Re: Scouts and Alcohol
Jeff Bogart (jeffbogart@LUCENT.COM)
Mon, 25 Aug 1997 09:39:51 -0600
> Chris Reisel wrote:
> This was posted on Scouts-L and I had to respond:
>> ...I've told them they MUST do it at home, if they must
>> experiment with it at all!!! I want to SEE it and be here to
>> "supervise"...now, don't misread that! I don't happen to like it!!!
> The idea that a scouter espouses a viewpoint that is so radical
> and she does so while representing the scouting program really
> makes me want to cry.
I don't think the original poster was responding as representing the
scouting program. I think they were responding as a parent and I have
taken the same stance with our two boys. I would not presume to use the
same criteria in my scout troop! I also think there were enough caveats
about not approving in general to indicate that it is not a preferred
We served our kids wine with dinner on special occasions and now they,
27 and 31 respectively, both have some very strong feelings about
alcohol abuse and I think as parallels, drug abuse. (We never had that
> not in keeping with these 3 aims.
> 1. Citizenship--Being an upstanding member means living within the
> laws set out by our legislators and if there is a law we don't like
> we work within the system to change that law.
Thoreau has a wonderful essay on civil disobedience. It is within the
system to ignore certain laws as a way of drawing attention to them. Of
course, you may have to pay the price and that's your choice. Many
> 2. Character--we provide growth in teaching them to be strong in
> character. Again, teaching a child to abuse a law and that it is
> okay just because they are doing it in front of a parent is eroding
> strong character traits.
You're right that "just because they are doing it in front of a parent"
does not build character. Character building is making good choices and
being willing to stand by them and in some cases live with the
consequences of your choices. This is a tough one because it does not
center around just one issue like this. It has to be integrated into
everything we teach our kids and the biggest teacher is our own
example. The kids have to be in on family discussions about why we as
parents choose to do certain things or act in certain ways and the
freedom and comfort level to disagree with us and say so.
We in Scouting often talk about "traditional values". I have never
understood what that means because I can assure you that if any 2 of us
were to try to list those values, our lists would be different in
content and different in priority. Hopefully there would be a lot of
common threads. I suspect "traditional values" means those on which we
were raised. But I'll bet our own parents would argue that our values
are different than theirs (and probably not as good).
> 3. Fitness--Not only physical, but mental and emotional. I believe on all
> three of these points having your child smoke or drink in front of you is
> counterproductive for teaching fitness.
Fitness has more to do with abuse than with responsible use of any
substance. Responsible use may mean abstinence! The argument continues
to rage over whether pot is physically addictive. It's interesting that
tobacco has been shown to be addictive but we don't get overly aggresive
about keeping that away from our kids! It's interesting that obesity is
a national health problem but we don't take it seriously (including me -
I love a big baked potato slathered in butter, salt and sour cream!)
Jeff Bogart ~ **** **** o
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