In his notes for
instructors, Robert Baden-Powell discusses the need for Scouters (as they were later to be known) to have the ability to 'read
character, and thereby to gain sympathy'. Robert Baden-Powell also stresses 'the value of patience and cheery good temper;
the duty of giving up some of one's time and pleasure for helping one's country and fellow-men; and the inner meaning of our
motto, "Be Prepared"' (1909: 295).
But as you come to
teach these things you will very soon find (unless you are a ready-made angel) that you are acquiring them yourself all the
You must 'Be
Prepared' yourself for disappointments at first, though you will as often as not find them outweighed by unexpected
You must from the
first 'Be Prepared' for the prevailing want of concentration of mind on the part of boys, and if you then frame your teaching
accordingly, I think you will have very few disappointments. Do not expect boys to pay great attention to any one subject
for very long until you have educated them to do so. You must meet them half way, and not give them too long a dose of one
drink. A short, pleasing sip of one kind, and then off to another, gradually lengthening the sips till they become steady
This making the mind
amenable to the will is one of the important inner points in our training.
For this reason it
is well to think out beforehand each day what you want to say on your subject, and then bring it out a bit at a time as opportunity
offers - at the camp fire, or in intervals of play and practice, not in one long set address....
To get a hold on
your boys you must be their friend; but don't be in too great a hurry at first to gain this footing; until they have
got over their shyness of you.
Robert Baden-Powell (1909)
Scouting for Boys