Re: Burning out
Sat, 26 Oct 1996 14:19:01 -0500
Wow!! A subject that I know *very well* about!!! *heheheheeee*
(no coaching from the "cheap seats", Jessica!!)
I've taken your paragraphs and re-arranged them only to make my points
a little better to read....
Mike Sieber wrote earlier:
I have just finished writing a long five-screener to someone else whom wrote
me privately and asked for the same advice. After apologizing to her for
not responding sooner, I then explained the same things that I'm talking with
you about through the list.
Scouting is a lot like being a school teacher: we get so wrapped up in wanting
to do the very best we can do, to provide the best program we can do...and we
still "beat ourselves over the head and shoulders" because "it's not enough".
Sure it is. Your prescense in your Troop, Mike, is enough to tell that young
man that "he's worth the time and effort" that you and others are taking out
of YOUR lives for THEIR sake. Coming here to Scouts-L only solidifies
your intention to not just be content with "just being there"...you want to do
Unfortunately, Mike, our Creators only gave us a short piece of time.
He only gave us 24 hours in a day, even though we try our hardest to eek
out that 25th (and subsequent) hours from it...it doesn't work, and we get
frustrated at the attempt. We only have seven days in a week, even though
some people like me get confused at the "day of the week" (I'm still thinking
today is Friday for some reason...and when you can remember what day of
the month it is....*smiling*). We only have 365 days (one additional one in
a leap year) to do it all in.
So, we do the best we can do...which is what you're doing. There comes
a time when after your best efforts, it's time to "switch gears". That reminds
>I've been a Scoutmaster for 3 years now, I'm 29 years old, married with a 4
>year old daughter. My wife and daughter are extremely understanding in the
>work that I do for my local Troop.
When was the last time you let your family know PHYSICALLY and
PERSONALLY that you appreciate their sacrifices?? That you love and
think they are as Jackie Gleason would say "are the greatest!"? You need to
Mike....take a weekend off from Scouting, spend that time with your family
and wife, and then return back to Scouting renewed with more energy to tackle
on the NEXT major task!
You need...we all need...to do this. As I've just wrote to Sarah, you need to
set aside some time in which you *don't do* any Scouting. For me, its
Thursdays....I don't do Scouting on Thursdays. None. No phone calls.
Nobody at the door. Okay, so I answer a tonload of Scouting email on
Thursdays (and if some of you noticed, I answer a lot of my email on
that day as well....) but its done while I'm sitting around with my wife and
the cat (was cats), watching TV or listening to jazz music, and between
being silly and talking with my wife and catching up and laughing and
oh yeah, cleaning house....and eating Chinese food or pizza (never at
THEN, I can get back to the work at hand, that of being a Scouter. You
need to do the same thing, Mike....
>The problem that I have is, within the Troop we have very little parental
>support, (you may remember me asking for advice on that topic) and very
>little Troop Committee members. All of the members of the Troop Committee
>are doing their *very* best to ensure that I am given the help that I need,
>however, my enthusiasm for meetings and campouts is dwindling fast.
What you need is a reminder of why you are doing this. Look at your
daughter. Look at her face the next time you are feeling "burnt". I look
at a photo of my kids, since I can't see them physically right now. I
remember the first person that helped me to be a better Scouter. I remember
the person that drove 70 miles to be at *my meeting* to give me a hand because
"I used to belong to this Troop and wanted to see how things were going".
I remember the faces of those really great people at Roundtable that have
so much enthusiaum for the program and for what they were doing, that surely
they were faking it....but I knew better.
As I looked into the faces of my children, I then recall what would happen
if I didn't do what I'm doing....if others were not doing what they do....even
those small, tiny efforts. Would I be looking into the face of my child or
someone I don't know? Will this child grow up understanding how important
it is to work together and get things done or will they grow up understanding
that everyone and everything must revolve and be given to them?
There, I find the strength to continue onward and forward.
If you ever doubt your involvement in your youth program, all you need
to do is to find a participant and look at them. Look at the smile. Look at
the confident way that they go about doing their tasks. Look at the way
that when confronted, they don't always shy away, but stand their ground
and almost become combative. Look at the way that they respect each
other, their nation and community.
There, you will find ways to influnce those others to do the same.
Want to know why I continue to try and attend OTHER unit's meetings
even when I'm far away from home?? Just looking at those other Scouts
and Scouters work reminds me of how important my little efforts are as
well...it keeps it all in perspective.
Mike, not a whole lot of people REALLY KNOW what it is we do for
youth in our communities....it's not that they DON'T want to know.
You know. We all know, the participants here on this forum and in
others. We know that the process takes time and involves everything
you have....and we know what happens when we have people to give
up on our youth. Those others in your communities know too.
We read about it every day in our papers: Child dies at hand of other
child. Child runs away from home. Child caught stealing or robbing.
Child is dead from "unknown causes". There's just so much that we
can lay at the feet of their parents and say "they're yours. Take care
of them". Nor can we lay this at the feet of our educators, the ones
we are most like...
We need to work at this from ALL sides....from the parental side,
letting parents KNOW from our own voices and our own actions,
how important and precious their children are. We parents need that
confirmation. From the religious side, our chuches, mosques and
synagouges need to emphasis that it takes more than faith to grow
a child...it takes work, hard work. From the community side, we need
to let our children know that we value their input into our lives. We
value their wanting to make things better for all of us. We value and
will act upon their reasoning, because there is no one person that holds
all of the cards, all of the keys, that knows everything. We rely on
And our children.
>I have not missed a regular Troop meeting in 2 1/2 years and have made
>every one of this years campouts... I feel as if I'm at my ropes end,
>unable to continue, frustrated...
Sarah told me "I feel like everything that I've worked on so hard and long
is for nothing. I don't get anyone hardly to ever say anything positive to
me. (the Service Team Chair) only wants more from my unit and more
from me...and I just can't give it..."
So, miss a campout and see what happens. So tell your Senior Patrol
Leader that "I won't be at the next Troop meeting...I am going to take that
evening and spend it with my family" and see if that same attitude doesn't
spin over to your youth members.
Part of your solution lies in training and coaching others to assist you, so
that your absence, while missed, won't be that "crushing blow" to them...nor
you. Part of your solution lies in looking at what all you are doing in
Scouting and perhaps paring them downward to allow you more "breathing
And part of it lies in looking around and seeing what positives has occurred
since you agreed to serve as Scoutmaster. Look at those faces.
Look at your child's face.
Then, decide on what you need to do to make things confortable for them...
and for you.
Spend a evening with your family. Play some silly board game and watch
the cat try to move the pieces back to "where they belong". Sit on the floor
and eat your favorite foods and watch a TV show or a movie together.
Don't think too much about Scouting...it'll be there in the morning. Have
fun, remind your family of your appreciation in letting you "do Scouts".
We're all proud of you, Mike, and we're all right here when you need us...
Spoken from the mind and hands of a fellow "burnt Scouter", many times over,
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle)
(Brigade) Signal Officer, TF 21, 21st Theater Army Area Command
Kaiserslautern, Federal Republic of Germany
"everything I say is "on the record"; speaking ONLY for myself unless indicated"
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