Scouts-L Mail Archive for May of 1999: Re: Parental suggestions and what do I do with those?
Re: Parental suggestions and what do I do with those?
Jim Miller Sr.
Sat, 1 May 1999 09:00:33 -0400
John Conley [SMTP:iti@FRONTIERNET.NET] said:
Frankly, I would think you would have your hands full offering a
Scouting program. There are tons of other good things to teach
but we can't realistically incorporate them all into Scouting.
The two suggestions for inclusion in the program had to do with
differences and violence (I think, I'm not familiar with the particular
program mentioned), and manners, for lack of a better word.
Both of these things can and should be part of the Scouting program. In
addressing the first, we have a very good program in Scouting called
"Ethics in Action" which has many elements related to this topic. Very
few units seem to use it, but it is there and is IMNSHO very good.
In relation to the second, we have the perfect opportunity to deal with
"manners" every time we sit down to eat in our patrols. In most
central-dining-hall camps that I have seen, boys take turns acting as
waiter at tables occupied by their patrol/troop. Usually there is an at
least one adult at each table. In one camp that became part of our
council in a merger, they had a plaque on the wall on which the various
utensils used for eating were glued in there proper places. The
"waiters" were required to set the table following the example on the
plaque. In this way, each boy during his turn as waiter learned to set
a table "properly."
Theoretically at least, proper table manners should be practiced at the
table, and the adult present should be prepared to point out breeches in
manners if the youth leadership fails to do so. There's absolutely no
excuse for eating at a boy scout camp should resemble "feeding at the
The major difference between scouting and (most) schools, is that in
scouting, we teach by "walking the walk" rather than "talking the talk."
We learn by doing rather than by being told. If we stick to that and
don't allow ourselves to be trapped into pedantic methods, we will
IMNSHO continue to be successful with turning wild youth into exemplary
adults. If we jump on the latest "hot topic" every time and give a
class, we'll lose them in droves - after all, why should they come to
scouts just to get more of school?
BTW, before the flames from teachers start, before I entered my present
profession, I worked in education. I taught, administered, and served
in the State Department of Education as a bureau director. I am
certified from classroom teacher, all the way up to superintendent of
schools so I have been there and done that. I realize that for some
things pedantic methods are the only way, but for the kind of things we
try to teach in scouting - character and leadership - they are useless
Run the program the way it was designed, hold the boys (and girls) to a
high standard of conduct within scouting, treat them with respect, allow
them to succeed or fail on their own, and the rest will follow.
Jim Miller, Sr.
ASTA # 3105