Re: Al "knot"ted up
Haluska Ed (edh@MAILS.IMED.COM)
Sat, 23 Jul 1994 22:01:36 CST
I've been following this thread with some interest, reading between the
lines to see what underlying attitudes are revealed. The two extremes
of the continueum (not surprisingly) are "by the book" and "anything
goes." I fall towards the "by the book" end, but not completely.
As with most things in life, there is a tension between the uniform
rules and other considerations. Some "words of wisdom" that I have
posted before are:
1. The Scouts will show you waht THEY really want to do, but you will
probably tell them "NO!" After you've told them "no" three times for
the same thing, wake up! Figure out how to turn the no-no into a
positive Scouting event.
2. The purpose common sense is to be able to make reasonable exceptions
to general rules.
3. There is a time to follow the letter of the law and a time to follow
the spirit of the law.
(If you read between the lines in my postings, you will usually find
one or more of the above.)
Before reading on, please: 1) mentally determine where you fall on the
"by the book/anything goes" continuemm and 2) mull over the above items
a bit and decide whether or not you would be willing to follow them.
This will give you a feeling of "where I'm coming from" versus "where
you are." If we are pretty far apart, you will probably disagree with
some of the rest of this posting.
In Thursday's digest, Scott mentioned personalized leather shoulder
loops. My first reaction was "neat idea, but an obvious uniform
violation." But then he recounted that "they were all the rage" at his
summer camp, and immediately rule #1 (see above) started to kick in
(I've trained myself to be sensitive to this rule, I usually don't need
three wacks upside the head anymore). So, should I stomp on this
opportunity to let the Scouts do something in Scouting that they say
*they* are enthusiatic about? How long do you think they are going to
stay in Scouting if you squelch every spontaneous thing that catches
their imagination? There is a tension in this situation between uniform
rules and the goal of keeping them in Scouting and excited about the
program. Also, I see a wonderful opportunity to have the Scouts
actively wanting to try leather working rather than doing it because it
there or easy. Bingo, a positive Scouting event!
But I still need to balance that against things like uniform rules. My
compromise would be: 1) uniforms must be uniform (if one boy in a troop
wears the leather loops, all the boys wear the leather loops), 2) the
background of the loop should be stained to match the color of the
cloth loop that should be worn. By insisting that the uniforms be
uniform and the the color of the loop still convey the information that
the cloth loop would, I have shown my respect to the "spirit" of the
You can list the reasons why leather shoulder straps should not
be worn and put those reasons on the other side of a metaphorical
scale. Does my compromise balance your scale? If not, which way does it
tilt? If it tilts, is it because you just can't bring youself to bend a
rule, or because you just can't bring yourself to accept rules you
don't like? I've met both attitudes in Scouting and life in general. I
know someone who would stop at a red light if he was driving a float in
a parade. Personally, I used to have a lot of trouble accepting rules I
didn't like or didn't understand their full justification. Experience
has taught differently.
Even Mike Walton has admitted to a uniform infraction. Anyone who
follows this list knows that Mike's credentials as an enthusiastic,
dedicated adult leader are impeccable. He doesn't wear the OA flap of
his present lodge, but instead wears older flaps that have a deeper,
personal meaning for him. Before I zinged him for wearing the wrong
flap, I would want to balance that against the need for adult leaders
such as him. Wearing the older flap strengthens his bonds with Scouting
and helps insure his unit will benefit from his leadership. Is making
him wear the "right" OA flap worth fraying that bond? You can fill in
the reasons why he should wear the correct flap and put them on the
other side of the scale. Which way does your scale tip?
I was in the military and did not at all the like the controlling,
spit-and-polish, nit-picking uniform inspections. When I started
Scouting I must admit I carried a fairly negative attitude towards
uniforms with me. That changed as I came to understand the differences
between the spirit of military uniform regulations and the spirit of
Scouting uniform regulations. They have a lot in common. Both try to
give a sense of membership and enhance esprite de corps. But the
military uniform regs also have a purpose unique to the military. You
are just a small part in the "green machine" as we were frequently told
in the Army. Your job isn't to think, it's to follow orders (I wasn't
an officer). You have a very specific position in the chain of command.
Uniforms were used to reinforce these messages. This is very important
for the military, I do NOT consider this a goal for Scouting uniform
rules and regulations.
When you do a uniform inspection, which spirit to you follow?
One last note: I DO try to follow the rules without bending them. And
the safety and YPP rules have the highest tensile strength (that means
it would take an awful lot of force to bend them even a little).
| | |
| Edward A. Haluska | Scouting Resume: |
| 6105 Deer Run | 9 years total as B.S.A. adult leader: |
| Angleton, Texas 77515 | ACM, CM, Weblos Den, ASM. Philmont, '93 |
| U.S.A. | Woodbadge/Beaver '91. Wood Carving & Com- |
| firstname.lastname@example.org | puter MB advisor. 3 sons currently in B.S.A.|
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City