Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lead by Example

So, my son recently moved from the 11YO patrol to the “big Scouts” and became the patrol leader to boot. We’re getting ready for the Spring Camporee this weekend, and were heading to the Troop meeting (Since we have only one 11YO now, he’s ‘adopted in’ to one of the big troop patrols for this one). I told B to get ready, get his uniform, etc. and he said that no one wears their uniform, and he didn’t want to be the odd man out.

This provided an opportunity to discuss leadership with him – how leaders often have to take an unpopular position, because it’s the right one. (It's the reason I bought Scout pants - to show a proper example, and ya know what? They've kind of grown on me.) He seemed to understand, and apart from the 11YO patrol, was the only one in uniform last night. The discussion turned to proper attire for various aspects of life: Don’t you wear a ‘uniform’ in your Sunday duties? Why? Your Scout uniform is a lot like that. It helps you look the part, sets you apart from the crowd, makes you think differently of yourself. Others think differently of you as well. (It's harder not to lecture to your own son than it is to a group of boys, but I think I did OK.)

He and I discussed solutions, including a troop t-shirt for regular meetings and camps, that he could take to the SPL and the Scoutmaster. It became a hot topic of discussion at that very Troop meeting, as everyone shouted out ideas for a shirt to identify their Troop and patrols. Success!

The uniform is one of eight methods of Scouting, just like checking requirement boxes, er, advancement. There are implications to it way beyond wearing a goofy-looking shirt.

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