scouts-l Mail Archive for July of 2000: Re: How much help can I give?
Murphy Peter (MurphyP@TCE.COM
Wed Jul 05 2000 - 10:03:31 CDT
> What of the following could I do (as both SM and father)
> before others will say that he did not earn the badge himself?
I'm both a father (of three Scouts) and a SM. I've struggled with how
much to push/nag my oldest son. I do not have much advice to offer
because I'm not sure I've figured out what to do myself. But I do have
some stories that you may find interesting.
My oldest son made Life about 3 years ago. Since then he's been on summer
camp staff for two years, been to the Boundary Waters, is going to
Philmont this summer, been to Snow Base, made Brotherhood in OA and
is involved in leading ceremonies, made Firecrafter and now helps
grade the campfires of other Firecrafter candidates. It took him about
a year and half to do an Eagle project that should have taken a couple
of weekends. But since he's just turned 16 he's not in a rush - most of
At the time he made Life, my wife and I had nagged him about finishing
up a merit badge he was working on. "I'll get to it" the typical teenager
responded angrily. He thought he had plenty of time. When I explained
how the last Boards of Review before the next Court of Honor were the next
week and if he didn't contact the counselor by that weekend, he'd have
to wait another month for the next BoR, he went got it done. After the
CoH he told the two of us that even though he complains when we nag him,
he wanted us to keep doing it.
My experience is that most Scouts who stick with it and advance far have
a couple of things going for them. One of those things are supporting
parents. If difficult to make Eagle without the support and interest
of your parents. That doesn't mean the parents have to all be the
But I don't believe for a second that the SM's son had any more push
or help from his parents than any other Scout that makes Eagle.
A wise SM told me it's pretty typical for Scouts to level off at Life
for a long time and to enjoy the fruit of their hard work. My troop
has a half dozen Life Scouts that have been Life for a couple of years
There's an older guy on my troop committee who has taken it upon
himself to contact these Life Scouts and push/nag them into finishing
up. They respond better to him than to their parents. Maybe because
he has no guilt about the nagging like us parents and he doesn't
As some of my son's friends and fellow staffers at summer camp start
to make Eagle, he's shown a renewed interest himself. He had set a
deadline for himself of making Eagle before he returned to camp this
summer. But he didn't plan ahead well enough and is still working on
Personal Fitness - his last required merit badge.
>From your list I'd vote the following:
-- Sit down and help him schedule the rest of his merit badge work.
Someone should do this with each Life Scout, a parent or ASM for Life to
-- Give him phone numbers of contacts for organizations that could benefit
from Eagle scout projects.
This would be the best route.
-- Give him ideas for projects at various organizations.
He should research and discover these ideas for himself.
-- Act as counselor for two Eagle Required merit badges that I am doing for
other Life Scouts with committee approval.
If you are doing it for other Scouts, I'd do it for your own son and not
feel the least bit guilty about it. I wouldn't even ask my committee for
-- Approve a below average Eagle project. (By definition half of all Eagle
Scouts did a below average project.)
I try to apply the same standards to all project proposals. True, some
exceed those standards by more than others. Then all proposals have to
have the approval of the district advancement committee (read the same one
guy for the last couple of decades) where I live. This is great to have
such a consistent yardstick. Especially for us wet behind the ears SM like
>From the laws of parenting physics: for every push there is an equal and
opposite resistance from a teenager.
Peter Murphy, SM T125, Carmel, Indiana