Marc Solomon (msolomon@TEK1.TEKNIQ.COM)
Fri, 25 Aug 1995 10:39:00 -0500
At 10:22 PM 8/24/95 -0400, Bruce E. Cobern wrote:
>By requiring something like a watch because WE don't believe that people
>can be on time without one aren't we depriving the Scouts of the
>opportunity to demonstrate inginuity, etc. Instead of dictating the means
>to get them to show up on time, we should just, IMHO, insist that they be
>on time. Once they realize that we are serious about them being where they
>are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there, they will show. Who
>cares how they figure it out. That's their problem. One of the things
>they are supposed to learn is responsibility. Let them succeed or fail and
>then learn from their failures. That's what it is all about.
Very good point. When I was a Scout some twenty odd years ago, we had a
very good SM who believed that being on time was very important. It was a
rule in our troop that when the SPL called 'Fall in' at the appointed time,
anybody not there did not go on the hike. On my first campout with the
troop, I witnessed one of the more experience Scouts pull up just as the
troop finished assembling. The Scout got out of his mother's car and looked
at our SM. Our SM shook his head at the Scout and the Scout got back into
his mother's car and instructed her to drive him home. He knew he was late
and that was that.
Now, I personally am not such a stickler for time, but I have been with
troops that will wait around for over a half an hour after the announced
departure time before deciding that a Scout is not coming. And even then,
they will call the Scout or his parents to find out why the Scout has not
arrived. THIS DOES NOT TEACH RESPONSIBILITY! We need to teach our Scouts
that the world will not stop and wait for them. We need to let them know
that they are being discourteous to everyone else in the troop by showing up
late. Frequently departure times are set up so that other events can take
place on time. I can not tell you how much it galls me to see a troop have
to set up camp in the dark because a handful of Scouts (and/or their
parents) decided that being on time was not important.
What are we telling our Scouts when we allow them to make their fellow
Scouts wait? I can think of at least seven (Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful,
Friendly, Courteous, Kind, and Obedient) of the twelve points of the Scout
Law that are broken by being late.
When I was a Scout, I could never keep a watch in one piece for very long,
you know how boys are. But I was always on time. One does not need a watch
to be on time. There are usually plenty of ways to find out what time it
is. On the other hand, I know many Scouts (and Scouters) who wear watches
and are still late. Removing a possible excuse does not always fix the
problem. Scouts, being as inventive as they are, will find another excuse.
Instead of forcing the wearing of a watch, my solution is to empower the
Scouts to live up to the Scout Law. When a Scout is late, remind him of the
oath he took when he joined the Scouts and show him how he let himself down
by not living up to his oath. Then let him know that you believe that he
can live up to the oath and obey the Scout Law. This solution can be
applied to many problems that occur in Scouting. While it is not the
easiest solution to enforce, it will probably have the longest lasting effects.
>Give it a chance. It works. We don't have to baby them.
Yours in Scouting,
| Marc W. Solomon | Unit Commissioner |
| firstname.lastname@example.org | Sycamore District |
| email@example.com | Blackhawk Council, IL |
I use to be a wise old owl . . . Now I am just old
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City