Re: Totin' Chip and Hazing
Ian N Ford (ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Sat, 10 May 1997 16:39:13 +0100
I feel it is important to differentiate between hazing / humiliation and
the need to maintain certain standards, particularly standards of conduct
that relate to safety and the welfare of the group.
I avoid the use of words like " punishment " in Scouting - after all, the
kids who participate in our programs are volunteers, they come because
they want to be part of the Scouting organization. We are working with
kids who have voluntarily committed themselves to a code of values when
they made their Promise and put on the uniform.
However, we are all falible, and there are times when we need to be
reminded of what those standards are. Youngpeople in particular are prone
to get " carried away " and act impulsively or without thinking through
the consequences of their actions. So we have rules to provide structure,
and explicit consequences for those who break the rules.
I would suggest that it is appropriate to enforce <appropriate>
consequences for failure to comply with the accepted rules and norms. So
a Scout who misuses a knife may lose the right to carry one until he has
re-qualified by demonstrating that he knows the safety rules ; the Scout
who skives off his turn for clean-up gets re-rostered to do it at a later
time. These consequences are <relevant> to the act or omission that
constitutes the " offence ".
What is inappropriate is discipline that does not reinforce either the
values of Scouting nor an understanding of <why> a particular act was
inappropriate. So belt-lines, push-ups, humiliation etc. are inappropriate.
They are also less effective, because they leave the individual being
punished with a sense of grievance.
We should be providing a " safe space " in Scouting where young people
can learn and grow. How can we expect Scouts to respect each other's
feelings and at the same time condone forms of discipline that rely on
humiliation ? The (UK) Scout Association has as part of its Scout Law
" A Scout has self-respect and respect for others " and that, for me,
sums it up. We are talking about helping kids to develop self-control
and self-respect. We are talking about promoting the values of being
trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind ... I believe
that it is no mistake that BSA puts " obedient " after those six ...
if we get those other six right, if our Scouts are being friendly and
considerate and so on, then " obedience " to external rules is not a
Ian N Ford
Special Needs Adviser, Greenwich District Scout Council, London UK
Trainer / Committee Member, Channel District, Transatlantic Council BSA
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City