. I have just started putting together a resource book with our Ward's Wolf Den Leader with ideas organized by theme. I went through the Faith in God for Boys book and matched many of the suggestions up to the themes:
Health and Fitness:
Learning and Living the Gospel: Read D&C 89. Discuss how Heavenly Father blesses us when we faithfully live the Word of Wisdom. Help plan and conduct an activity to teach the Word of Wisdom to others.
Serving Others: Plan, prepare and serve a nutritious meal.
Developing Talents: Plan a physical fitness program for yourself that may include learning to play a sport or game. Participate in the program for one month.
Developing Talents: Learn about and practice good nutrition, good health, and good grooming, including modest dress.
Serving Others: Read the twelfth article of faith. Discuss what it means to be a good citizen and how your actions can affect others.
Memorize Twelfth Article of Faith.
Serving Others: Write a letter to a teacher, your parents, or your grandparents telling them what you appreciate and respect about them. (one of the requirements for square knot)
Serving Others: Make a list of qualities you like in a person. Choose one quality to develop in yourself. Discuss how showing respect and kindness strengthens you, your family, and others.
Memorize Eleventh Article of Faith.
Learning and Living the Gospel: Learn to sing “Choose the Right” (Hymn 239). Explain what agency is and what it means to be responsible for your choices. Discuss how making good choices has helped you develop greater faith.
Serving Others: Entertain young children with songs or games you have learned or made yourself. Show that you know how to care for and protect a young child.
Memorize Second Article of Faith
Memorize Thirteenth Article of Faith.
For Faith and Compassion there are entire sections of possibilities, so I will not list them all, but I will share one more idea my den leader friend used. She made half-sized versions of the Joseph Smith's First Vision flannel board characters from here. She gave a set to each of her Wolves to help them teach about the First Vision in Family Home Evening (another square knot requirement).
The Church has also put out a list of where Faith in God suggestions overlap with Cub Scout requirements.
How about working the Articles of Faith into your den and pack meetings? Here is a post on another blog about activities ideas I am using as a Primary teacher to help the boys with their Articles of Faith. Many of them could be used in den meetings. Here a couple more ideas that could be used in pack meetings:
As a gathering activity you could break several Articles of Faith into short phrases, each on a separate card. Give these cards to people as they arrive. They have to find the other people who will complete their Article of Faith.
For an activity you could have 1-3 words (depending on which Article of Faith you choose and how much participation you expect to get) from an Article of Faith written on cards. Hand these out and have the people line up in order without talking. Then have them read the cards in order to see how they did. If you have especially large pack meetings you could have two or three teams, each with a different Article of Faith (use a different color of cards for each one to keep them straight).
Sunday, August 14, 2011
As leaders, teachers and parents, we try to help those under our stewardship succeed in any way we can. In the end, though, our charges have their agency, and we cannot force them to succeed. Nor should we. As the author of the article puts it, "At some point this boy must become responsible for his Scouting career."
One thing we have tried to emphasize recently with the boys we teach in Primary is that Satan's plan would not have allowed us to learn and grow. We need to learn and grow if we are ever to become like our Father in Heaven. Part of that process (a large part) is making mistakes.
It is the same with Scouting. Rank advancements and awards are not the purpose of Scouting any more than "getting through" is the purpose of earth life. Advancement is one of the methods of Scouting, a means to an end, not the end itself. (Here's a great blog post about that by another LDS scout blogger.)
Scouting is about creating leaders. The boys start as Wolves with a very defined path, but even then there are some choices they make themselves, the biggest choice being to do the work given to them. As the program progresses, they are given more and more freedom in their path. By the end, each boy should be directing his own path. A Scout who has had his hand held every step of the way, has been pushed through the program, or has had requirements signed off that he did not fully complete, just for the sake of getting through, has been short-changed. A very small percentage of Scouts become Eagle Scouts. That is why it means so much.
This may be one of the most difficult parts of being a leader. I cannot imagine the pain our Heavenly Father must feel watching His children make poor choices, and knowing that only a few will make it back to Him. Why did He let us come here, knowing so few would make it back? Because it is the only way we could ever become what we were meant to be.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
I have been coming across other great blogs by LDS Scouters, and I have decided to add a blogroll to the sidebar. I have added a few of you already, but my future scouts are demanding my attention, so help me out, if you would. If you have a blog you'd like added, let me know. I am looking for blogs that focus on Scouting (or at least, like American Jane, are about Church programs and one of the focuses is Scouting). It would be nice, too, if you provided a link back to us somewhere on your blog.