Bob Morehead (rmorehead@NLS.NET)
Mon, 27 Jul 1998 12:58:17 -0400
I've followed this thread with great interest from the beginning. I've
abstained from replying before now because I seem to find myself
squarely in the middle. There are points with which I agree and
disagree in both camps, so it took me a while to formulate a stance. :)
Chaplain Nix, with his well-written and thought-out contribution to the
thread has provided me with the opportunity to contribute my thoughts.
>These boys are VERY self-conscious; their egos are FRAGILE!
>To be laughed at in front of a group, and see the adults laughing also,
>end a Scout's career. Many of these boys are not tough enough, at age
>11, 12, 13, to deal with being laughed at. We are losing Scouts at a
>of 38% per year, every year, year in, year out. Any idea why they are
This is my point of departure for the hazing issue. Have my fellows on
the list grown so old they can't remember when they were 11, 12, 13?
Were THEY this fragile? I wasn't. Like the stepson another contributor
mentioned, I was tall, fat and unpopular as a boy. (The tall and fat
hasn't changed much;)) Because of this, I was made fun of a lot and,
yeah, it hurt. I was also made to sing for mislaid items. And you know
what? IT DIDN'T HURT! The reason is because this "ritual" was required
of EVERYBODY. It was a level playing field. And because of the "There
but by the grace of my memory go I" nature of it, people were laughing
WITH me not AT me.
I worry about what we're losing in the way of memories and lessons by
what, in a sudden, irrational fit of overprotectiveness, we're choosing
to label "hazing."
Some of my fondest memories of Scouting as a boy come from being
"hazed." I've been sent after 100 feet of shoreline, left-handed smoke
shifters and skyhooks (Ahhh! The Classics!). At a summer camp closing
campfire, I was publicly given a commemorative "plaque" (made with
magic-marker and paper plates) to memorialize being thrown into a pile
of horse doo-doo by a bucking donkey in a rodeo. Another summer, I got
"The Gizmo." Now, by all the definitions I've seen in this thread, the
Gizmo is hazing. To me, it's a game. The Gizmo, you see, is a
brightly-painted tongue depressor swiped from the Health Lodge. The
object is for the boys and adults to secretly slip it onto another
person without getting caught. Whoever had it at mealtime publicly got
a "reward." It could be a free slushy at the Trading Post or it could
be climbing a stepladder to give our gigantic moosehead a big kiss, or
anything else our creative staff could think of. I gave ol' Bullwinkle
a big wet one! All of these memories are precious to me. Thank God for
Which leads me to the lessons. All these incidents of "hazing" taught
me the second-most valuable lesson I ever learned (the first was, of
course, Christ), and that was the ability to laugh at myself. They
turned a morose, depressed fat kid who took himself far too seriously
into a jolly, gregarious fat kid who took himself only as seriously as
was absolutely necessary. All this worry about the fragility of our
Scouts makes me wonder if, maybe, they aren't taking themselves too
seriously and could use a lesson in how to laugh at themselves. It's a
tough, cruel world out there. I don't know how I could face it, myself,
without that ability.
The final point? Lighten up, people! Kids aren't that fragile, it's
all in good fun and this IS supposed to be a game!
ASM, Troop 381
"The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts
agree, is by accident. That's where we come in; we're computer
professionals. We cause accidents." - Nathaniel Borenstein
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City