“Folly is bound up in the heart of a child …” Proverbs 22:15
A Boy doesn’t need an audience or outside influence to cause trouble. Left in isolation he’ll find a way to turn office supplies into a weapon or will discover creative “tools” to set furniture on fire. When we put these creatures together in one space another kind of combustion takes place and maintaining group order requires specific tools. Here are some principles and approaches that Brigade leaders over the decades have employed to make the group meeting a pleasant and orderly place in which discipleship can take place.
Plan carefully and keep your program moving.
To be effective, careful planning and enthusiastic leadership are necessary. There is little chance for disorder to arise when boys’ attention is absorbed in a swiftly-moving, well-organized program.
Tap spiritual resources.
The Christian leader has abundant spiritual resources. He has a direct line of communication with the Source of Wisdom through the Word of God and prayer.
Reward and recognize good behavior.
Commendation is a powerful force in stimulating proper behavior. Saying something positive or rewarding good conduct in other ways reinforces them. Bribes are not recommended but after the-fact recognition is excellent.
Generate group spirit.
Enthusiasm and devotion to the group is a positive force for group control. When boys feel pride in their group and its activities, problems of disorder will be minimized.
Build teamwork in leadership.
The leaders’ example in cooperation and self-discipline will set the pace for the whole group.
Use teen leaders.
The personal example and cooperation of the leadership team in the Battalion can exert a powerful influence on the rest of the group.
When standards of behavior are understood by the boys, leaders should expect cooperation. Their attitude of confidence will do much to produce the right kind of behavior and self-discipline.
Require good order.
Even small disturbances should be dealt with quickly, firmly, pleasantly and with as little interruption in the program as possible. It is unfair to allow boys to think they are getting by with things they themselves recognize to be wrong.
Work through individuals.
Many problems of disorder can be solved on an individual basis, particularly if one boy is the main cause. Through personal attention, try to determine why the boy acts as he does. Talking with the boys about his misconduct and its possible consequences, and relating it to his real objective can be a helpful procedure. This may also provide an excellent opportunity to lead a boy to Christ or help a Christian boy realize spiritual victory over sin.
Be honest with yourself and with boys.
Boys appreciate a man who is straight forward with them. If he makes a mistake, he should be ready to admit it, but try to avoid it the next time. A man who is on friendly terms with boys will often receive cooperation because the boys regard him as a good guy and want to show their loyalty