Tuesday, March 12, 2013

About patrols and naming ect.

Part of the genius of humans is the size of our brain vs. our size. However, human babies are far from developed at birth. So, continued nurturing is required of children until their brains have reached maturity with regard to size, neuronal connections and myelination. The Boy Scouts of America program is expertly designed to assist in the maturation and social development of boys and young men.

The importance of forming patrols with unique identifiers like names, cheers, slogans, banners, etc. goes back to Early Childhood developments theory and Eriksen's stages of psychosocial development:

Trust vs Mistrust
Autonomy vs Shame
Industry vs Inferiority
Identity vs Role Confusion
Intimacy vs Isolation
Generativity vs Stagnation
Ego Integrity vs Dispair

Scout-age Kids have a need to belong. Belonging gives them an important sense of identity before they have started their own family and choosen a carreer. Junior High is also a very critical after grade-school when they are thrust out of a home room at school and given 7-8 different classes throughout the day. You can see why its easy for children to sacrifice moral values to find social acceptance. They are just looking to belong and find a sense of identity.

Belonging to a Scout troop can partially satisfy this need to belong for a child. To create a sense of place, and social context, scout groups can come up with names, cheers, yells, traditions, etc.

When it comes to creating identity, the weirder, the better. Feeling unique and distictive while at the same time feeling like you belong is particularly powerful . This is why social groups like punks, goths, skaters, etc can be very inticing to children.

When, I was a Y-group freshman orientation leader at BYU, I would have my group come up with a cheer, and name and also select a unique item that the group could wear to uniquely identify them from the other groups. The item I selected was a whole lime, that the group members then strung, decorated with green tinsel and puffy paint, and wore around their necks as a necklace.

The results of this extra effort, were kids who enthusiastically participated in the orrientation activities, took a prize for being one of the top Y-groups, and just a lot of fun and great memories. I know for a fact that some of the group members dried and kept their limes all year. I wouldn't be surprised if a dried lime was elevated to the honor and status of a rear-view mirror dongle or even a Christmas tree ornament.

Boy Scouts is all about helping boys develop Trust through cooperative play, autonomy, industry, identity, and intimacy, generativity, and ego integrity. My friend Trent F says that many confuse sexuality with intimacy but intimacy in a fraternal sense is also an important developmental need. Boys who share the same experiences and overcome challenges together can relate better to one another and form rewarding bonds of friendship.

Generativity is about being productive, producing results, achieving goals. And Ego integrity is the power to instill with each boy a sense of indelible self-worth and unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime. Boys who recognize their own self worth also recognize the worth of others.

No comments: