scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: SM or PLC?
Tue Mar 14 2000 - 12:37:47 CST
>Who should address this situation and meet out any disciplinary measures?
>The PLC or the Committee/Disciplinary Arm thereof?
>Who should address any other issue not involving physical harm, i.e.,
>cigarettes on a campout, girly magazines on a campout, sneaking a beer on a
Lots of good post, none right or wrong really because Troop disapline is a
function of experiences and goals of the adults. I don't think we can really put
disciplinary actions in categories of PLC or Adults for two reasons; First,
Scouting is a hands-on program where the boys learn from their experience in the
Troop. And second, the adults don't see most of the Scouts misbehaviors. We
can't discipline what we don't know, so the alternative is to work with the
Scouts to understand right from wrong and discipline themselves. I know there
are occurrences where we adults have to enforce full disciplinary actions, but
in most cases it's more because the Scouts don't have the experience yet, not
because we are adults. Scouting is the safe place to give them that experience.
I guess the real question is how should we adults get involved with the Scouts
discipline? On the whole, Scouts don't like most misbehavior anymore than adults
when it's put in the context of choosing right or wrong. Misbehavior is usually
just a matter of ignoring the Scout law or Oath when making a choice. Our job is
teach them the consequences of choosing the wrong actions which violate the
Scouts need to understand the destruction from bad behavior. Do your Scouts
understand what is considered misbehavior and why it's wrong. I mean, what is so
wrong with girlie magazines? What about talking dirty or cussing? What's the big
deal if it doesn't physically hurt anyone? Does the Scout feel that you are
punishing him for his own good, or yours? I once watched a SM chew out a Scout
for not looking strait ahead while standing in Troop formation. Did he
understand the importance of that? When you issue punishment for a wrong
decision, are you sure the Scout knew why that action was wrong. Really that's
what discipline comes down to, doe's the Scout understand the wrong in his
decision to misbehave.
Who has the problem when a few of Scouts disturb the camp by talking after
lights out, the adults or the SPL? Who has the problem if those Scouts choose to
ignore the SPL's request to whisper? A SM once took a group of Scouts on a
midnight hike after they ignored the SPL's request. It was a pleasant hike with
the SM pointing out stars, animals and other things along the trail. About
midway on the trail, the SM stopped and asked about curtesy and kindness, and
how that applied to the other Scouts they were disturbing. He asked them their
definition on respect, and how that applied to boy leadership in the Troop. The
next day a couple of adults talked about SM's hike being a disciplinary action.
After a little thought, the SM said he wasn't really looking to punish them,
just get their attention without raising a voice or showing anger.
The original idea of Scouting is that the Scout MASTER (adult leader) is someone
with experience and wisdom to guide boys during struggle and adversity. Some say
a MASTER of Scouting, but I think it's MASTER of life. We are given some
direction here. BE ROLE MODELS OF THE SCOUT AND LAW. Our job, should we decide
to take it seriously is to guide these guys into developing habits that help
them instill habits that we want in our husbands, fathers and civic leaders.
Personally I can't think of very many cases of misbehavior where the adults
shouldn't include the Scouts. The more real life situations Scouts are exposed
to with experienced adult role models, the more experience they have for
situations without adults. I have found the more freedom we give them to enforce
good behavior in the Troop, the more they want guidance from us. They usually
present their experiences to the Scout MASTERS to seek approval for a job well
done. Because they know the Scout MASTERS will praise the effort and guide the
The answer isn't perfectly clear, but the goal is, build men of character and
leaders of integrity. There is no other youth organization I can think of that
encourages boys to learn from experience with the safe guidence of Masters of
Have a great Scouting week.