A dog in the manger guards the manger (where hay is put for animals to eat) not because he wanted to eat the hay but to prevent the other animals from doing so.
In the context of Scouting I think of a few instances that illustrate the point;
- Volunteers who get so stuck in one way of doing things they refuse to let anyone else help them, let alone share their responsibilities. “Its easier for me to do this than to explain it to someone else.”
- Adults who take away a Scout’s responsibilities because they think adults can do it better. ” If we left this up to the boys it would never get done.”
- Volunteers who have served so long in the same position that they have denied others the opportunity to have the experience.
- Volunteers who gobble up opportunities and wear ten different hats.
The ‘hay’ of Scouting is experience – once we’ve enjoyed the experience of learning and challenging one set of responsibilities we need to get out of the way and let others enjoy the same experience. If we ‘guard the manger’ by refusing to move on we’ve denied the experience to others.