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Respectful Listening

I find that one of the biggest challenges as a den leader is dealing with Cub Scouts who don’t listen to another person who is speaking. In most cases, they are not being deliberately disrespectful. They are getting carried away in the moment and forgetting their manners.

Another problem can be if you have a Scout or two who like to ask silly questions (sometimes which aren’t even related to the topic) just to make the other Scouts laugh. Here are some tips and a code of conduct  to help them listen and ask questions respectfully.

These ideas can be modified for use by Boy Scout youth leaders also if they find they are having difficulty getting the other youth members to be respectful when they are talking.

Respectful Listening


  • A token to remember who is allowed to talk – for example, a craft store feather can be designated “the talking feather” and only the person holding it gets to speak. You can use any token though.
  • Pencils and small pieces of paper for writing down questions

Code of Conduct

  • Look at the person who is speaking.
  • Don’t interrupt
  • Don’t snicker or make inappropriate noises
  • Only the person holding the token is allowed to speak. The person holding the token can pass it on to somebody else to allow them to speak. (You might want to clarify to Cub Scouts that adults are allowed to interrupt if they feel it is necessary. Try not to though!)
  • If you have a question, write it on a piece of paper. (During the question and answer period at the end, have everyone hand in their questions. Then the speaker can go through and answer them. If the speaker is a Cub Scout, an adult can look at the questions before handing them over and quietly discard any which are not relevant or appropriate.)


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