I’ve talked a lot about my schedule lately. It’s been hard to juggle and I’ve come up short in a lot of places. Some things definitely fall by the wayside, things don’t get done on time and I miss out on a lot of opportunities.
I also had to choose between camping with my Scouts and running plus my passion for all things nerdy with Podcamp Toronto a few weekends ago.
See, I take my leadership role there seriously. I love the fact that I get to teach these boys some skills that will see them through life, especially since a one or two of them have special needs that can make life that much more challenging. It also makes it fairly challenging for myself and my father, but I love watching them work through the whole process and then applying what they’ve learned.
And when they earn a badge - it's almost magical.
See, I was working with one kid, D, on a project leading up to our Winter camp. He can’t seem to soak up enough information. He’s always telling me this will be his last year so I am pushing him through as much as I can. So for camp, he was to learn about compasses and maps, and then lead the group in an activity to demonstrate his knowledge. We went through an orienteering book, I taught him the points on a compass and how to take simple bearings just a few days before, but he was on his own for creating a small game for the troop out in the “wild.”
Well, apparently it went quite well, despite the other Scouters getting the kids a bit lost and them missing a mark or two, but they all had fun. Little D earned his leadership badge and was thrilled. But when I couldn’t be there when he was to be presented with the badge the first meeting night back, he told my father that he wouldn’t accept it until “Sidekick” (the nickname the boys have affectionately called me since day one, when they weren’t sure whether to accept me or send me packing. They call me that because they see me as my dad’s partner) returned. So despite my commitments at a work event this week, plus running room, I made my way, albeit late, to my troop meeting and was jumped on, high fived and pretty much greeted like Norm at Cheers when I arrived.
But the best was when D got his badge. A horseshoe in a Scout meeting is supposed to be a serious time where you stand at attention and act more military like than school yard like, but there was jumping, fist pumping, high fives, squeals and shouts. D was so excited and just about knocked me over. He thanked me profusely for all of the help that I’ve given him over the past few weeks, because without me, he couldn’t have done it (his words).
This kid stopped me in my tracks. Here I am thinking about how busy my life is, how much I cram in it, but I really don’t think about what I give. I sit there and look for tangible and measureable things in my life to show other people to say, “HA! Look what I’ve done! See what I’ve achieved!” but there is truly so much more that I’ve done that I can’t even possibly show people because they’re walking, talking examples themselves.
And the importance of this is only driven home to me by the fact that Scouts Canada is focusing on doing good turns by “Pass on a ‘Good Turn’ Campaign” next week. They’re asking members to do a good turn and pass on red bracelets to the beneficiaries, asking them to pay it forward as well. It’s a great concept that I hope grows and has great stories come out of it.
So maybe when you’re down on yourself, thinking you can’t possibly find the motivation to continue on, think of the little D’s out there that you have passed along knowledge to, that have skills now thanks to the wisdom you’ve imparted on them, and that have learned lessons from the stories you’ve told.
So look in the mirror all you want for change and motivation, but see the world outside of yourself too. You have a huge impact on the people around you, not just on the face that stares back at you every day.