Scouts-L Mail Archive for April of 1999: Re: Here we go again but not the 3 G's
Re: Here we go again but not the 3 G's
James H. Moss
Fri, 23 Apr 1999 13:42:14 -0600
Troop Handbooks: Another Kill a Tree to Ignore Scouting Principles Program
Although the majority seemed to believe policy or handbooks are a waste of
time, some thought they were necessary so kids know what to do. I think
those people who believe this miss the point.
The Scout Oath and Law are simple. They were not designed to be the answer
to every question in life! They were designed to provide the framework to
answer the questions one faces in life. We have developed a society of
rules which for those lazy people in our midst allows them to meander along
without getting in trouble. Or seeing the world. SCOUTING IS NOT RULES!
Scouting is developing the ability to make decisions about life.
The rule is you must wear a uniform. That teaches nothing. Teaching the
reasons why uniforming is important, allows the Scout to make up his own
mind. He then has to think. Do I wear a uniform tonight? What day is it.
What our we doing. What is the purpose of the uniform.
The calendar says tonight is a court of honor. How many of us in life are
handed a calendar for our work or life. By handing out a calendar we are
spoon feeding information into kids. I get a have a calendar. It runs five
years in advance. Each new year is blank and I decided what to put on that
calendar. I decided if I needed a calendar. I decided what information is
needed on that calendar.
Worse, how many times have you walked into a kitchen and seen 4 or more
calendars for each kid on the refrigerator. Everyone hands out calendars
and we live our lives based on decisions made by someone else. A kid needs
to learn to what items should be part of his life and make up his own
calendar. Instead, we teach them to go to the refrigerator and flip through
pages, eating something while we do it.
As an 11 year old grows up he needs to learn how to make decisions. What
information do I need to pass on to my parents? What information must I
remember. What different components of information need to be linked
together. (Uniforms at courts of honor with court of honor on the 2nd
Monday of the month) Do I have the ability to remember this or should I
write it down. What type of writing do I need to remember things. Can I
just take notes or should I get a calendar.
We treat the parents the same way. Then we wonder why the parents consider
us babysitters. We hand the parents a list of items needed for their kid to
be a Scout. (Whether or not the parent can afford the list or not.) The
parent goes out and buys the list. One kid shows up with the best, one kid
shows up with the worst and one kid comes up with substitutions. The
Substitutions were bought because the parent did not know why the items on
the list were needed. Personal pot to boil water. Can be an 8 qt pot to a
mother who thinks, well there are 8 boys in a patrol. No one tells the
parent about the patrol equipment. (Unless you want to create another page
for the handbook.) Lists don't explain concepts or goals. Parents who are
handed a list can hand over a credit card and fell good about walking away
Rather than hand a list, explain patrol camping and the patrol method.
Better yet, use the material all ready provided. I have yet to see most
parent issues not explained in the BSA Handbook. Parents who read the
handbook understand the program and don't need lists. All your list is
doing is providing an excuse not to learn about Scouting. Parents who learn
about the program become involved in the program and their kids becomes a
success in the program.
"I would love to answer that question, but your son has a book that you can
read quickly that will not only answer that question, but 99% of your
questions about Scouting. It is called the Boy Scout Handbook. I encourage
all of you to read it."
"There is no running in the Scout room." Rule = broken = punishment. Big
whoop di doo. What growth opportunity have you provided for that kid. "We
need to act like Scouts in the Scout room." Kid must think, what does that
mean. How do Scouts Act? What controls a Scout's actions. When the Scout
Oath says obey the Scout law and the Scout law says Courteous and the choir
is practicing upstairs........ Or an adult can come in an make a rule. It
may be quicker for the Adult to require strict adherence to the rule and get
on with the program, but that Adult has missed the basic foundation of
Scouting. Program is the path the result. Don't follow the path so blindly
you miss the opportunity to read the sings along the road.
Look at the Scout. He is waiting for opportunity to grow and learn. You can
either stifle that opportunity by spoon feeding him the information needed
to "get through" Scouting or you can assist that young man in developing a
mental and moral framework that he can build his life on.
I stand in courtrooms every day and see kids say I did not know. They did
not know because they had been handed handbooks with the rules in them all
their lives and when they don't have a handbook, they don't know what to do.
No one ever made them think or made decisions for themselves. Go out to eat
with a 17 year old. It takes them 3 hours to order or they order the exact
same thing they ordered the last 56 times. No on taught them or allowed
them to make decisions.
All over America today parents are looking at their kids and saying, what is
my child involved in. You can answer that question for a parent as a
volunteer in Scouting by handing them a troop handbook or tell them to read
the BSA Handbook which tells them to get involved with their child.
Yesterday a young man was given a $50.00 ticket for wearing a trench-coat
into his school. He had been wearing the same trench-coat all year.
Thursday he was not allowed. His picture in the paper showed an expression
of absolute bewilderment. One day it was OK, the next day it was not. No
one told him the rules had changed. No one taught him how to think about
how the world was changed, and how that change was going to affect him.
Don't allow a handbook become the substitution for good leadership. For
Kids Sake, Don't Send Them Out in the World with out the Framework to Make
Decisions about their Own Rules to Live By!
Yours in Scouting
12340 W. Alameda Pkwy., Lakewood, CO 80228-2841
Eagle Class of 69, Vigil, Denver Area Council