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As scoutmasters and leaders of youth, we have the opportunity to share many exciting experiences with our scouts. From a hike in the woods to a swim at the local pool, we can enjoy the challenge of teaching them things like nature skills, first aid, lifesaving and personal development. But just as important, we have a responsibility to teach them character, help them develop standards and build values in their lives.
The scouting values are summed up in the scout oath and law. Every boy should be "on [his] honor to do [his] best to do [his] duty to God and [his] country, and to obey the scout law." Specifically, we need to teach these scouts to build their character, strengthen their values and standards, display courage and stand for the right, believe in God, love their country, be kind and fair, and serve others.
The best way to teach any kind of a lesson is with a story. It doesn't matter how young or old we are, we like to listen to the experiences of others. I'm often surprised at the many times I start to tell a story to a group of restless boys, only to see them quiet down and give me their complete attention.
Good stories aren't hard to find-they are all around us. They regularly appear in the news and in sports, but we can also find them in history and in the lives of famous men and women. Also, many valuable stories can be drawn from our own personal experiences and the world around the boys. Even though a story may be the best way to teach a lesson, sometimes the opportunity presents itself for a thought-provoking question, a quote, or a poem.
Boys love to be taught about the world around them, and they know it is important. They care about what's going on in the world. Scouts also like to know that others care about them, and who they are becoming. By taking a minute or two at the end of a meeting or around a campfire to share your values and ideals, you show the young men that you, as their scoutmaster, care about them.