Discipline in Your Den

 

Discipline in Your Den - The FNE Way!

Tips for leaders and others working with our youth!

Timber Wolves do want direction and limits. "It wouldn't be a very good den with everyone running around (and) fooling around" says one of our Timber Wolves. And he's right. But there are two approaches to discipline: the negative based on no's and punishment; and the positive, invoking faith based values that are further supported by reasonable and understood limits, examples, caring and encouragement, while of course doing our best to have our members fully embrace and live their promise!

We believe positive discipline makes for happy boys and leaders and would like to share a few ideas we use within our Sahi Timber Wolf Den.

Our aim is to provide an atmosphere that encourages good discipline. First, we set membership requirements by making our expectations clear; the Timber Wolf will participate as fully as possible in the program, and wear a full and complete FNE Timber Wolf uniform.

Our leaders do their best to show they care about each boy as an individual and treat everyone equally and fairly. Our Den is run like a family in which everyone is important.

The moment a new Timber Wolf-to-be steps into the meeting hall, we clearly spell out limitations and expectations. To make them meaningful and provide on-going reinforcement, its important for his Timber Wolf leaders, both at the adult and youth level, to consistently demonstrate the expected behavior. We remind our Timber Wolves that the parts of their promise and law, which they have promised to uphold, must not be compromised while also being lived to the best of their ability each and every day.

 

Explain Why

People, including our Timber Wolves, generally accept rules if they understand the reason why they have been established. It's also important to realize that occasionally a boy might not obey a den or Timber Wolf rule or command. When it happens, we generally ask quietly " John, what does <a particular hand signal> mean?" After he replies, we simply say, "Then, why didn't you get up quickly? Please do so next time." For most Timber Wolves, we have found that this is enough.

 

 

Planning

In our program planning, we consider a number of things that we feel help to maintain good discipline. Our guidelines are to:

  • follow opening ceremonies with a lively activity
  • use the Den visual commands consistently and well as outlined in the Mowgli handbook!
  • keep things flowing (as one activity ends, be ready to start the next)
  • use all leaders and helpers - some running or helping to run an activity, some organizing the next activity, some working with the Timber Wolves!
  • enjoy and fully use our unique FNE Timber Wolf ceremonies, be organized, expect the Timber Wolves to treat the ceremonies with pride and joy
  • ensure that our Timber Wolves obey the rules of the Den that states that the Timber Wolf... thinks of other first, opens his eyes and ears, is always clean, always tells the truth, and is always happy!
  • open all meetings with prayer and take time to pray as a group at camp on a daily basis (you will be amazed in the positive changes that you will see in your Timber Wolves if all pray sincerely and truly from their hearts)
  • make sure we don't keep our Timber Wolves standing idly for extended periods of time

 

Planning enables us to be well prepared for a period of instruction or explanation of a new game. We teach some of the leaders or Timber Wolves the skill or game in advance so that they can demonstrate as someone explains. During the instruction, we insist on silence and the full attention of each and every Timber Wolf and Leader. We try to keep the explanation brief and to the point.

It helps if you plan with your sixers and seconds and use them to the fullest. We find they play a key role in helping to maintain discipline.

A Positive Encouragement System

Within our FNE Timber Wolf program the use of an effective and meaningful positive re-enforcement process is encouraged. We have embraced a program where our Timber Wolves are encouraged to live their promise, to help others outside of the Den. In return they have an opportunity to receive personal and Timber Wolf Den graces from the Lord.

But We Have a Problem

If you find you have a Timber Wolf who consistently disrupts the group by fighting or whatever, try to understand why. It's difficult at times to avoid letting your emotions get the best of you, but blowing up isn't a very effective response. When two boys are fighting, separate them and try to get the real story. Perhaps Peter is scrapping all the time because some of the others call him names or tease him, or he's upset about something at home or at school. Remind that boys that the Lord does not condone fighting and that we are all children of God.

What we try to do when we have a problem is to talk with the Timber Wolf or Wolves involved privately with you and another leader being present (meaning don't hold the discussion in front of the rest of the den!). We believe it's important to talk to a Timber Wolf eye-to-eye (a towering six-foot leader can be pretty intimidating from the Timber Wolf level), and listen well to what he has to say. The aim is to let him know that we care about him and really want to understand and to help.

 

If we learn that other Timber Wolves have been name-calling or teasing, we talk with them, making it clear that we regard the behavior as unacceptable and reminding them that an FNE Timber Wolf is a brother to every other Timber Wolf in the Den. We teach our Timber Wolves that The strength of the Den is the Timber Wolf, the strength of the Timber Wolf is the Den!

Punishment is not positive, but it may sometimes be necessary. The important thing is to make sure that the punishment fits the crime, so that Timber Wolves know there are logical consequences to misbehavior. And never make unreasonable promises or threats that you can't carry out. Leaders who don't keep their word lose a great deal of credibility.

If, despite your best efforts, a Timber Wolf becomes a serious problem, remove him from the other Timber Wolves for a period of time. For example, deny a Timber Wolf, who persists in playing improperly, the right to participate in favorite games that evening. And, if worse comes to worst, take him home and deliver him to his parents.

To Recap

In our den, we find that our Timber wolves will live up to our expectations and listen when:

  • We treat them with respect and ask rather than tell them (Please return to your group for the next activity rather than Move it, or else!)
  • We don't play favorites
  • Our rules are consistent, applicable to everyone (including leaders as they must set the example), enforceable, and necessary
  • We are prepared to listen, accept suggestions from the Timber Wolves and, if they are valid and reasonable, act on them
  • We are prepared to admit that we as an old wolf may have made a mistake (we're only human, after all) and willing to say we are sorry
  • We are prepared to have fun and to work closely with our Timber Wolves
  • We are able to show our Timber Wolves that each individual is important to us.

We think that reasonable standards and expectations, doing their best to love and serve the Lord along with consistency, fairness, belief in the Timber Wolf law and promise, wise use of visual den commands, and showing the Timber Wolves that you really care and by having all members proudly wear their full and complete FNE Timber Wolf uniform are elements that make a happy, well-disciplined den with an exciting worthwhile program. Remember that it takes time. Be patient and you'll see it working for you.

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