scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: Re: merit badges
Cheryl Singhal (csinghal@CAPACCESS.ORG
Wed Nov 10 1999 - 08:38:44 CST
On Fri, 5 Nov 1999, Ed Thompson wrote:
> Bob Taylor wrote:
> > some boys may "be too shy" to go make
> > contact with an adult they do not already know.
> Len Christiansen wrote
> >For this particular obstacle you might offer to go with the Scout to
> >introduce him to the merit badge counselor and get their relationship
> Fortunately or not, this may be one aspect of the merit badge program which
> needs to change. Many parents, and I am one of them, do not want our kids in
> ANY program which requires them to make cold contacts with adults they do
> not know. Perhaps I was paranoid, but like many other parents I spent many
Well, I can certainly understand teaching the kids not to respond to
cold-contact from a stranger, but approaching a stranger is a different
kettle of fish.
"DON'T ask a stranger" can sometimes translate to: "you don't know that
cop, you can't ask for help" Kids *are* literal little beings. Now, you
and I and the rest of the adults know what you meant was "don't ask a
stranger for a quarter for ice cream, or for a ride home, or for a
coat." But Randy Rug-Rat thinks getting out of trouble is a favor and
doesn't ask for help from the stranger paid to give help.
> They learned their lessons well (which is good) and it will take many years
> for them to "unlearn" them as they make the transition through the teenage
Some of them NEVER unlearn it. I know people in their 80s and 90s who
won't call a doctor they don't know.
> approach may have worked thirty-five years ago when I was a scout and
> parents did not teach their kids to avoid strangers but, sadly, times have
Trust me on this one: something was *wrong* if you weren't taught not to
take candy from strangers 35 yrs ago! My 70+ yr old mother was taught
that in her youth in a small, in-grown, rural community where strangers
*were* from out of town.
But, there is a worse lesson being learned than is being taught, I'm
afraid, and we're just beginning to see the results of it.
My mother was taught, I was taught, I taught my son: DON'T accept
anything from a stranger without checking with an authority figure (mom,
dad, a teacher, the pundit, someone you've always known).
My younger sister's sons learned the same thing at home, but they're
being taught by the schools, by Scouting, TV, newspapers, and every youth
organization around: it may be safer to accept a ride with a stranger
than with the Nice Old Man Next Door who may have impure motives.
So -- bottom line: my nephews are *learning* not to trust anyone but
themselves. I'm not at all convinced a 14-yr-old should be that
untrusting, that suspicious, that paranoid.