Think for a moment how Scouts grow, about the way a Scout-aged-boy’s mind develops –
- He is becoming increasingly able to think abstractly. He may be sharply self-conscious thinking that he is constantly being watched and judged by others; believing no one can relate to his personal experiences.
- He is beginning to think systematically about morality, friendship, faith, democracy, fairness, and honesty.
- He is beginning to understand how the thoughts or actions of one person can influence others.
- He is more likely to question and less likely to accept facts as absolute truths. He understands the difference between rules of common sense—not touching a hot stove—and those that are based on relative standards.
- His capacity for insight and judgment developed through experience increases.
- He does assess risk but tends to give more weight to potential rewards than to potential negative consequences.
- One of his most important aspirations is winning the approval of peers and social acceptance.
- He is better able to think about the future and to consider multiple possibilities at once.
- He may make abrupt changes as he chooses or rejects different qualities and behaviors before committing to them.
- He is concerned with establishing and asserting his independence and defining his relation to authority.
- He is experiencing rapid changes in his role within his family and challenging his parent’s authority.
Is he cognizant of these things? Not really – he ‘s just right there in the moment likely looking for the next meal or snack or place to nap.
Scouting does not attempt to control or eliminate these developmental stages it offers young men resources to work their way through them in a positive manner.
I think we become happier, more effective and more useful as adult volunteers when we stop trying to control and shape our Scouts and begin cooperating with the incredibly powerful developmental forces at work in their lives.