Mass Killings (SM/EA Minutes)
Settummanque, the blackeagle (WALTOML@WKUVX1.BITNET)
Wed, 21 Apr 1993 11:26:06 CDT
A while back, I had the pleasure to sit down with a group of Scouts
and present the "traditional" Scoutmaster's Minutes. In light of the
previous events in Waco, Texas over the past 48 hours or so (CNN is
*still* evaluating this mess!), and because I *know* of at least one
Scouter from that state that reads this list, I offer it here to
assist *your* Scouts in talking about the news event and how it
relates to Scouting.
"If you don't do what I say, I'll say that you did it anyways..."
How many times have you heard that statement, guys?? How many times
have *you* given that statement?? No hands, just think about this.
Leadership is a funny thing. We want you to be able to direct people,
to "tell them what to do". We ask of our Patrol Leaders to move,
shape and direct the Patrol or Troop and you've done it. You can even
extend this to a home situation: isn't there a certain "tone of
voice" that you know that if you don't respond RIGHT NOW, you will get
it (whatever getting it consists of)? I can remember when my mother
called me by my given name that IT MEANS TROUBLE--BIG TROUBLE--and I
have grown as a result to hate my given name--Micheal.
At the same time, what would happen if you *didn't* tell your Patrol
members what to do, or told them that we have to get it all done by a
certain time?? Adults call this form of leadership "power leadership"
and it can be extremely dangerous.
Power leadership, according to one "expert" in the field, is the
ability to say, do or pressure others to do your bidding with no
adverse consequence. In other words, they are used to having you to
give the orders and they have come to trust you without thinking for
themselves. Have you ever had someoen to tell you that "he would jump
off the Empire State Building if I told him to do that" ?? That's one
example of power leadership. You are scared of the consquence, even
though it may not be anything; but you are also so supportive and have
so much confidence in that ONE person, that you do it without even
thinking about it--because "he said so". Our military says this about
the Russian army--that their leaders only act upon orders, and don't
allow as we do, for independent thought and flexibility.
The recent Jonestown incident, where we are still trying to learn as
much as we can about, is one example of power leadership taken
to its extreme. Even without the religious aspect of this situation,
it was one man pressuring, insisting, and using his power as the
person in charge to "convince" others to drink poison--old men, women,
children. While we may never know everything associated with this
situation, we do know that the leadership protrayed by Revevent Jim
Jones was not that of a caring, supportive leader.
In Scouting, we want you to exercise your leadership if you are placed
in a position of leadership. We expect you to do your best to protect
and defend your members; to teach them the skills of Scouting; and to
be of service to your community and this church. At the same time,
the entire program of Scouting was created so that no two Scouts have
to do ANYTHING alike. You (pointing to a Scout) can work on all
outdoor merit badges while the Scout beside you can work on merit
badges dealing with nature and conservation.
You should be concerned as Scouts about the Jonestown deaths. What
this should remind you of are two principles of leadership and of
life: if you are not sure about something, stop, ask questions and
find out why. Good leaders will tell you why and will take the time
to explain it. Bad leaders will simply tell you "because I want it
And the other: if you are not confortable doing something, don't do
it. Whatever it is. A task. A job. Or "a request". Tell someone
about what you are "asked" to do.
NOTHING is that important that it must be done without at least
thinking about it somewhat--okay, something like turning off the power
if something's sparking. But hey--you had to think a little: Why *did*
you turn off the power??
The people in Jonestown turned off their thinking ability and left it
to Jim Jones to decide EVERYTHING for them. Don't let your
Scoutmaster or me or anyone else do all off your thinking for you--you have a
brain and your parents have taught you well--think for yourself.
And if you ever become a leader--of your Patrol or this Troop, of this
community, this church, or even the United States--don't ever forget
that leadership is a powerful tool. Use the things you've learned
through Scouting and don't forget to let others THINK FOR THEMSELVES.
Mike L. Walton
( Settummanque, the blackeagle... ) )
((MAJ) Mike L. Walton (among other "endearing" names) ( )
( AIS/MR Recreation/Leisure Specialist, Lifeskills Inc. ___)_ )
( Phone 502-782-7992 (home) 502-842-2274 (office) |-=-|] )
(3201-D Cave Springs Avenue -- Greenwood, KY 42104-4439 -------- )
( WALTOML@WKUVX1 / "No such thing as strong coffee, only weak people" )
( KYBLKEAGLE@AOL.COM (America Online) / BSRWALTON@EKU (EKU VAX) )
( "I don't speak for Lifeskills, Inc. or WKU...but man, do I speak!!!!" )
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City