Re: Boy Scouting and Sexual Morality (long)
Lisa A. Varner (lavarner@JUNO.COM)
Mon, 16 Sep 1996 17:06:39 EDT
On Mon, 16 Sep 1996 12:06:03 -0400 John Economides <JohnEcon@AOL.COM>
>While we are concerned with the moral development of our youth >(lying,
cheating, proper treatment of others, verbal & emotional abuse), I >find
nowhere in the Scouting literature any reference to how we are to >direct
our hormone laden teen-age charges when it comes to matters of >the
opposite sex. In fact, if there is any reference, it seems to imply that
>this is a family/religious matter. As the father of a 14 year old
>who is thinking about dating and all that goes with it, I have often
>wondered why the Scouting program could not include some
>training/guidelines/program that could be respected and appreciated by
>all for its moral content.
IMHO--flame suit on!...
As a GS leader and also as the mother of a (as of tomorrow) a 14 year-old
(girl), I have also rolled these questions around in my head. I think
since we are so big on diversity, we cannot possibly teach on such a
personal level without injecting opinions on how we would raise our own
children. My feelings are, that in 1 hour a week I cannot possibly fully
educate (including differing religious beliefs and customs) on subjects
such as sexual morality, with all else there is to work with in scouting.
However, I think there are many other ways to give our scouts the tools
to deal with these issues, that are already available in scouting. As
they grow in scouting they learn...
**respect for myself and others,
**how to handle it if someone violates them (whether physically or
**self-confidence, especially to stand up to peer pressure,
**decision making through thought processes,
**where to go to find answers to their questions, (be that to a book or
**not to be afraid to use adults as counselors, or for guidance,
**self-reliance, to not be afraid to depend on their instincts,
**diversity, in respecting and learning about people's differences.
**treating others as equals
**how to communicate
...and so many others.
I do like the fact that GS's has contemporary issues available if you
should find a subject that is affecting the troop as a whole. It will
give you some guidance to help the troop understand what is happening to
them as a whole, or one of them (which in turn is affecting the troop).
But, I do not believe issues such as these should be normally discussed
as a part of scouting when instead we should be teaching and reinforcing
the tools of life such as some of those I've stated above.
For example... taken from the Cadette Girl Scout Handbook...
AT WHAT AGE DOES DATING BEGIN:
Some girls begin to date at a younger age than others. For some, dating
may start at 12 or 13; others may begin at 16 or 17. There's no right
time to start. Consider your own feelings and needs. How does your
family feel about your dating?
Now, I personally do not believe a girl should be dating at 12 or 13.
If the majority of the parents in our troop were to let their daughters
date at 12, my child after reading and discussing this with them would
feel I was being very unfair ("Everyone else is doing it"). And may
cause several years of friction between my daughter and I.
Scouting should be supporting the family structure and development, not
breaking it down. It should be reinforcing any moral decisions a family
might have, and teaching the scouts to relish in their differences.
When these issues are put in writing, such as in a scout handbook, then
it follows that each leader will teach only to the best of their
knowledge. Without a doubt I'm ashamed to say, I have met many leaders
that I don't agree with what may go on in their house, but that is not
any of my business, as long as it doesn't come into the scout troop.
Hopefully we as scout leaders know we must show exemplary behavior both
in and out of uniform as the scouts watch us very closely. But the fact
that we are there to give them someone to model after is an excellent way
to teach. When we teach that behaviors that may be appropriate at their
homes, but not in the troop, this tells them that different things have
different rules. The same rules do not apply for everything. When found
in a situation these kids begin to search out their boundaries, or rules.
When thrown into an unknown situation that seems to have no rules, they
have hopefully learned enough about themselves and others to set their
own rules for themselves and what they want out of life.
--shoot, I just crushed the soapbox!--
Lisa Varner <<LAVarner@juno com>>
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