Bad Decisions as a Path to Maturity

Several years ago, Den 1 of Cub Scout Pack 14 visited the Palo Alto Police Station. I saw this taped to the door of a holding cell in the basement.

Good judgement comes from experience.

Experience comes from bad judgement.

I thought that was a really positive attitude about arresting someone. They’ve made a bad decision. The police let them experience the consequences so they might make a better decision next time. That is the best possible outcome, right? Their judgement improves and the police don’t see them again.

This is one of the hard parts of being a Scouter, watching the leaders (the boys) do it wrong and not stepping in to fix it. If you fix it, they don’t get the experience and they’ll just have to do it wrong one extra time. Or four extra times. On the other hand, you do need to keep watching, because the experience shouldn’t be dangerous or so overwhelming that they don’t learn from it.

If you aren’t busy enough with that, take some time to learn from your own bad judgement and experience. I seem to always have a generous supply of that sort of experience.

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