Ian N Ford (ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Thu, 28 Nov 1996 22:18:51 +0000
What is going on here, guys ? Why are we in this outfit ? I thought it
was about helping kids to develop ... something about growing up to be
physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight as the BSA Oath
has it. Several people wrote about " teaching " kids ... yes we do teach
kids, but not by instruction alone.
If we kick out the difficult kids what are we teaching the others ? Yes,
we are teaching them knots and first aid and campcraft, and it is easier
for us and easier for them , and they get their advancement.
But we are also teaching them that some individuals who don't share our
values, who come from the wrong side of the tracks, who have
disabilities or maybe are " just not the sort of people for us " are
worthless and can be discarded. We are teaching our Scouts that their
own personal goals are all that matters, that they do not need to learn
to tolerate others who don't do things their way or at their pace. We are
teaching them that leadership is about doing it my way or get out of my way.
I have a kid in my Cub pack who would recognise this attitude. Some
adults decided that he did not fit in ... only that was in Rwanda. No
matter that he was a kid ... he was from the wrong tribe, so they shot him.
Nothing personal, you understand. Just he didn't fit in with their view
of how society ought to be.
Of course there is a VAST difference between bouncing kids who don't fit in
a Scout troop and what is happening in Africa, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan
and any one of the dozens of places where the civil rights are being
violated in pusuit of sectarian aims. WE never discriminate ... we can
always justify our actions on the basis of the greater good, or not
having the resources or any other number of rationalizations.
I am not saying that we should hang on to every kid however difficult ...
merely that we should at least make the effort to understand young people
who do not immediately endear themselves to us. Before we write off
individuals we should give them a chance.
If you are not prepared to take an illiterate and innumerate / thick /
stupid/ worthless kid shopping then try to find someone who can. Maybe
somebody who <can> spell psychologist or dyslexia ... or maybe someone
who can explain the meaning of helping other people at all times, and not
just those who we like or who are like us.
If you are not prepared to spend the time helping kids to overcome their
problems, at least make sure that you reject them in a way that will not
leave them more bitter and rejected by society. And be thankful that if
they turn out to be vandals or hooligans that nice people pay taxes to
employ social warders and prison officers to deal with the human trash.
Above all, remember that there is more rejoicing in the halls of the
self-righteous over the ninety nine that stay in the fold than in the
return of the one who is missing, and that anybody who says otherwise is
probably a wooly-minded anarchist who has given up a promising job as
a self-employed carpenter to become a trendy teacher and social worker.
And who wants that type in their troop ? Not good for discipline, is it ?
Ian N Ford
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City