I recently attended the BSA's Trainer's EDGE course. The whole course was very good, but the part that left the biggest impression on me was the very end. They presented ways to apply the Scout Law to being a trainer. Having never been a Boy Scout or a Boy Scout leader, I had never thought much about the Scout Law before. But really, the Scout Law is where we get the Ideals of the program, and I understand now how it is at the core of Scouting, and it applies to all Scouters, no matter what level of the program we are at.
A Scout trainer is helpful. A Scout trainer is friendly.
These were reminders that a trainer is not there for himself. He is there to serve the people he is training. He needs to consider their needs and how he can best help them. This idea applies whether you work with youth or adults. I have been pondering ever since the training ways that I, in my capacity as pack trainer, can better help leaders of our multi-pack fulfill their callings.
The fourth lesson in Teaching: No Greater Call is about “Seeking the Gift of Charity.” I think sometimes it is easy, no matter what capacity we serve in, to lose sight of this aspect. The lesson reminds us, “If you have Christ-like love, you will be better prepared to teach the gospel.”
The first step is to pray to be filled with love. I think for some of us, this step is a hard one – to have a desire and pray to love, truly love as Christ does, those boys (or adults) under our stewardship. “You may not feel the pure love of Christ immediately or all at once in answer to your prayers. But as you live righteously and continue to pray sincerely and humbly for this blessing, you will receive it.”
The next step is service: “When we set aside our own interests for the good of another in the pattern set by the Savior, we become more receptive to the Spirit.” For me, this makes a big difference. When I shift my focus from, “Why aren't they doing what I want?” to, “How can I better serve them?” and remind myself of the purposes we are trying to accomplish, I find I accomplish a lot more.
The final step is to look for the good in others. “As you discover the good qualities in others, you will grow in your understanding of them as children of God.” No matter who we are trying to teach, this is a vital part. It is also a vital part of our own growth as we try to become more like our Father in Heaven.
Strive to use these steps with your boys, the leaders you serve with, and your own children, and I know you will meet with success.
A Scout trainer is Trustworthy. A Scout trainer is Loyal.
These were reminders that we are representing the BSA and we should not deviate from the policies and guidelines they have given us. As a trainer, it is my duty to present the material I have been given and to teach the guidelines outlined by the BSA.
As LDS Scouters, we have two obligations. We not only represent the BSA, “In all our teachings, we represent the Lord and are appointed to teach His gospel.” (Bruce R. McConkie) Baden-Powell himself said, “I have clearly stated that our objective in the Scout movement is to give such help as we can in bringing about God's Kingdom on earth.”
I realized recently that we often overlook the fourth of Elder Featherstone's Four T's: Testimony. Even in Scouting we should act as those who have taken on themselves the name of Christ. After all, Cub Scout leaders are training future priesthood holders. Boy Scout leaders are training future missionaries and priesthood leaders.
“Your commission, your authorization, the thing you have been ordained to do is teach my gospel, not any private views, not the philosophies of the world, but my everlasting gospel, and to do it by the power of my Spirit, all in harmony with the commandment I have heretofore given: 'If ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.'” (Teaching: No Greater Call, Chapter 3: The Teacher's Divine Commission)
Nephi told us that he “did like all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.” As his family wandered in the wilderness and he put up with the constant murmuring, I imagine Nephi found great comfort in the stories of Moses' time in the wilderness dealing with the murmurings of the Israelites. I have a feeling there are Scout leaders who can also relate to stories of wilderness wanderings and murmurings.
I really like this post at Adventures and Accidents that is all about how and why we should be working on our own testimonies to benefit the boys.
I am going to tack one more onto the end here: A Scout trainer is Thrifty.
It was pointed out to us that “thrifty” can apply to time as well as money. Miriam-Webster defines thrifty as, "given to or marked by economy and good management." Those under our care are giving us their valuable time, and we need to make the most of that. We should always be asking ourselves, “What is the best way I can make use of the hour or two I have been given this week?” And teach the boys to ask themselves the same question. Being thrifty with time is something most of them don't fully grasp yet and will need to be trained in, but if you believe it and live it, they will be more likely to as well.