Re: Al "knot"ted up
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAP.GWU.EDU)
Sat, 23 Jul 1994 22:13:23 -0400
You questioned why the interest in wearing so many knots, especially the
ones earned as a youth. If I were restricted to three knots, those youth
awards would be the ones I would pick; e.g. Eagle, Religious Emblem, and
Arrow of Light. Why? Because it encourages the Scouts to want to earn
the same award. When they see an adult wearing the award and realize that
they too can wear the same award (and there are only a few instances where
achievement awards are worn on both youth and adult uniforms), they seem
to strive for them. Over the years I've observed many Scouts express the
most joy over an award that allows them to wear a knot. To them it
signals a step towards adulthood and recognition of their progress in
moving from adolescence to adult status.
As to the other knots, I think if we're honest we all like a little
recognition and that tends to lead to longer tenured leaders. If wearing
knots helps, I'm all for it. In my own case, I'm a trainer in several BSA
program areas and they kind of serve as a set of credentials and often an
introduction to adult recognition that new leaders are not familiar with.
So long as it helps either with encouraging youth advancement and
achievement or in building tenured leaders, I'm all for it.
Do we do it to impress people? I can't speak for the group, but in our
area the answer is more often than not a simple "no." Many veteran
Scouters in our area don the knots only after encouragement to promote
advancement, tenure, awareness of recognition awards in units, etc. Some
of these same Scouters are a bit embarrassed at first to wear them,
because they came into the program to help youth and weren't looking to
glorify themselves. Usually they only wear the knots when they realize
that it can help the program, not out of self-esteem.
As an sideline we also wear them because others want us to impress other
Scouts and Scouters. I've been invited to participate in Eagle Courts of
Honor and other ceremonies and many times requested to wear a uniform with
all the badges legal to wear instead of a working uniform less bedecked.
Usually this comment is followed with something along the lines of we want
a really decorated Scouter to do this part of the program to emphasize
just how important this or that is.
For my part it would be a lot simpler to assemble a uniform with only the
minimum of insignia, because I'm the one with needle punctures in my
fingers from trying to sew it on. If I thought the only purpose for
wearing knots was to impress others, I'd start pulling the threads and
take 'em off.
Yours in Scouting, Michael F. Bowman, a/k/a Professor Beaver
Deputy District Commissioner Exploring, GW Dist., NCAC, BSA
Speaking only for myself, but with Scouting Spirit . . .
____ mfbowman@CAP.GWU.EDU ____
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City