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This stuff really works! My Aha moment.

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After being my son's leader from TC through Webelos, and crossing over with him into his troop this spring, I have always said I would either be there, or not be there, when he was a Boy Scout based on what would be best for him. Through a canoe trip (his first time in one, very nervous) to summer camp where he didn't pass his Swim Test and was extremely nervous about the overnighter for Wilderness Survival MB, being there was what he needed.


Then a funny thing started to happen over the summer. He started working on his swimming, and not only passed the test but earned his Swimming MB. Then, when we had some business to take care of the same weekend of a scout event, he informed us he would be fine if we wanted to let him go without me. Then at school Open House, I was informed by his science teacher that more than any kid she has, he has emerged as the leader of his work group. Hmmmmm....


Flash forward to this fall, where the WDL from our old pack happens to have Webelos coming out of his ears, and asked if I could offer some help. I threw on some blue loops and acquired a AWDL patch, and brought my son along for the fun of it. Heck, I thought, he could at least lead the Oath and Law to the den.


They were working on the Citizen AB, and it was time for the raising and lowering of the flag. I was starting out the first pair of 10 boys when I needed to get one of the others to stay reasonably still, so I asked my son to try his best to take over while I calmed the crowd. I'm sure you can guess what happened next.


He had them raising the flag, ensuring they took proper care not to let it touch the ground and instructed them on how it isn't a race to see who could get it to the top first. He then made all the calls to properly run the ceremony before calling up the next pair. In other words, without saying anything he told me, "I'm ok Dad, I've got this."


And that was when I saw it. The little boy is leaving, the young man is starting to arrive, and I will be tendering my resignation to the troop. He needs me to NOT be there now.


Besides, I know a WDL who needs a hand. Sometimes you recruit a little too well. :)


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But don't resign from the troop too quickly - they need good leaders too - just give your son room. Maybe take off a few months to let him get used to you not being there. Then go back and help those other boys - perhaps some without a dad at home.

I tell my leaders on campouts two things:

1. We have no parents on campouts - only leaders who are there for all the boys.

2. A casual observer should not be able to determine which boy goes with which parent. Boy Scouting is not a parent-child activity and parents on campouts are not there to be parents. They are there to serve all the boys in the troop.

OK - it's really the same thing in two different ways.

Gets the point across.


And have fun with the Webs too!

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Irsap - Its great that your son is benefiting so much from Scouting, and that he is developing more independence and confidence. But, don't let that be a reason for you to resign as an adult leader from the troop. As a volunteer Scouter, your job is to help support the unit as a whole, not just one Scout. And, just from what you've posted here, it sounds like you have a good grasp on when to provide direct support and coaching for the youth, and when to step back and let them do their own thing - that's a key skill as an adult Scouter. If you're concerned about the dynamic between you and your son at Scouting events, maybe see if the troop needs some "behind the scenes" support that you could fill in the troop committee, rather than as an ASM.


Maybe you have other reasons for wanting to take a step back from the troop, but don't let your Scout's increasing maturity be the deciding factor!

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There's really TWO aha moments here. One when you realize the benefit of dedicated adults helping your son grow and develop and the second one when you realize the benefit of YOU being one of those adults helping a whole bunch of boys grow and develop.


With a whole forum of adults struggling with getting a good program out to the boys, you have the unique insight in your troop to see how beneficial this is to the boys of your community. Don't give up on the boys nor yourself, it's people like you that make the difference for these kids.



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And, if you like working with youth, but want to take a "step away" from your son's grade, consider Merit Badge Counselor. Your proffession and hobbies probably mesh with a couple of MBs the boys would like to or need to earn. You could offer to the SPL to give a hands-on demonstration at a troop meeting, and who knows? He may just take you up on it.


The best part, you can still keep the AWDL patch for as long as you're needed there!

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So now that you have learned what your boy and the other scouts are capable of doing don't just leave.


You have learned the most important part of being a scout leader. That of trusting the boys to be able to get the job done, and while they may not do it our way they will do it.


So I suggest you stick around serve as an ASM and enjoy the ride right along with your son, just stay out of the way and be there to help all the boys when asked.


Scouting was the one thing that me and my youngest boy did and still do together. The closeness and friendship we now enjoy has been a real blessing to us both. We have even had people comment on how they envy us and our closeness. We have done allot of things together and have put in lots of miles traveling to scout functions, in which time we have had lots of discussions about life, politics, scouting, ect. My son is now 19 and believe it or not we get along great and he even asks me for help and advice.


I will forever be thankful for my decision to take the time to do scouting with my boys. My own as well as all the other scouts I have worked with. They will always be my boys.

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Thanks for the kind words. A committee position might be the way to go, or maybe a return as an ASM in the future. I just know there are some Webelos who need me to be there, and a T-foot that needs to branch out just a bit more. I think me not being there for a few months will make a big difference. Then, when maybe I return, the dynamic will be even better.


Because, just between us, not being "Dad" when I needed to be ASM was a lot harder than I thought it would be.

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Congratulations! Your son stepping up to lead when you arent around (the science teachers comment) wa a great step. But Im even more impressed with the flag ceremony. That was him stepping up to lead even when you were there.


Think about that for a minute. He not only has the confidence to lead, he has the confidence to lead in the presence of someone who outranks him (e.g. Dad). Thats fantastic. He didn't just defer to someone more experienced, and he didn't freeze up with you watching. He carried on with the job.


He hasnt shown he needs you NOT to be there. Hes shown he can handle it with you or without you there. Youre free to do what you want!


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