In my role as a Scout volunteer, I recently had chance to learn a little about techniques to use in a crises situation as part of the Wilderness Survival merit badge. There was something about the STOP model in the training that struck me as valuable for my personal life as well.

The point of the discussion was that often when people get lost there is panic which in turn ends up making the situation worse. There are many examples of people that in crises decided to blaze a way out of danger situations by panicking and running through the woods. These folks soon find themselves in even more despair, lost and alone.

I realize now that I often make this same error as a parent, husband and manager. Like many others, I see a problem and I want to immediately jump to a solution. Men are notorious about solution jumping when our wives bring a problem.

How different might the outcome be however if I simply followed this model instead.

Sit=Find some time alone in a quiet place to…

Think=What really is the issue here? Sometimes the mind can race so quickly with a fight or flight response that we need to consciously slow things down so that we can….

Observe=Many of the problems we face are simply situational and temporary. They could also be indicators of something deeper that needs to be examined.

This might be a good time to break out a pen and paper (yes they do still make these) and write down what you are feeling about problem. Have you felt this way before? What has worked in the past? How have others handled a similar problem? It is highly unlikely that you will experience any issues in life that someone else has not experienced and found a way to overcome.

Plan=Now finally with all of your facts straight and your situation assessed it is time to map out a plan for survival.

Next time you are in crises just STOP and perhaps you will find a better result!

The Crossover

During the month of February thousands of 5th grade boys will experience the crossover. This is a traditional Scouting ceremony where a Webelos Scout crosses from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.

I had the opportunity to see my first crossover of the year on Monday this week. The symbolism of this event is striking and brings me chills each time I witness it. Yes it is nice ceremony full of tradition. It is also and wonderful rite of passage that symbolizes a passing from childhood and elementary school to adolescence and middle school.

During the ceremony, the boys are led dramatically into the room by older Boy Scouts in Native American regalia from the Order of the Arrow. They are bound together with a rope that has loosely been tied to their wrists. Next they are then presented to the “Chief” who is there to determine their worthiness to leave Cub Scouts and join the brotherhood of Boy Scouts. Before long, the ropes are cut as the speaker says they are no longer bound to their past. In the final step of the ceremony, the boys pass one by one over a bridge and are greeted on the other side by Boy Scouts representing the Troop they have chosen to join.

For thousands of years and in cultures around the world, boys (and girls) have participated in symbolic passages into new stages of life. These rites are missing in most of our American culture and as a father I am working consciously to provide “crossover” opportunities for my son.

The Cub Scout crossover a couple of years back, a father son backpacking trip for “the talk” last spring break and next a week long adventure the summer after his eighth grade year. Each in my mind with a clear and planned objective so he will know things have changed. Something is behind him and now something different is ahead of him.

I wonder how different our world would be if more parents were working to be deliberate in raising their boys to be men. I have no idea what the future will hold for my son. I do know at least that words like honor, integrity, passion and respect will never be strangers to him. Nor will they be strangers to those Cub Scouts who in one brief moment joined together and spoke worlds that if truly lived by all would change the would forever. “On my honor…”

I believe in you

“It is amazing what a little belief in a boy can do for him” Jim Oliver

This was a statement in a recent Boy Scout adult leader meeting that was made by one of the participants. Jim is a Scoutmaster and although I had never met him before my guess is that he must be a pretty good one.

Jim gets it. He understands at a deep level the impact those of us that work with youth can have through an action as simple as a belief in the potential of each person. This belief is reflected by how we treat them and how they view us as Adults.

We must talk deeply to understand who they are, how they think, and what they deep down aspire to be.

We must give them the chance to lead and give them the chance to succeed. Along the way don’t soften the standards or bend the rules. In fact, hold steadfast to these knowing the achievement is ever more valuable if it was hard.

We must allow and even celebrate failure. Why? Failures are the great teachable moments in life and it is so much easier to correct and change when the teacher says, “Okay you failed. Now what did you learn and what are you going to do differently next time.” If they learn this now just imagine how much better they will learn to handle the failures that our bound to come in the future.

We must model in every way the kind of person we hope these youth will grow up to be as adults. This includes our own actions, words and attitudes towards other youth, fellow adult volunteers and parents.

Don’t like the kids putting down others? Then stop doing it in front of them. Think some are lazy? Then let them see you out work everyone else. Not happy with negative attitudes? Then throw a smile on even when your day was just a total mess.

Most importantly as Jim points out believe, believe and believe again. You may be the only person this kid will encounter that accepts and believes not just for who he/she is now but also who he/she could be in the future.

Have you ever had someone believe in you when you did not believe in yourself?

Have you personally seen the power of belief change the life of another?