Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Lent ("Doing Without")
Lent ("Doing Without")
Fri, 26 Feb 1999 02:59:10 -0600
I originally posted this a while back (about a year or two ago). I
was supposed to post this at the start of Lent to give those units
struggling with how to incorporate "religious upbringing" within
Scouting "without making it a religious upbringing item".
It's called "Doing Without" and was part of the mounds of papers
that I've got here at the homestead:
Part of the great times spent as a Scoutmaster is having to work
with some really smart Scouts. As their new Scoutmaster, I asked
them in 1984 when I took over my "home Troop", Troop 225, what ten
things would they "do without". I got a long list, which included
the names of siblings (mostly girls), school, AFN (American
Forces Network, which provides radio and television to Americans
living in Europe, and which isn't really as great as American
television or radio back home), and some other thoughtful things
like "English", gasoline, "the RB PX" (the Robinson Barracks Post
Exchange was at that time the largest Post Exchange in
Europe....four stories and a basement!), "snacks" and some other
To narrow it down, I had them to work within their patrols to come
up with one thing that they would agree to "do without" and that
the Patrol Leader would have to bring that one thing (and a
"tie-breaker" in case some other patrol came up with theirs before
we got to them) to the Patrol Leaders' Council (PLC) meeting.
At the PLC meeting, the list was gathered, and a coin toss by the
Senior Patrol Leader determined which ones gets discussed about
first, second, third and last at the Troop meeting.
That list was: cars, yelling, change, and chocolate.
During the Troop meeting, we would spend thirty minutes within
"Patrol Corners" talking about how we would "do without" the items.
The Patrols would then come to the "forum" (the last thirty minutes
of the meeting), whereby we would come up with "strageties for
doing without" the item. We showed "western movies" to round
up the rest of the meeting. Each Scout/Scouter would be "on their
honor" to try their best to "do without" the item we talked about
and to be ready to share with the rest of us how hard or easy it
was to "do without" that item.
Good thing my unit didn't go "on alert" during that week I did
without my car; I handed my keys to my wife and asked her to keep
the car all week from me. I walked as I did when I was younger to
work (2km both ways) and resisted the urge to get rides, even when
my own soldiers would pull over and ask me if I needed one. Hard to
explain "I'm doing this as part of my Scout troop" to them,
especially when it was COLD outside and nice and
WARM inside their vehicles!
Chocolate was the hardest for me to do without, as it was for a lot
of Scouts in my Troop. I love chocolate, and enjoy eating a
Hershey's bar with almonds with my coffee at lunchtime. There were
a lot of things that came out from the Troop's experiences in
"doing without". A couple of my Scouts related it to their
religious upbringing, which created a different direction of
discussion one week in which I kinda ended it by inviting in
our Rabbi and a Chaplain to explain better than I could the ideas
of fasting and how it related to religious life.
(funny how some Scouting things just move right on over to our
religious lives, huh??)
The biggest thing that they learned was that they actually "could
do it if they really had to do it". A lot of my Scouts' families
would call me up and ask me (especially while we were "doing
without" cars and yelling) and ask me "what my son says was true",
and that he's not supposed to holler or ride with me in a car".
They would try to participate as well, with some families telling
me that "it's easier for the kid in Scouts than it was for us and
the other children not in Scouts" to "do without".
The Scouts enjoyed it, and after thinking about it, I did too. We
make it a "rule" that we can't do the same Troop program thing for
a year. So, in 1986, they chose to "do that "doing without thing"
again, and we chose "cokes" (the adults had to do without coffee),
gasoline, food, TV, and "music". They wanted to "do without
school", but I said that it was along the lines of water: you HAVE
to go to school and you HAVE to have and use water (be
some smelly Scouts without it!)!!
I wasn't with the Troop when they did the "do without" month in
September, but I did hear from the new Scoutmaster (my first
assistant SM) who told me that "doing without gasoline was ROUGH on
me...." (he had to take the train and walk to his military post in
Stuttgart for a week) but they really had fun with the "week
We gained fifteen new Scouts during the month, and they got to
watch "war movies" to round out that first month of the new program
Ask your Patrol Leaders' Council what they think of "doing without"
and seeing if you can incorporate this into one month of your
Troop's program. I don't recommend doing this every month, because
the "novelity" of doing this will wear off quickly; and don't
offer any kind of "prize" for the Scout or Patrol that has "done
without" for the longest period of time.
Let the idea of "Scouts' Honor" and "doing without" work withing
their lives and soon, you'll hear things like:
"You really don't need that coffee, Mike....remember, you done
without it a while back...."
"Cars?? What happened before we all had cars??"
"What would happen if you woke up and all of the telephones were
removed and those left you had to use only in an true emergency?"
(c) 1999 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.mninter.net/~blkeagle Burnsville, MN 55306-7130 (612) 435-3068
privately at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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