Re: Wayward Willie and the Tolerance of Youth
Ron Raab-Long (raablong@VOICENET.COM)
Wed, 11 Jun 1997 16:08:07 -0400
At 11:20 AM 6/10/97 -0700, Chuck Bramlet, ASM Troop 323, wrote:
>We seem to be losing our tolerance for the mistakes and exuberance of
>youth, I believe to the detriment of society. If we have succeeded in
>sending the message "One screw up, and you may as well kiss it goodbye",
>is it any wonder that the teenage suicide rate is soaring? At least we
>are told it is.
>Even on this list! "If he can't make all the meetings, he shouldn't be
>in the Troop". "If he can't handle the job of SPL, he shouldn't be one!"
Hear! Hear! Chuck makes many valid points. We as a society are holding
children up to standards we never came close to reaching when we were young.
To Chuck's litany of the ridiculus let me add another. Here in Delaware
last fall a first grader was charged with sexual hassasment when he
accidentally reached up to his teacher, who had turned away, and touched her
rear end. School rules required her to report the incident, and the school
was required to call the police. This is crazy!
Our schools now have what is termed "zero tolerance" for drugs or
violence. Sounds good doesn't it. Consider the Japanese exchange student
we have living with us this year. She had cramps one day and asked to be
excused to take one of the pills she had brought from Japan. It was only
through the intervention of the Nurses Aide that kept her from being
expelled. The aide put herself in a position to lose her job. (She
happened to be the wife of a Scoutmaster)
Look at violence. Our school district (and I believe all Delaware
schools due to state law) have a policy whereby any fighting must be
reported to the police, and all parties will be suspended immediately. Even
the innocent person who is trying to protect themselves or defend someone
else. Forget heroes! In our school, heroes will be prosecuted!
This knee jerk reaction to very real problems needs to be addressed
on a National level. Its the same mentality that has led to many American
taking no personal responsibility for their actions. I want to scream when
I hear about the people who sue companies or individuals for something THEY
did. The woman who spilled coffee on herself at the McDonalds drive thru -
then sued, AND WON! The people who slip on a sidewalk then sue the owner.
The owner didn't trip them - they did it themselves. If you ever want to
complain about insuranace costs - start with stupid lawsuits. The right
amount of stupidity and a good lawyer is all you need to get ahead.
How does this tirade relate to scouting in general or Wayward Willie
in particular? Willie needs to apologize for his prank, and thats all it
was, but it shouldn't cost him his scouting career, or his school career.
We are here to teach and instill character and citizenship. As someone else
stated earlier, if they were already perfect they wouldn't need scouting.
But we Scouters would sure need them!
One of the traits of good citizenship is taking responsibility for
your actions, but one of the traits of the common teenager is to test his
boundaries. Kids are going to mess up. Thats OK. Tell them what they did
wrong, tell them what they should have done, agree on a "penance" that fits
the transgression,' then for God's sake move on. I can't imagine the head
of the church wanting to expell Willie. Forgiveness has always been a tenet
of the Christian religion. Wasn't it the Founder of the church who said,
"Let he who is without sin cast
the first stone."
Sorry for the rambling - but I feel much better now.
CC, Troop 903 District Recognition Dinner Chairman
Boy Scout Training Coordinator Dad
Of all the jobs I do, I like Dad the best!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City