Re: Hazing--public humiliation
Ed Darrell (EDarr1776@AOL.COM)
Fri, 16 May 1997 11:36:13 -0400
In a message dated 97-05-16 09:59:03 EDT, c60clg1@CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU (golden
<< For Tom it was quite a different thing. He felt very hurt and
humiliated, and probably worse yet betrayed by someone he trusted. I
took him aside and tried to apologize and explain things to him as best I
could. He said he was going to quit the Troop and never go camping again.
Eventually things returned back to normal and Tom seemed to be enjoying
himself again. I hope he enjoyed the remainder of the campout, since it
was his last involvement in Scouting. He made good on his promise, he
never came to another meeting or activity, he quit Scouting. >>
I hope no one can top this one.
Our oldest son has great difficulty dealing with being the butt of any joke,
any time, anywhere. Though gifted, he has not yet figured out that revenge
isn't the best way to set things straight. You humiliate a gifted kid, and
you'd be amazed at the escalation in paybacks. We're working on it.
One thing I've found that works is telling him about the amazingly dumb
things kids do to one another. Then, sometimes, when he sees it happening,
he can short-circuit the process, dealing with the problem mentally rather
I consult with large companies (small ones, too) about teamwork. One of the
hallmarks of true teamwork is that team members stick up for members of the
team. Bobby Bonilla may be feuding with eight other guys on whatever
baseball team he's on at the moment -- but if the pitcher from the opposing
team dusts one of the eight, Bonilla's off the bench and into the brawl with
What happens if, instead of tweaking members of your own troop/team, you hold
a pre-camp inoculation session of all the old, tired hazing routines you know
of, with a good discussion about why hazing is bad, how it damages troop
spirit, and how to prevent it? And how about you develop some strategies for
how to deal with other poor suckers who wander into your campsite on hazing
wild goose chases? One of our colleagues on this list mentioned that one of
the Eagles in his troop gladly volunteers to go fan the smoke at the
perpetrator of the hoax -- one Eagle being left-handed, he thus fits the
definition of a left-handed smoke shifter.
Championship teams don't humiliate each other. To the extent they play jokes
on one another, they play jokes only on those who appreciate that brand of
humor, and whose egos are big enough that they will not be humiliated. Even
then they are rare. Hazing almost always is an exercise in disrespect. Even
when the hazee takes it in good stride, the clear message is that the hazee
is an outcast from the group, not a full-fledged "member," whatever that may
Making kids full members, being loyal to them, helping them to avoid
humiliation, being a trustworthy enough friend that they know you'll have the
courtesy to tell them when they should have their guard up -- these things
will make for better troops, and better kids.
Can we warn kids against hoaxes no better than hoaxing them? Experience
keeps a dear school, Ben Franklin warned; part of our job is to make certain
it isn't more brutal than it needs to be.
Ed Darrell, Duncanville, Texas
P.S. -- Now I read on and see Stephen Featherkile's post. He said it
better, but I'll send this as an affirmation.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City