scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: Excuse me, but...
John Wm. Unger (junger@ALPHA1.NET
Thu Mar 16 2000 - 11:23:07 CST
Let me clarify something about my original post, if I may.
1) I never intended to imply that following the steps I proposed would
answer all and any questions that one might have, nor that it would always
provide one with unambiguous and 100% accurate answers.
2) Neither did I intend to imply that all these steps have always worked
for me. Although I recommend going to ones Unit Commissioner, frequently a
Scouter has no idea who the UC is, and in some cases the UC has no idea what
the specifics of a program is. e.g., our UC (if it is who I believe it is)
has never worked with a Venturing Crew, nor our predecessor, an Exploring
Post, ergo (s)he has no way to really help me with questions about the
program. Similarly, I have had DEs from whom I have received answers only
after prolonged, persistent pestering, and DEs who sometimes could get me an
answer quickly, sometimes would forget in the press of other business.
Whence my advise to be patient and persistent.
3) Nor did I intend to imply that questions should not be asked on
Scout-L, nor that the answers supplied here were without value. The mere
existence of the List argues it's value, and it's purpose is blatantly to
provide a forum for questions to be asked.
That said, I will still maintain that the steps of taking all the
Training, reading all of the pertinent literature, and asking those above
one on the "ladder of responsibility" (to avoid "chain of command"
implications) will provide most of the answers one needs.
To respond to a couple of points:
Scenario: Scouter A takes training from Trainer Z. Scouter B takes the
same training from Trainer Y. However, Trainer Z and Trainer Y utter
(apparently) conflicting dictums concerning an issue. What then?
My response: Ask the individual the next step up for clarification. If
this is District Training, ask the District Training chairman. If still in
doubt, ask the Council Training Chairman. If still unclear, try to check
with National, if warranted, and/or ask on Scouts-L or a similar list.
FWIW, our Council professional responsible for training will not use a
trainer if (s)he does not strictly adhere to National and Council policies
when training. Training is not the forum for expressing one's opinions, and
we who are trainers have a responsibility to stick to the curriculum as
developed. District Training Chairmen should try to follow that procedure,
themselves. Not easy, though!
Scenario: One obtains and reads publications from National concerning an
issue. The publications differ in their response.
My response: Which one was published last? I would follow it.
Further development of the scenario: We have two understandings of a
term used in the publications, resulting in an ambiguity.
My response: A number of considerations come into play here. With some
exceptions, the written materials are not intended a legal documents, with
narrowly defined meanings. A good dictionary and common usage will get you
through without having to play lawyer with the implications of words. What
is the general purpose for which the publication was created? That will
provide some guidelines for understanding the material written. Good
training, and asking folks on the ladder of authority, will help to clarify
Let us always remember that the purpose of the program is to help boys
grow into men of character. Once, when asked what the greatest commandments
were, "Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all
your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest
commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself All
the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." What He was
saying is that love for God and love for our neighbors were the guiding
principles by which all the other commandments were to be understood. The
purpose of Scouting, and the Scout Oath and Law are the guiding principles
by which all the other rules are to be understood.
The program doesn't always work perfectly, but it does work.
Yours in cheerful (mostly) service,