Confidence and Courage for our children

>>  Sunday, June 24, 2012

I think I am using the word children loosely here as I am talking about Young Adult Leaders, perhaps 16+. But I also think that whilst they are mature (mostly), responsible (mainly) and fantastic (always) people they aren't fully mature adults. They are still growing, finding out who they are, forming their paths in life.

I know life is a permanent road of self development but this age group should still be recognised as a time in life where good support and opportunity will shape the people they become.

At 18 they count towards the all important  headcount (child to adult ratios) but they are still learning.  Even though they are often qualified, experience still needs to be gained.  Sometimes they need to be reminded of the 'safety assessment' that comes automatically to most mothers who have become skilled in the 'mind your head, there's a sharp thing, hot thing, pointy thing' from first baby age.  But mostly they impress me and don't. "stand back from the yellow line" comes the sensible chirp of the 18 year old and it sounds so much sweeter than the 40 year old's "stand back" bark.   The younger girls relate better to the younger leaders, and that increases their enjoyment.

Our Young Leaders and Guides ring fencing the brownies,
 and then the  Adult Leaders ring fencing them! 
So would the two 18 year olds be capable of taking 7 year olds to London alone?  Oh, they'd have all survived it but it would have been stressful for them.  And in the same way I would not want to go without a few younger leaders who take the physical strain off the older ones as their legs can do so many more toilet trips!
But we place great trust in our Young Adult Leaders, we know they are capable of being capable but what we do is let them see that they are capable of being capable.  And this builds their confidence and courage.  They now know they are capable of herding cats (trust me if you've ever tried to move large groups of young children across cities you'll understand) and in the future they will take the lead, they will walk into their first classroom as a teacher with head held high, or will face an interview panel knowing they didn't lose a child amongst 250,000 others!  It will make a difference.

In the way you allow your toddler to jump manically around a soft play barn and they learn about how to control their body so when they start doing PE at school they aren't so scared, we need to remember that we can do the same thing for our tweens, teens and young adults.

Instilling confidence in them for the future.  If they can achieve that challenge for today they will feel capable, confident and have courage to do more.  And that 'more' is their future.

Let your toddler spread their own butter today, let your preschooler put on their own shoes (yes it's a bore waiting as they struggle!), let your tween walk to school (in safe boundaries, in prearranged groups, safe routes etc), let your teen catch a bus alone. 

In Guiding terms this turns into let Rainbows choose their own colours (even if the Queen gets a green face), let Brownies actually carry the cups of tea (have a cloth ready),   Guides are fantastic at helping little Rainbows mark bingo cards (and they love doing it even though it's not cool to admit to it),  Older Guides make great sheep dogs for herding brownies,  Rangers are capable of entertaining everybody to break up waiting boredom and trust those 18 year olds to amaze you with their leadership skills. 


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