Re: Disability? Or not?
Anthony Mako (ajmako@NLS.NET)
Tue, 9 Jun 1998 14:09:51 -0400
<QUOTE> The problem with further advancement is that he can swim fine until
he gets into water over his head. ...he sighs and jumps...and we save
It sounds to me like this is a confidence problem, not a disability. You
probably need to sit down with this Scout and talk to him about ways he can
overcome this problem.
<QUOTE> Can I, in good conscience, advance him? Can I call this a
disability? (It could sorta be called a psychological disability)...I really
wanna advance this kid, and don't know what to do... </QUOTE>
As Bruce mentioned in his post, there is no requirement for the Scout to
jump into water over his head for First Class. Since he has no problem
swimming in shallow water, there is no reason to call his problem a
disability. Furthermore, since he already passed the Second Class
requirement, you would have a difficult time explaining why the First Class
requirement can't be passed.
Beyond that, it seems to me that this Scout needs to learn how to challenge
himself. From your description of him I would conclude that he suffers from
a lack of self-confidence, which is not a disability. You and he need to
discuss how he feels about the requirement and come to an agreement on how
to pass it. If he really wants to be an Eagle Scout, there is still time to
get it done (if he just turned 16, otherwise it may be too late). It will
not be easy, and there will be a lot of hard work on his part. If his
problem really IS a symptom of some sort of disability it would be evident
in home, school, AND Scouting. You should probably talk to his parents about
your perception, the Scout's goal, and what can be done. His parents may
know what the problem is, or may be able to shed some light on the
The important thing to remember is that a good way to build his
self-confidence is to set goals and achieve them. Sit down with him and look
at the time he has remaining before his 18th birthday. Go over the remaining
requirements so he can see just how much needs to be done in how much time.
The task may seem overwhelming to him at first, but that's all part of
building self-confidence. The next thing is to show him how to break this
overwhelming task into individually attainable tasks (i.e. you have to
complete Star before you can work on Life, etc.).
At a minimum, he has 16 months from the date of his First Class BOR to
complete the requirements for Eagle. But he has to finish Star first. He may
think it's impossible to earn 21 merit badges in 16 months. Does he think
it's possible to earn 6 merit badges in 4 months? Take everything one step
at a time. Above all, don't force him to do anything he's uncomfortable
with. HE has to force himself to do it. There will be times when he will try
once, fail, and give up. Simply telling him you know he can do it (and you
have to believe it), and asking him to try again may be enough. Sometimes
you'll have to guide him through a task, helping him break it down into
easily completed component tasks.
This may sound like a lot of hard work to go through just to help one Scout,
but it'll will be good for both of you in the end. He will learn that
extremely difficult tasks aren't as hard as they first look, and you will
get some valuable experience you can use to help other Scouts. He will learn
that success rarely comes on the first try, and you'll be a better leader
for having helped him. It may be easier to declare his problem a disability
and let him continue to advance, but what does that get him?
AJ Mako, firstname.lastname@example.org, Scoutmaster Troop 381
http://members.aol.com/Scouts381/ "Home of the Unofficial Boy Scout Desktop
Great Trail Council - Old Portage District - Akron, Ohio
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City