scouts-l Mail Archive for April of 2000: Re: Sir Names?
Ed Thompson (thompson@VAX2.WINONA.MSUS.EDU
Tue Apr 11 2000 - 10:11:48 CDT
Regarding use of first names vs. honorifics:
I, too, prefer that the scouts and other youth I work with use my first
name, figuring that if I haven't earned their respect (which is questionable
at times, I must admit) then use of "Dr. ..." or "Mr. ..." isn't going to
change that. In fact, I often do a reversal, addressing them as "Mr. ..."
or "Ms. ...". Most of the leaders in our troop are referred to by first name.
Did run into one problem a couple of years ago: it turned into "Mr. Ed" with
accompanying (good natured, I hope) horse sounds. Insisted they use "Equus"
instead and it caught on. Older boys including some who have left the troop
still address me that way.
Pack 6 and Troop 6
>Seriously, I think this is an imortant issue that embodies vital issues to
>our mission. I firmly believe that the default "respectful" way for anyone,
>but especially our youth, to address any adult is by Mr. Ms. or Mrs.
>(Dr....etc.) This is what we require in our Troop. However, as Lord BP
>said, a Scoutmaster should be "of the boys" not above them (hey, on the list
>only a few months and I'm quoting BP!) So, my personal practice is, as a
>boy gets older and we naturally have more and more shared experience (read,
>become friends) more leeway is given.Until a boy turns 18, they don't call
>me "Bob," but, by the time a boy is, say, 14 or 15, and especially if they
>have acheived a leadership position, they can, in accepted cicumstances,
>call me "Laz" or, what has been most popular, "SM." These circumstances are
>exactly what you would expect; non-formal situations such as on the trail,
>or a around a campfire, or at say, at the PLC where all the boys are older.
>The older boys with this privlidge learn that it is incumbant on them to
>model for the younger guys, so, in whole troop situations, they do revert to
>So much of Scouting is positive male role modeling and certainly, one of the
>"rewards" for a boy growing older in the Scouting environment is that they
>do learn to become more comfortable with men, learn the ways and mores of
>the tribe, so to speak . With that growth and knowledge should come the
>recognition that they are soon to leave boyhood behind and by rights be able
>to call us by our given names. I think it is my job to be a transitional
>figure in their lives; a SM should be one of the first adults a boy should
>feel comfortable calling other than Mr.
>An aside: My wife is a Professor with her Ph.D. we do not share the same
>last name. To save the boys the stammering confusion of what to call her,
>she has been dubbed "The Doc" for most situations (she is not a Scouter).
>If they refer to her formally it is Professor or Dr. So in our troop, they
>get disabused early of any notion they may have had that women are somehow
>inferior or belong "in the home"
>SM Troop 127
>VAlley Cottage, NY