We are constantly bombarded in the media of stories of loss, pain, devastation, fraud and wrongdoing. It would be easy for us all to become negative and pessimistic about the times in which we find ourselves.

We are continually fed information about how poor our kids are performing at school in comparison to kids in countries throughout the world. We are always reminded how rude, spoilt and terrible kids are today.

Apparently this is nothing new? The following quote was attributed to Socrates (469–399 B.C.)

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

At school they are reminded of all the things they cannot do… “No tackling, stay out of the rain, get out of the tree, you can’t sit there, you can’t do that…” And don’t get us started on the amount of things they are assessed on that they ‘should’ know! (this isn’t a shot at teachers either, more at the system they are confined to)

I am a firm believer in us all “being products of our own environments.” So it is this with this motto in mind, that we at Boys To The Bush are having a great response from our participants. We certainly don’t let the boys do everything they want but we do allow them to make some of their own decisions, and as hard as it is to stand back and watch them make some mistakes, but we do so in order for them to learn. But when they do something well we are quick to let them know. A simple thumbs up, pat on the back or a wink is all the feedback required.

So when a kid asks if they can cook something, have we eaten it and almost vomited because they are obviously new to cooking? YES

So when the boys ask if they can build a tree house, have some returned with a sore finger from belting it with a hammer? Or returned having fallen out of the tree and now have scratches up his leg? YES

So when the boys ask if they can go fishing only to return every 2 minutes due to snags and needing help, is it a failure? NO (although it is quite frustrating for us!)

So when the lads ask if they can build a table out of scrap wood and when completed it falls apart instantly (with all our food on it) is that a failure? NO

To us and the boys this is all gold! Because when we do catch a fish or when they cook a decent feed or get a fire going on their own, the looks on their faces are worth a million dollars!

The only test result we are interested in the boys doing well in, is “The Good Kid” Test. It is a pretty simple test (much like our camps) and I can honestly say 99% of kids pass with flying colours. They just need more opportunities to be assessed!



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