In a continuing series we are taking a look at some of the reasons WHY Cub Scouting is important and relevant as well as HOW we achieve those purposes. This week’s article will talk about Spiritual Growth
1. Character Development
6. Respectful Relationships
7. Personal Achievement
3. Good Citizenship
8. Friendly Service
4. Sportsmanship and Fitness
9. Fun and Adventure
5. Family Understanding
10. Preparation for Boy Scouts
Before we can talk about how Cub Scouting helps a boy’s spiritual growth let make sure we all have an understanding of what I mean when I say “Spiritual Growth” So, Let’s look at a few definitions I found online in no particular order:
Spiritual growth is the process of becoming more and more like Jesus Christ.
Spiritual growth is a life-long process of manifesting the acts of the flesh less and producing the fruit of the Spirit more.
Spiritual growth is simply matching my practice with my position.
Spiritual growth is the personal development to enlarge the diameter of the sphere of consciousness.
The process of inner awakening, and becoming conscious of our inner being.
Okay, I’ll admit some of those make sense to me and some make me think “What?” so let’s just say that no matter how you define spiritual growth – I think it’s one of those things that is SO personal and SO… well for lack of a better word, spiritual… that I’m not sure that it really can be defined in a way that makes everyone happy. So let’s get on to the HOW part.
Scout Oath and Law – The first part of the Scout Oath is to do one’s best “…to do your Duty to God…” and the last of the 12 points of the Scout Law is Reverent. And since (at least in my experience) we usually say the Oath first and then the Law this creates a bit of a spiritual sandwich if you will. We start with God, put lots of other good things in there like duty to country, helping others, being trustworthy, loyal… and finish with Reverent. This reminds us first and last that Scouting is an organization that believes in God. Sometimes we have a mistaken belief that we can’t talk about God at Scouts. Wow! That is SO not true. In fact I think if we don’t talk about God in Scouting then we are doing a great disservice to the boys.
Duty to God adventures – In the Cub Scouting program there is a Duty to God adventure that is required for each rank (except Bobcat). The BSA Statement of Religious Principle “maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.”
Religious Emblems programs – The Religious Emblems programs are programs created by the various religious groups to encourage youth to grow stronger in their faith. The religious groups—not the Boy Scouts of America—have created the religious emblems programs themselves. The Boy Scouts of America has approved of these programs and allows the recognition to be worn on the official uniform, but each religious organization develops and administers its own program.
BSA Religious Emblem/Knot
Outing in Scouting – We as Scout leaders have some unique opportunities to point out how beautiful God’s creations are and help teach a respect and love for all He has given us. There experiences and feelings that boys feel while outside learning about, enjoying and just being outside that they may not feel anywhere else.
Leader “Shout-outs” – That seems an odd term when talking about spirituality but I think you know what I mean. Those times when an leader makes a specific effort to point out how Duty to God factors into the current activity. A leader that guides a reflection/discussion after an event and asks the right types of questions can get boys to think about how what they do during the week relates to what they learn on Sundays.
Duty to God – I can’t conclude an article about Spiritual Growth without linking to my all time favorite video about Duty to God. Hopefully most of you have seen this video created by the LDS church a few years ago with some great quotes by Baden Powell, Jimmy Stuart, John Wayne and others. If you haven’t seen this before it is worth watching. It’s worth showing to your boys at a den meeting, to the families at a pack meting. A very good explanation of where and how God fits into Scouting.
Article from the Utah National Parks Council member Annaleis Smith and can be found in full here.