Scouts-L Mail Archive for October of 1998: Re: Help with Parent/Scoutmaster Question
Re: Help with Parent/Scoutmaster Question
Wed, 30 Sep 1998 09:01:10 -0400
Murphy Peter <MurphyP@TCE.COM> wrote:
> As my son's Scoutmaster, I know more about his daily behavior than
> I do about other boys in the troop. Would I be out of line to say his
> behavior at home does not "demonstrate ... living the Scout Oath
> (Promise) and Scout Law in your everyday life" and thus delay his
> advancement until he corrects his behavior?
[lots of detail removed]
I cannot tell you how to treat your son, but I can tell you that the hardest
job in the troop for a boy is to be the Scoutmaster's son. My son lets me know
this regularly through his behavior, and I find that I am indeed often harder
on him than I would be other Scouts. I've been disciplining him much longer,
and I care about him more than I do the other boys, and I have high
expectations for him that he often does not meet. No shame in that. He's my
son for crying out loud. I cannot stop being his father just because I'm his Scoutmaster.
On this particular question, I guess I would ask how you determine that the
other boys are living the Scout Oath and Law? Do you ask them? Do you take
their word on the answer they give you? Do you ask their parents? Teachers?
Friends? Coaches? Provide examples of behavior that doesn't meet the goal, and
look for chances to apply this to their lives?
I can tell you what I do. I ask the boy to describe to me how he has applied
the Scout Oath and Law to his daily life. I tell him I'm going to ask this
"next week at your SM Conference" and that he needs to think carefully about
this, take notes if he wants, and we'll have a personal, private conversation
about it. If he comes in unprepared, or says "Gee I don't know." Then we talk
for a while anyway, and reschedule the SM conference. Until the boy is ready
to tell me how he demonstrates Scout spirit, he's not ready to advance. The
reflection required on the boy's part to have a meaningful discussion about
this one point will be worth every minute spent.
You need to understand and judge this carefully - both in your son and the
other boys in the Troop. You will have to separate yourself somewhat from
being a father, and treat the boys equally if fairness is part of your plan.
It's not easy - lots of us know that as well. Don't be harder on him just
because he lives with you. That's hard enough on him as it is when it comes to
being part of the troop, and not the Scoutmaster's son.
Tim Hewitt, Scoutmaster
Troop 350, Old Orchard Beach, Maine