Category Archives: Scouts

Scoutmaster Minute – The Loyalty Gap

Those here last week know I’m in a series about what it really means to live up to the Scout Law. This week, we’re on a Scout is loyal. This is possibly the most misunderstood point in the Scout law. For the 7 years that I’ve been Scoutmaster, asking our boys hundreds of times how they live up to the Scout Law, I can’t recall any of them ever giving me an example of how they were loyal.

What does it mean to by loyal, anyway? This is actually a perfect time to ask that question because we have a great example with football season. Even if you’re not a huge fan of a particular pro or college team, you surely have friends that are. And, they provide a great model for what it means to be loyal.

What happens when you just mention their team name? They get excited, right, and they immediately want to talk about their team and how awesome it is.

What happens when you talk smack about their team? They get defensive, right, and they try to explain the issues or just talk smack back.

So, what happens when someone asks you about something you really care about, like your family? Do you get excited and talk about how amazing they are?

What happens when someone talks bad about your friend? Do you stand by him and try to help people understand the issues involved?

If we took all of the excitement and defensiveness that we have for our sports, our video games, television programs, and other fandoms… If we could show that same level of excitement and dedication to our family, friends, church, school and troop, then we might, my friends, just see what it means when we say a Scout is loyal.

Scoutmaster Minute – Perfect Gifts

So, it’s the holiday season, and for those that celebrate Christmas, you’re probably trying to find wonderful gifts for your family and friends. While materials things are nice, the *perfect* gifts might be found in a little list that you are about to say at the end of our meeting.

For your parents, with all of the preparation that needs to be done, being as helpful and obedient as possible would probably be most appreciated.

For your brothers and sisters, while you have a little vacation, taking the time to be kind and cheerful could keep their spirits bright.

For friends and those you don’t know, when things get a little crazy, finding the strength to be friendly and courteous will make the season a little more enjoyable for them as well as everyone else.

Last, for all of your family and friends, when the season appears to be turning into a whirlwind of commercialism, remembering to be reverent and making sure that the real reason for the season is expressed in your holiday activities can be the best gift of all.


Scoutmaster Minute – Understanding Parents – Why

So, tonight we wrap up our Scoutmaster Minutes that help us relate to our parents. Tonight we ask, “Why is that important? Why do I care?” We can approach this from at least a couple angles…

First, for those who believe in the Bible, the Fifth Commandment says “Honor your mother and father.” It’s a lot easier to honor them if you understand why the say and do the things they do.

Second, for most people, your parents are the most consistent significant people in your life, at least until you get married. Friends may come and go. Siblings may even go off on their own. However, your parents will always be there for you, so it’s in your best interest to develop the best relationship possible with them.

I hope the last several Scoutmaster Minutes have helped you to better understand your parents and other adults, and I hope can now see the value in doing so.

Scoutmaster Minute – Veterans Day – Stories

So, yesterday was Veterans Day, where we honor those who have served in our military.  So, if all of our veterans could please join me up here, then I would like to do something this year.  I have asked each of them to talk for a minute about his or her experience in the military.  It could be why he joined the military and how it positively changed his life.  Or, it could be an interesting story from when she was in the military.  Please give them your attention.

[Note: I obviously talk with each veteran at the beginning of the meeting, to give them time to think about what he or she would like to say.]

Scoutmaster Minute – Understanding Parents – Not Appreciating

So, we continue with Scoutmaster Minutes that help you understand why parents and other adults act the way they do. Tonight we ask, “Why do my parents not appreciate what I do for them?”

Well, we’ve actually discussed this before. The main thing to remember is that different people appreciate different things. Some parents might appreciate you asking them to hang out together. Some might like it if you take time to make them something. Some might appreciate you helping out a little extra around the house. Some might really like a great big hug. And, others might just want to hear you say that you appreciate what they are doing for you.

To tell the truth, most parents will appreciate all of these things to some degree. However, they will likely just barely notice some and really appreciate others, depending on what matters to them. So, if you guys are up for a little challenge, they I ask you to try all of these things out and see if you can figure out what your parents appreciate most.

Scoutmaster Minute – Understanding Parents – Take Forever

So, we continue with Scoutmaster Minutes that help you understand why parents and other adults act the way they do. Tonight we ask, “Why do parents take forever to do everything?” As usual, there are a couple reasons parents often take a little longer to do things.

First, time actually feels shorter to us. Stay with me, as this takes a bit of thinking. People feel time compared to how long they have been alive. For most of you, one year is only about one tenth of your life, or a little less. For most of your parents, one year is more like one fortieth of their lives. So, relatively speaking, one year goes by four times faster for us than you, compared to the rest of our lives. To put it another way, one hour for you only feels like 15 minutes to us, and one hour for us might feel like four hours to you.

Second, and more importantly, we grew up in a different world where we had to wait for hours and days to get what you guys get in seconds. If we wanted to find information, then we had to ask our parents to drive us to a library and find a book. Computers were new and primitive, and nobody had the Internet, yet. If we wanted to chat with a friend, then we had to go home, call him on the phone, and hope that he was home and not already on the phone. Call waiting and answering machines were new, and nobody had cell phones, yet.

So, the next time you wonder why Mom and Dad are taking so long, just remember, it only seems like a fraction of the time to them, and they grew up in a time that required patience rather than today’s world of instant gratification. And, to be honest, as you get older, sometimes you just move a little slower, and you learn to take a little time to stop and smell the roses.

Scoutmaster Minute – Understanding Parents – Nosy

So, we continue with Scoutmaster Minutes that help you understand why parents and other adults act the way they do. Tonight we ask, “Why are parents so nosy?”

Do your parents ask you lots of questions? Do they go through your room or check your cell phone? If so, then why? Quite simply, it’s their job, and they care.

Maybe nobody told you this, yet, but until you turn 18, your parents are responsible for you. You might find this annoying or unfair, but it will make more sense when you get older. And, because your parents are responsible for everything you have and everything you do, they deserve to know as much about all of it as possible. They need to know where you’re going to ensure they think it’s ok. If they feel the need to look through your room, well it’s really their house – you’re probably not paying for that room. And, if they are concerned about what you’re doing on your cell phone, even if you did pay for it, then they have the right to check it and even take it away. While you are a minor, you have no right to privacy in these matters because your parents are responsible and have a right to know what you are doing.

Above doing their job, most parents really ask questions and check on you simply because they care about you. While you’re busy building relationships with friends, they probably still love you and your family more than anyone else on the planet. They are interested in what you are doing, and they want to have a good feeling that you’re on the right track.

So, the next time your parents ask how you’re doing or check on your things, maybe give them a break and at least tell them enough to let them know you’re doing alright.  Ultimately, if you follow the Scout Law, especially being trustworthy and obedient, then you’ll probably find your parents ease up a bit, and you might even enjoy talking with them.

Scoutmaster Minute – Understanding Parents – Plan Everything

So, we continue with Scoutmaster Minutes that help you understand why parents and other adults act the way they do. Tonight we ask, “Why do parents plan everything?”

It seems like your parents have your whole life planned out, when you’ll see your grandparents, what you’ll do this weekend. If you want to do anything, then they expect you to plan, too. On the spur of the moment, a friend asks you to get together, and it sounds great to you, but your parents hesitate because it wasn’t part of “the plan”. Of course, all parents are different. Some are more organized and others spontaneous. However, in general, most parents like to plan things out. Why? There are at least two reasons!

First, brain development makes us want to plan! The frontal lobe develops around 25 years old and specializes in planning. So, literally, when you are much younger than 25, your mind doesn’t like to plan, and when your much older than 25, your brain tells you that it’s a really, really good idea to plan.

Second, responsibilities mean that we need to plan! Between our work and your school and other activities, we have a lot of things that we need to do on time and do right. If we don’t plan, then we might drop the ball. We plan things out to get the most done with the least amount of stress.

So, if you find yourself in a situation where your parents would like you to plan things out a little more, at least you’ll know why. And, by the way, it’s not just your parents. If you ever happen to become SPL, you’ll discover that your Scoutmaster expects you to plan every meeting, preferably well ahead of time.

Scoutmaster Minute – Understanding Parents – Rules

So, we continue with Scoutmaster Minutes that help you understand why parents and other adults act the way they do. Tonight we ask, “Why do parents have so many rules?” Of course, the most obvious answer is because they don’t like you, so they want you to be miserable. However, that’s not usually the case.

In fact, it’s just the opposite. Parents have rules because they want you to be safe and happy. To help you understand this, I want you to pretend that you have a new pet puppy, and you take it somewhere to play. The first time you let the puppy off the leash, you’re going to watch it closely, make sure it doesn’t go too far, and make sure it does what you tell it to do, like come back when you call it. If it does all of those things, then next time you’ll trust it to go farther and do more things. But, if it doesn’t, then you’ll watch it even more closely and work harder at getting it to learn to listen to you so that it won’t go get hit by a car or get lost and starve.

Well, for your parents, you’re their puppy, only ten times more precious. So, they watch you and set healthy boundaries to keep you safe. Sometimes they will make sense, and sometimes they won’t. So, what can you do if they don’t make sense?  First, talk nicely with your parents about why you think they could loosen the rules a bit. You might get them to change their mind or you might not.  Second, and more importantly, just like the puppy, SHOW them that they can loosen the rules a bit by following the rules and building up their trust in you.

Scoutmaster Minute – Understanding Parents – Set In Ways

So, my next several Scoutmaster Minutes will help you understand why parents and other adults act the way they do.  Tonight we ask, “Why are parents so set in their ways?” You think you have a brilliant idea, but your parents insist on doing things the way they always have.  There are at least 2 reasons for this.

First, the human brain actually goes through some development phases. You are all still in the sampling and testing phases. So, you are open to all kinds of wild and crazy ideas – anything goes. However, once you reach about 20 years old, you start going through a concluding phase, where you kind of solidify the basic ideas you will keep for most of your life. Since most of us parents are well past 20, that goes for us.

Second, your parents have more experience than you. What seems new and exciting to you is often similar to something we already tried and found not to work well. In general, we have learned, if it’s not broken then don’t fix it. So, unless you can show us that your brilliant idea will make a big difference, we won’t be inclined to see the point in changing.

So, what do you do about this? Well, first keep in mind that newer is not always better. So, if you have a new idea where you need your parents’ help or permission, then really look into it and round up the details. If you still think it’s worthwhile, then respectfully show them what you have done. If you’re really on to something, then, who knows, you may just teach an old dog new tricks.