Re: Merit Badge Irregularity
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Thu, 28 Aug 1997 12:44:33 -0400
> From: dave livingston <dliving@MINN.NET>
> Date: Thursday, August 28, 1997 8:54 AM
> Sorry, but I have to disagree totally, all of these problems rest solely
> with the adult that did not do the job correctly as the merit badge
I still think that just because the adult says something is okay does not
mean that the Scout is absolved from ALL responsibility if it is not. One
of the primary things I believe we are supposed to be teaching in this
whole process is that the Scout has to accept personal responsibility for
his actions, INCLUDING the quality of his advancement.
> I tested my 12 year old on this. I simply asked him if the requirement
> a merit badge had a requirement to have another merit badge first, and
> didn't have it, told the counselor that, and the counselor said it
> matter, and you did all the other requirements, did you earn the badge.
> answer was, "yes, I did all that was required by the counselor. The
> counselor knows what he is doing. "
He may feel that way, but that does not necessarily make it right. If
your son handed a cashier $10 and received change from a $20 would you
accept "but the cashier must know what he is doing" as an acceptable
explanation and allow him to keep the extra $10? I don't think so. So
why would you allow him to "keep" the merit badge just because an adult
did not do his job properly?
I think the second question that should be asked after you get that first
answer is: "But to earn the badge you are supposed to complete all of the
requirements as listed in the Requirements Book. Do you believe you have
done so?" I think you will get a different answer to that question.
Again the technical rules provide that once the counselor has signed the
card the Scout is "entitled" to the badge, but that does not mean he has
to "accept" the badge and I contend that counseling and encouraging him to
"do the right thing" is probably one of the most important lessons
Scouting can teach him.
> All adults are authority figures to Scouts at various stages. How many
> "urban legends" have we gotten from Scouts from well-meaning adults who
> quoted as experts....?
But don't we, therefore, have to start early to teach them that not every
adult is right all of the time and that it is important for them to make
independent evaluations and if it doesn't seem right they should respond
accordingly. Isn't that the EXACT message we try to convey in teaching
them how to respond to abusive situations? "If it doesn't feel right you
shouldn't do it!" "Trust your instincts!", etc. To allow them to
function with the myth of "adults are always right" is not only wrong, but
Granted in the case of a 12 year old it might not be a case of "getting
over" on the system, but would you say the same if it were a 15 or 16 year
old who accepted this merit badge without having earned First Aid?
Bruce E. Cobern
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City