I “retired” as Scoutmaster of the Boy Scout Troop I founded 14 years ago. Last night, my Scouts organized a party in my honor. Boy Scouts are ages 11-18, a coming of age stage in their lives. The lessons I learned, from them and from parents, I wanted to share with you.
1) Never underestimate the ability to touch someone’s live. When you least expect it, a smile, kind word or just listening can mean so much to anyone. Taking the time to do that will bring countless dividends. What surprised me most wasn’t just the boys who had nice things to say about being a mentor – so did the parents. You just never know who’s life you’re touching when you take that moment to “be there.”
2) Giving is a gift. We always look for “What can someone do for me? How can they help me? What’s in it for me?” I can’t tell you how much joy I have gotten from giving, and the results that come with it. Riches beyond dreams in terms of impacting and helping people’s lives. Money cannot buy that – no amount can. How have you been able to give lately, and have you looked at what you received from it?
3) Find and live your dream. No, we can’t just jump up and be a superstar athlete or famous pop singer. But we can think about what difference we want to make and go for it. I wanted a Troop that would be a caring troop, that would practice the Jewish concept of “Tikkun Olam,” healing the world. As such we visited Alzheimer patients, delivered food to the needy, did countless cleanups. And my Eagle Scouts all did projects that touched lives and the community. What’s your dream for how you want your world to be?
4) Giving and learning is two-ways. We think when we give, when we mentor, when we help others that we’re doing it for them. But every time I’ve mentored a Scout, a learning professional, or my mentees from the AIM HIGH mentoring program from Companies that Care, I’ve learned so much myself. http://www.companies-that-care.org/l3_exchange_6.php I’ve learned about life, about seeing others’ perspectives, about knowing how to relate better to different generations.
For all who volunteer, hats off to you. For those that find your own way to touch lives, kudos to you. For everyone, take a moment to take stock in what you’ve given and what you’re received. I’m sure the ROI will be higher than you could ever imagine.