One of the lessons from the Wood Badge program is that your training, your learning, is never complete. There is always more to learn and I try every day to make sure I learn more and more. While attending school this is pretty easy but what about the lessons that you don’t learn in the classroom? the lessons from “the school of life,” as I have heard it called. Often I find these lessons to mean the most and they have seen to rounding out my education time and time again.
In the professional education world, my first year of pharmacy school is drawing to a close, in just over a week I will be done and one my way to experiential education. But the experiences I have now, shape me to use my education. In National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) I learned to mentor my peers, to work with them to help them build a team, grow, and prosper. I guided them to the skills I myself had learned. This taught me to work with my peers in a different way, on a different level. Now, having completed Wood Badge through the scouts, I have learned how to use those same skills but with adults, to work with those on many different levels. Sometimes I would work with adults many years my senior, but if I had skills or knowledge to share, they valued what I had to say. Having staffed a Wood Badge, and been in a place to mentor other adults, it has given me pause, to think about what I’m learning while I am teaching. There is a quote from NYLT, “For teaching to be effective, learning must take place.” One thing that strikes me about this quote is, that learning doesn’t have to be the ones you are teaching. While we hope greatly that those we seek to teach learn, staffing this events, Wood Badge, NYLT, etc., is really just the second tier of the course. The instructors learn so much more by teaching it themselves.
Having recently staffed a Wood Badge course, I now have the privilege of guiding 6 other BSA adult leaders as they work to complete their tickets (see my first post). One of my flock (they’re bobwhites) has already completed it and the rest are diligently working towards them. It is so fun to watch them better themselves and the scouting program as they strive to improve their leadership. It is a gift to never be done learning, a gift I cherish. I will forever be inquisitive, because, to paraphrase Edison, “you don’t fail, you just learn a way not to do something,” and that can make all the difference.
Martin “Mixy” McNichols
Until we meet again