Stephen Hoar (hoar@AGDIS01.NEWARK.AF.MIL)
Wed, 2 Aug 1995 10:45:35 -0400
The folks talking about how much harder it was to earn Eagle when they were
young remind me of a bunch or old geezers sitting around an old stove talking
about how everything was 'tougher' when there were kids. You know...walking 5
miles through shoulder deep snow, barefooted, with no coat, to go to the
Or, the mentality of 'I had to do it this way when I was a kid so they gotta
do it too!'
Times change folks and today is not yesterday. Someday, the Eagles of today
will be talking about how tough they had it. Time and age alters our
perspectives on things. Many adults remember the big hands their dads had.
Its not that the dads hand was so big, its just that their hand as a child was
There is no absolute standard on the level of performance required for
completing rank or merit badge requirements. (Note I said 'completing") Just
as in school where there are various levels of work quality..."A", "B", "C",
etc, there will be various levels of performance in completing requirements.
This is where common sense and good judgement come in on the part of the
leaders. Put aside the book for a while and use your head. We have become
such a litigous society that we have become afraid to use our judgement. We
expect every answer to be in the 'book'. Sorry folks, life is not that way.
When you are teaching young men you gotta use your heart and your head. Not
all young men progress at the same rate or have the same capabilities. Just
as in the rest of life you sometimes have to push the edge and bend the rules.
Sometimes you have to look at the rule and if it is stupid, say so and get it
changed. Sometimes you have to ignore the obviously stupid rule and apply
common sense. Remember, these are human beings we are dealing with. This
program is for the scouts, the boys, not the adults.
We only have to reflect on our own lives to think of our good teachers and
positive role models to see how we should be applying the program to the
boys. A friend of mine has the saying that 'if its not for the boys, its for
Raising young men and leaders is not an exact science. Applying the rules
exactly the same to everyone is an impossibility. If we tried to hold the
leaders to the standards to which we sometimes hold the boys we would have to
fire 90% of the leaders. Lighten up guys. Life (and scouting) is enjoyable.
Lets enjoy it together. I finally made Eagle half way through high
school(1959). I don't remember the difficulties of the requirements...I only
remember the fun I had getting there.
Old enough to know better
Too old to do any better
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City