So, most of you started going back to school yesterday or today. You’re probably thinking and feeling lots of different things. You might dread all of the work that will come or be intrigued by the challenge. You might be afraid of how well you will fit in or be excited about meeting old and new friends.
Beyond all of this, I would like you to see this as an opportunity. I’m not talking about an opportunity to learn, as that’s obvious. I’m talking about another opportunity to show you are a Scout. Now, I don’t necessarily mean wear your uniform to school, as that might get some interesting looks. I mean show you are a Scout through your actions. Be prepared. Take the time to do your homework and bring everything you need for your classes. Live up to the Scout Oath and Law. Do your best on every assignment and test. Be trustworthy and loyal, don’t cheat – that goes for both your schoolwork and your friends. Take the time to be helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, and cheerful, especially to those that everyone else teases or ignores. Think about how you would want to be treated if you were one of those people. Be obedient to your teachers. They put up with a lot for very little, so the least they deserve is your respect. Be thrifty with your time. You’ll have a lot to do, so don’t put it off, just get it done. Lastly, when your peers are cussing, misbehaving, or otherwise trying to lead you away from God’s path, then that’s the time to be brave, clean, and reverent. Don’t follow, but rather lead and set the example.
While camping, Boy Scouts learn and practice ‘Leave No Trace’. We try to have as little impact on our physical surrounding as possible so others can enjoy them in the future. However, as hard as we try, we still leave a trace, even if it’s just some matted down grass or a broken twig.
So it also is with all of our surroundings in the rest of life. Everywhere you go, everyone you meet, and everything you do leaves a trace. The question becomes what kind and how big of a trace will you leave? If you are mean to someone then that leaves an ugly trace that could take years to heal. If you lift a group’s spirits with a song then that can leave a beautiful trace that makes everyone’s day or even week.
You may interact with a stranger for only a couple seconds or with your friends for a couple hours, but no matter what, you leave a trace. It’s up to you whether that trace that makes the world a worse or better place. You may not think a simple ‘Hello’, ‘Thank You’ or even a friendly smile really makes any difference – but it does!
So, now the question comes to you. What kind of trace in life will you leave?
To reach the rank of Eagle, everyone knows that a Scout naturally becomes and demonstrates that he is a good leader. However, many people don’t realize that he also needs to be a good follower.
A Scout can only get this far if he has a dream to become an Eagle Scout and he learns to follow his dreams.
A Scout can only know what it means to be an Eagle Scout by seeing other Eagle Scouts and watching them so he can follow their example.
A Scout’s family is so important, and he can most easily stay on the right path by listening to his parents and learning to follow their advice.
Last but not least, in doing his duty to God, a Scout learns to discover and follow the Lord’s plan for his life.
If you’re lucky enough to find someone who follows his dreams, follows his fellow Scouts’ example, follows his parents’ advice, and follows God’s plan for his life, then you just may have found someone that you want to follow, a truly great leader.
We’ve talked a lot about leadership lately, and we just had 4 Scouts go through NYLT. So, I’m wrapping up the series by discussing 6 steps to effective leadership:
- Remember to provide Vision with Purpose, Direction, and Motivation. Being able to communicate and get people excited about your vision is key to achieving success.
- Find Resources. Effective leaders know they cannot do it alone. They understand that there are people and things around them that will help them on the way.
- Determine the readiness level. Understand where your people are coming from and what skill sets they have to perform the task. Help them acquire any skills they need but don’t have.
- Assign Responsibilities. DELEGATE, but remember you are the leader. You can delegate responsibilities, but you cannot delegate accountability. So, check, and double check.
- Guide people to perform the Task. Give guidance and direction and be a good coach. Hands on is good too, but when you give someone a task, let them shine and do it.
- Check and Report. Use the Start, Stop, and Continue model. Discuss what went well and what went poor. Learning is what makes us all better.
Please note that this is based on another Scoutmaster minute here: