Tue, 30 Oct 1990 12:52:08 CST
I was a sixteen year-old Life Scout not so long ago, and my parents
still let me drive... but they also required me to pay my share
of the insurance and gasoline, and to take it for emissions inspections,
etc., as compensation for wear and tear.
They didn't push me to get my Eagle at all; when they encouraged me
to get it, it was through the use of the carrot instead of the stick.
In the end, though, all of those methods failed anyway. I got it
because I realized that I had put a lot of work into Scouting, and
that no one would appreciate my experiences (no one being employers,
colleges, etc.) if I wasn't an Eagle Scout. I wanted to finish
what I had started. In the end, that was what did it for me- not
the encouragement or threats of my parents, but my own desire. And,
I think that's what motivates most Eagle Scouts. I also think that
it's what -should- motivate them.
In a few years, when I am applying for a job which will further my
career, I want the person who sees "Eagle Scout" on my resume to
say, "hey, this is a self-motivated person." I don't want him
to say, "oh, here's someone whose parents threatened him to achieve.
Too bad I can't hire the parents, too. So much for him."
That's why I think that threatening kids with action if they don't
get their Eagle is a bad idea. It takes the self motivation away.
Of course, they'll still have had the experience of Scouting, but it
won't mean as much. It will be something that they might not have
enjoyed, which will lessen its value, and lessen the value of what
it teaches, in their minds. And I don't want to lessen the value
of what Scouting teaches one bit.
Anyone disagree? Personally, I'd love to see everyone become
an Eagle Scout. I just don't want to see them pushed into it
unwillingly, because then they might not be what I consider an
Eagle Scout anymore. I can't fault the motivation of the
parents who push... I just think that they're missing the point
just a little bit.
I'm not saying that Eagle Scouts who are pushed by their parents
are -necessarily- un-motivated. I just think that it's a chance
I'd rather not take.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City