During the first meetings new Beavers will be learning the Beaver Promise, Law and Motto. It's often difficult for young children to understand what it means to keep a promise, follow a law or honour a motto. Let's help make these topics more tangible by relating them to the child's everyday life.
Making a promise means that when you say you're going to do something, you intend to carry it out. If you don't, no matter how small the promise, people will stop believing what you say. Beavers will understand this idea if you relate several examples. For instance, if their babysitter says they can watch a TV program, and then doesn't let them, the babysitter broke the promise. If a friend says she will play with them after school, and then runs off, the child will find it harder to believe that friend next time. That's why it's important for Beavers to do their very best when they give a promise.
Beavers promise to "love God and help take care of the world". Start the discussion by providing examples that show they love God and help take care of the world. Looking after their surroundings is a way to honour both parts of their Promise. They can do this by making sure they do not hurt or damage any living thing, whether its a plant or an animal or a person. They can help by not littering, or breaking branches off trees. Beavers don't disturb bird nests or animal burrows. They're nice to their pets by making sure they have enough food and water. Being helpful and polite to other Beavers and members of their families counts, too.
Once you've gotten them started, encourage the children to provide suggestions of their own. Ask each Beaver to give an idea.
The Law say, "A Beaver has fun, woks hard, and helps his family and friends". Beavers easily relate to having fun. Ask your children how they have fun at school, home and outdoors. Keep these ideas in mind when planning your year's program.
How can a Beaver work hard?
Too many times they hear adults talk about working hard with negative tones. But working hard can be satisfying. If they have worked hard and accomplished a difficult task, they can be proud of what they've done. Helping to rake the lawn, shovel snow, or carry in the groceries requires physical effort. However, keeping their uniform neat and tidy, cleaning up their garbage after doing a craft, or finishing their homework can be considered working hard, as well.
Talk about ways they can help their family and friends. Do they keep their room tidy? Pick up their toys? Play with their little brother or sister while their parents make dinner? What kinds of things do they do for their friends at school or at Beavers?
Our Motto, "Sharing, Sharing, Sharing", is the easiest for Beavers to understand. But explain to the group that it can incolve more than just giving an object to someone. Sharing might involve telling a story, teaching a skill, taking turns, passing on helpful information, or singing a song to someone else. Watch for these aspects of sharing during a Beaver meeting and point them out whenever possible.
This simple idea will reinforce the Promise, Law and Motto, giving them a visual reminder of all their successes. You'll need a variety of coloured construction paper precut into rectangular shapes (bricks); 1/2 a piece of poster board per child; glue; markers or crayons.
Ask your Beavers to draw pictures on the bricks of them doing some part of the Promise, Law or Motto. As they finish their bricks, let them glue each onto the poster board, creating a wall. This can be carried over for several weeks with the Beavers building their walls each meeting by recording how they kept their Promise, Law and Motto during the week.
Explaining the Promise, Law and Motto doesn't have to be challenging for leaders. Listen to your Beavers; perhaps they have their own creative ideas.
Susan Albrecht works in Program Services at the National Office.
"Reproduced with permission of the Leader magazine and the author."
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