Re: various things
Jon Dixon (dixonj@ROCOCO.COLORADO.EDU)
Sat, 14 Feb 1998 11:27:42 -0500
J. Hugh Sullivan wrote:
> Jon Dixon <email@example.com> wrote:
> >The place where leadership truly comes in for Eagle is in the
> Or, as SPL, JASM and Den Chief. Or, leading Present Colors - or
> running the troop meeting.
But none of these are required to be an Eagle. The project is the only
thing which explicitly requires leadership for Eagle.
> I see BSA and society lumping everyone into one great mass as opposed
> to separating people by ability. Each should proceed at his pace - not
> the group's pace. The aim is to outdistance the group as I see it.
I believe the BSA continues to allow each boy to proceed at his own
pace. That is why we have some who get Eagle at 13, some who get it at
18, and some who never get it. But the goal is not to outdistance the
group. The goal is to lead the group, and help them achieve. When the
old PL handbooks talk about the PL keeping ahead on advancement, it
isn't so he can look back at his patrol members; it is so that he can
continue to help them along the path. Scouting (and life) are not
races, but experiences.
> >The BSA is trying
> >to continue to make the program relevant to modern society..
> You view that as desirable? Relevant - yes.
Yes, I view being relevant as desirable. We need not conform ourselves
to society, but if we are irrelevant then what is the point of existing?
I don't want to be an anachronism. I want to be able to be a scout in
the modern world.
> >Actually, all of Scouting has always been pass/fail; you
> >either complete the requirement or you don't.
> So, everyone is SPL or Lodge Chief? I think they earn rank and they
> get ranked.
Well, even the elections are pass/fail in some sense, since you either
get elected or don't. But just because you fail once doesn't mean you
can't try again.
> Isn't it all about performance? The better one performs, the higher
> rank; the better one performs, the higher the pay. I, for one, don't
> wish to
> see that distinction blurred or lost. Grades in school mostly indicate
> conscientiousness. The value of school is that it teaches us to
> problems, assess and utilize our resources and proceed to the optimum
> solution. In life you can use the book if necessary.
No it isn't. At least in Scouting, one reaches ranks based on having
met a set of predetermined requirements. You are not a higher grade of
First Class Scout if you can tie your knots a little faster. Performing
better at work doesn't mean that you get paid more, and being a better
student does not mean you will get better grades than someone else. As
mentioned in Ecclesiastes 9:11, the better person does not always come
out ahead. (just reflect on the popularity of Dilbert)
I also don't see grades in school as promoting striving for an optimum
solution. Especially amongst those students most concerned about
grades, they promote the idea of figuring out how to get by with as
little effort as possible to still pull the expected grade. I've lived
in that group, and I've seen what it can be like. I've known people who
feel that not getting an A will end their lives, and I've known of
people for whom it did. There are some schools and classes where the
competition for the grade is such that people will steal the course
notes from the library to place their classmates at a disadvantage, or
purposely mislead someone on a homework assignment so you can get a
better grade, or illegally take Ritalin for the extra boost (as the
Boston Globe talked about today), or any of the thousands of tricks to
get the grade. Ultimately, this leaves people isolated, mistrustful,
and brings the level of learning down rather than up. But this is what
"getting the grade" often winds up meaning.
> A comment for Chris: Welcome back but, if everyone could earn Eagle,
> what's the point in earning Eagle?
(Almost) every male in the country between about 11 and 18 could earn
Eagle. The point is that most will not, either through lack of
opportunity or by choice. But think what this country would be like if
they all did earn Eagle. Consider what it would mean if all of this
nations teen-agers were actively showing Scout spirit. If they all had
the life-skills taught by the merit badges. If they had learned of
responsibility and leadership, and had shown they value both. Scouting
is not a zero-sum game; others achieving Eagle does not take away from
my own achievement. Quite the contrary, my greatest achievement is
likely to be helping others to similarly achieve.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City