Archive for August, 2009

Scoutmaster Minute—Leadership Secrets of Crazy Horse

August 30, 2009

Let me talk for a minute about a young man who lived not too far from here. He wasn’t a big man, or particularly handsome, or have a lot of money. He wasn’t from a family of leaders. But he became a great leader.

How? Lakota author Joseph Marshall gives us some ideas.

  1. Know Yourself. Know your own strengths and challenges.  Know how far you can run.

  2. Know Your Friends. Know who you can count on. At the same time, never ask somebody to do more than they can do. Rely on the strengths of your friends, so they can rely also on you.

  3. Know the Enemy. Know your opponents. Understand the true nature of your challenges so that you can remain on the course to True North.

  4. Lead the Way. Leadership isn’t about telling people what to do. It’s more about understanding what needs to be done, and then doing it.

By now you probably know I’m talking about Crazy Horse. He did not command a great army. He saw the great needs of his people, like your patrol, and asked them simply: “Follow Me”.

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Scoutmaster Minute—Big Slough

August 23, 2009

Big Slough Trail

What is the Scout motto? Of course you know it is “Be Prepared”.

At our last meeting we talked about knowing the real meaning behind things. A lot of guys join Scouts for high adventure, going camping and hiking in the mountains, or canoeing in the Boundary Waters. That’s a great part of Scouting, but there’s a lot more to it closer to home.

As BP said, we should Be Prepared “for any old thing”. We live on the Prairie. The Boy Scout Fieldbook says that grasslands like these cover nearly a fourth of Earth’s land surface (p. 496). Prairie potholes, or sloughs, are wetlands that help prevent soil erosion and provide habitat for many different plants and animals—from big bluestem to wood ducks and not so many years ago vast herds of great American Bison.

This is our neighborhood:  the grass and water, flora and fauna. We can only be prepared “for any old thing” if we know our neighborhood. Stop. Look. Listen. You may be surprised what neighbors you meet.

Scoutmaster Minute—Words Behind the Words

August 2, 2009

Crazy Horse Monument

Lakota medicine man Black Elk told John G. Neihardt, as related in the book Black Elk Speaks:

Crazy Horse’s father was my father’s cousin, and there were no chiefs in our family before Crazy Horse; but there were holy men; and he became a chief because of the power he got in a vision when he was a boy. When I was a man, my father told me something about that vision. Of course he did not know all of it; but he said that Crazy Horse dreamed and went into the world where there is nothing but the spirits of all things. That is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that world. He was on his horse in that world, and the horse and himself on it and the trees and the grass and the stones and everything were made of spirit, and nothing was hard, and everything seemed to float. His horse was standing still there, and yet it danced around like a horse made only of shadow. That is how he got his name, which does not mean that his horse was crazy or wild, but that in his vision it danced around in that weird way.*

When we are out in our world we see names on things and the words are familiar so we may think we know what they mean. You may have been at Scout Camp or traveling in the Black Hills and seen the name Crazy Horse. An image may have come to your mind, based on what you think you know. As a Scout, we should strive to do better. As a Scout, Do Your Best to understand not just the words but the true meanings behind the words.

*Black Elk Speaks, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press Twenty-First-Century Edition, 2000, p.65.