Monday, October 8, 2012

Taking Liberties with the Bard

Does being an Englishman allow me to take some liberties with a Shakespeare quote? Well, I'm going to do it anyway!

The bard said "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." I think this idea is helpful as we consider how to most effectively mentor scouts in leadership roles.

Here's how I apply it...

Think of yourself (the adult advisor) as the director of an amateur stage play. The director has a perspective of the entire production. The director's main task is to prepare the actors to play their roles in the best way they can. He may counsel, suggest, explain, and advise, but it's the actor who actually plays the role. Once the curtains open, the time for directing is over, and the actor takes control of the performance.

So, with the Scoutmaster or other adult advisor as the director, the youth leader becomes the actor. The overall performance is down to him. The style and detail of the delivery is down to the young man's personal preference, experience, and level of preparation.

One reason I like this analogy is that all of the directing happens behind the scenes. The director has input before and after performances, but not during. If the actor forgets his line, the director doesn't jump on the stage and take over the acting. Nor should the Scoutmaster step in and take over from a youth leader if things aren't going as planned.

Being the director can be a frustrating experience, especially when your careful direction goes by the board, and the acting is less than perfect! But in the end, experience is the best teacher, and letting youth leaders work through challenges is always more effective than stepping in and taking over.

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