Swashbuckling Cub Scouts
Roger Claff (su=claff%gi=roger%api@MCIMAIL.COM)
Fri, 23 Jun 1995 11:10:51 -0400
Micheal Bowman asks for no flames, so we'll try to keep our heat to a
minimum - wouldn't want to inadvertently scorch someone in my own council,
now would we?
Micheal, it seems you know a great deal about pirates, and your post was
certainly an education to us. But where did you learn all of this? And
from where did you get your motivation to learn?
It seems to me that much of a boy's desire to learn history initially
comes from role-playing experiences. Role-playing gives a boy a direct
and exciting means of participating in past events. This participation
evokes curiosity. Wearing the costume of a pirate, for example, makes a
boy curious about what pirates were, what they did, and why they did it.
Role-playing may give a boy the inspiration to pick up books and read.
And through reading he'll discover soon enough (if he hasn't figured it
out already!) that a pirate is not a positive image.
Why do boys seem to gravitate toward the bad guys in role-playing? We
think this tendency has nothing to do with any supposed attractiveness
of a negative value system! After all, we're talking about CUB SCOUTS!
It has more to do with the allure of experimentation - boys are
intrinsically curious. They want to see what would have happened if
history were rewritten. They're trying to figure out what it would have
been like if the bad guys had won. Chances are, with proper guidance,
they'll eventually figure out for themselves that even though a
"successful" pirate has the plunder, he faces a lonely and terrifying
life on the run from the law - a very poor bargain.
Let us point out also that "censoring" a boy's role-playing may be more
difficult than you think. For example, certainly no one would argue with
a boy playing the part of Abraham Lincoln. Yet Abraham Lincoln was not an
abolitionist, and at one point he advocated expulsion and colonization of
the slaves. He also stated, "If I could save the Union by freeing none of
the slaves, I would do it." So is Lincoln a "good guy" or a "bad guy?"
Let us finish with the old adage, those who do not remember history are
condemned to repeat it. We MUST let our boys discover the unblemished,
unbiased historical facts about the "bad guys" as well as the "good guys,"
including their motivations and ultimate fates. The surest way to create
a modern pirate is to deny a boy the experience of learning everything he
can about historical ones.
Yours in Scouting,
FOR OUR BOYS,
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City