By Brad Harris
Aug 02, 2015

Reflections – Comparing temporal activities to spiritual lessons

advisorScout leaders for more than a century have closed meetings with a Scoutmaster’s minute, but older youth respond better to what we call a reflection.  Many of the values of Scouting lie beneath the surface, and to make Scouting’s ideals come home to older youth, reflection and likening helps ensure these values are clear to them.

Reflection at the end an activity need only take a few minutes, but the difference is the discussion. Youth are engaged and contribute to the search for meaning in the activity.

We can make any experience more meaningful and effective if we reflect upon it. The more you do it easier it becomes for both you and your Varsity Scouts and Venturers.

A Bishop in Kaysville, Utah related the following story to Brad Harris:

“I learned how to conduct a reflection from a training session I attended. As the Bishop in my ward in Kaysville, Utah we put into practice conducting reflections at most events. At a Varsity and Venturing high adventure one night after a full day of activities, we arranged time around the campfire. Two less active dads were there with their less active sons. They all enjoyed camping so much they joined us on this high adventure.

campfire“During our reflection during the campfire we talked about comparing spiritual experiences to temporal activities we did during the day. A good spiritual tone emerged around the fireplace. The young men started to talk less about the temporal activities and pulled out their favorite scriptures. It turned into a mild testimony meeting. We had a discussion on the second coming and how to prepare for it. Everyone was involved. We were not in a hurry.

“It was so effective and the spirit was so strong there that after the campfire as we were preparing to retire for the evening, some of the boys hung around my tent and wanted to talk. These young men wanted to clear up some of their transgressions and sins they had committed. Right there in the woods we had sincere confessions. These confessions and discussions in the woods, created a new path for each of these young men that led to their mission calls a few months later.

“The next day, back in our ward in testimony meeting, the less active members bore testimonies, expressing how they felt the spirit during the camping trip at the campfire ethnic testimonyreflection discussion. They said that it was a life changing experience for them. After sacrament meeting, one of the wives of the men at the camping trip came up to me and said, ‘I’m not sure exactly what you did to my husband, but he is different since he returned from your camping trip.’

“We have had several very effective reflections. In most, spirituality was obtained. Comparing temporal activities to spiritual lessons helped the boys frame things for them and the activities in our quorum became more meaningful at all levels.”

All you have to do is remember, reflection is simply the process of the youth talking about their experiences immediately after an exercise or activity with a little bit of wise moderating.

Harris ThumbnailAuthor: Bradley D. Harris | Brigham Young University.  He has taught Scouting education at BYU and is currently drector of the non-profit management minor and the Nonprofit Leadership certification program at BYU. He is the author of Trails to TestimonyHis purpose is to train students to become leaders in the nonprofit and fundraising sectors.

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2 thoughts on “Reflections – Comparing temporal activities to spiritual lessons

  1. AvatarWayne Mangelson

    Enjoyed reading this article on reflection from Brad. Serving on the committee to develop ways for scout leaders and youth to apply Come Follow Me principles, learned on Sundays, in scouting activities during the week, was a wonderful experience. I learned the power of reflection. It would seem a well made video could be made to further help leaders learn how to use reflection.

    Kind Regards,

  2. Pingback: Prayers of Thanksgiving | Voice of Scouting

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