Communicating and relating to Boys are skills we can learn and develop further. We need to be aware of how we communicate and what we convey to the Boys – this involves our listening skills as well as how we express ourselves. The use of poor communication skills leads to communication problems, and there may be times when we are unaware of the messages we are sending to others.
- be aware of the vital role they play in the development [or repression] of self confidence and self esteem in boys;
- at all times seek to see and highlight positive attributes – improvement, effort, kindness, and the like – in boys and should “reward” these by recognition and positive feedback;
- avoid circumstances where their actions could give rise even to the faintest suspicion of improper behaviour with a boy or with another leader.
Although there may be times when it is hard to see it, we need to always remember how God wants us to view the individuals in our care:
- He is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-30). And God is love (1 John 4:16-17). This means he was created to be like God, and to have and express love to God, others and himself.
- He is dearly loved by God (Colossians 3:12). Jesus loved him so much as a friend Jesus not only suffered for him, but gave His own life to save the Boy from eternal death (John 3:15).
- He is Holy as the Holy Spirit lives in and through him (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). He is a child of light and not of darkness and he is an enemy of the devil (1 Thessalonians 5:5; 1 Peter 5:8).
Discipline should come from an authentic sense of love [and this is not an excuse or justification for a particular method]. Be clear on what you expect and what is realistic. You also need to be committed to wanting it. You shouldn’t desire discipline just to control Boys. Establish what you expect at the start of the year. It is easier to be more lenient, but very difficult to get tougher!!
- Need to act positive and need to model at all times what is expected. Always speak and act positively – this could set the scene for no disruption.
- Establish a good rapport with Boys and their family. Visit them. Respect is earned – it should not be expected just because you are an Officer.
- Set ground rules and make sure Boys know what is expected of them. The rules are there to help us achieve what we want with minimal distractions and to ensure everyone gets a ‘fair go’. If you’re going to write up your standards of behaviour, do it in a positive manner.
- Use peer pressure with agreed discipline – encourage Boys to pick up on each other. eg – “the first group standing quietly” gets x points.
- Reward/expect good behaviour. Ignore bad behaviour. Always try to catch a Boy doing something good. Show the Boys that you care for them as a person but not for their unacceptable behaviour.
Response to initial behaviour is important.
- At the very least, the Boys need to listen when you speak (and when others speak) and generally learn to be courteous and well-mannered! (Well, we can live in hope, although they do improve!)
- Boys need to recognise when it is appropriate (eg during games), and when it isn’t to be noisy and a bit chaotic. You need to let them have the chance to be noisy when it is appropriate.
- Don’t encourage or emphasise the rights Boys have, unless we are talking about the rights of others.
But emphasise their responsibilities. The Boys have a part to play too – they must learnt to own the consequences of their actions.
- As a last resort, suspend Boys from BB. Deliver them home right away if you have adequate leadership to take care of others. This approach is not desirable and should only actioned after previously advising the parents of your intent if the Boy’s misbehaviour continues.
In essence, we aim to encourage self-discipline which is about behaving and thinking in ways that respect ourselves and others to be able to achieve what is desirable. Ultimately what is desirable are relationships and goals that honour God.