Re: A Permanent Decision
Fri, 7 Nov 1997 08:55:42 -0500
I expected more comment on Devin's post. Perhaps everyone is emailing
privately. Well, I'll stick my neck out and comment publicly. One man's
Approach, as well as reaction, depends strongly on the age of the scout. I have
had experience with older scouts; my experience will probably not apply to
younger ones, but they might.
First off, try for quiet, one-on-one talks [but always within Youth Protection
guidelines! that means within line of sight while out of earshot]. Sitting on
a rock eating lunch on a hike, or just walking casually side by side during the
non-strenuous part of a hike, or any other of a dozen similar opportunities [but
you'll need to be alert, because the right moment passes quickly]. Try for a
period of silence, to indicate a serious matter is in the wind. Then try an
opening line that asks for help for you, instead of volunteering help for them.
Like, "I've struggled and struggled about what I might have done differently.
Do you see anything I might have said or done that might have made a
With luck, you will draw the scout out, first talking about you, and before
long, talking about himself, and sharing his worries. Try real hard to listen.
Try even harder to talk less, and listen more. Not every statement needs a
response. Sometimes just letting the statement hang in the air will lead to
Well, I won't go into the full scenario. The method I have found useful
[and it will work differently for different personalities] it to ask for help
for yourself. Then listen And hope it will lead to discussion. If it doesn't
this time, it may next time. You need to make it clear that you are here to
listen; not to prod, not to advise, not to push; just listen.
I feel that scouts, particularly older scouts, do not have much occassion to
talk to an adult in an unstructured setting. They usually are getting
instruction, or a scolding, or directives, or whatever. They almost never get
to just talk.
I found out accidentally that I was a good listener, and have volunteered
for the last ten years to lead a high adventure Provo crew for our Council high
adventure program. I, and we, have had a grand time every year. And all I do
is listen. [I'm too old to compete physically, and they usually drag me along.]
So, my advice: listen. The art is to get them to talk in the first place.
They'll do that if they know it can go out and not come back as directives,
scoldings, advice, etc.
Manuel Pablo, ASM T-1518, Springfield, VA
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City