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Poor Example from an Eagle

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  • #31
    I'll go along with that qwazse. Where I struggle with Jobbob is his statement "Big kids intimidate smaller kids. In the real world, you and I are not going to change that.". Big kids don't intimidate smaller kids, he needs to change that perception. Bullies intimidate the weaker. Our program relies so much on the older scouts guiding the younger scouts that the very idea of boy run would be in conflict with JobBobs assumption.

    Intimidation happens in units where scouts don't support each other in accountibility. I think this is what jobBob is trying to fix, I agree and support him. I'm only suggesting a different approach. And while I do agree with you that learning that this scout intimidates other scouts is valuable, it doesn't in my mind justify using the PLC (immature PLC) in this manner. As I said, is Joebob setting a standard where the PLC has to call up every rude behavior? They are going to be quite busy. It would be better to teach the troop as a whole to confront bad behavior when it happens and as a group supporting each other. Our scouts have learned that scouts who watch a scout behave badly and do nothing was going to be held just as accountable as the misbehaved scout. You can't have a truly boy run program until the scouts feel safe with true independence. Leave the PLC to deal with the struggle of running the program or really bad behavior issues. Teach scouts to comfront and support each other. I hope that all makes sense.

    I also have a high respect for adults learning and feeling their way to running a program. I certainly did more wrong than I did right in growing with our units. As JoeBob pointed out, there is value in experienced opinions for trying something different to do better the next time.



    • #32
      Barry is correct in the assumption that the bullies intimidate the weaker. It has nothing to do with size or age. That is because they use their strength for their own gain, not the gain of the group. Give the bully a POR and that only adds to their "position of strength" in calling the shots. Conforming minions are forced to comply and thus one sees a bully singling out one or two weaker members to dump on. Groups as well can bully, they are called cliques. You are a nobody unless you are in THE cool group.

      No matter how one cuts it, as Barry points out, it needs a culture change to make things correct. One can make all the rules in the world, punish everyone here and there and it only add fuel to the fire and takes the activity to a covert level where the SM is kept in the dark. Eventually the weaker ones will quit and the SM stands there asking himself/herself why without doing any followup.

      Every time we take on new boys in the troop, EVERYONE goes through the youth protection pamphlet with the new boys and the overall emphasis is on: "If anyone at any time feels intimidated or threatened by anyone, they are to report it to the SM, parents, adults near by, police, or anyone else that will listen." Every incident WILL be investigated and dealt with and any offending scout will be asked to leave the troop immediately. Yes, that might sound a bit "intimidating" coming from the SM, but I have never had to ask a scout to leave the program either. Along with the annual swim test and annual Totin' Chit training, this is a process I follow diligently. Borderline issues are usually handled in SMC and are cleared up quickly before they get a chance to escalate. Normally I handle it by buddying up the bully and victim on a minor incident and the SPL and victim on a more sever incident. It's always worked well, to the point where the bully and victim have even become friends along the way. Why that works, I don't know, but sometimes it does.



      • #33
        What's interesting for me about how this discussion has gone is that I don' t think I ever used the words bully or intimidation while I was a Scoutmaster, I always applied the positive context of the Scout Law and Oath to describe behavior.

        I learned that when a scout is challenged with a question as to how their behavior fit in the guidelines of the law, they struggled to draw the answer if they were intending to be defensive. Asking the question many times stumps the quick witted scout forcing them to pause for an appropriate defense. And usually I quickly dismissed the scout to think about so we could discuss it later. They hated that, but it allowed time to change the tone of defense to one of a more concilitory discussion.

        I think the hardest habit for adults get away from in scouting is attacking a scout about his behavior. We only have to ask a question to force them to see repercussions of their choices. This really has little to do with Joebobs question, it was just on my mind.

        Last edited by Eagledad; 03-27-2014, 01:51 PM.


        • #34
          Punishment or consequence are tools, and like any tool can be abused. If they're used with the intent that it helps a scout mature, it's tough love and can be useful. If they're used to get rid of a problem then it's wrong. Since JoeBob was with the PLC when they came up with their plan I'm sure it wasn't Lord of the Flies.

          There's something else going on here. Boys don't much think about what is right so much as they recognize what works. If the scouts don't stand up to misbehavior and only the SM will do anything about it then the rules are simple - be "good" when the SM is around and have "fun" the rest of the time. After doing it enough the scouts get into a habit and go so far as to not even notice the contradictions. It's not that they lie when confronted, they don't even see that what they did was wrong. I have two scouts right now that deny everything and they honestly believe it.

          I'm working with my PLC to get the majority of the scouts to confront bad behavior. And likely these boys will change. But what if they only recognizes that when you're at scouts you need to be "good" and you can have "fun" at school? Doesn't this get to Barry's point, at least to me it's his point, that what we really want to do is instill selfless behavior in the scouts? Getting a boy to stop using other kids for his amusement is a start, but following that with giving him experience at helping others might just light a flame inside him.


          • #35
            That is my point Matt and you said it better than me. I think most of us have our own personal program goals to help keep us on track and our troop has a goal of building a program where the adults aren't needed if they didn't show up. That forces a train of thought of building a culture of trust and respect. Trust and respect are outward actions toward others. That kind of culture takes a long time, but it requires the adults to do a lot of self evaluations to mature enough for that kind of program. I've also been thinking about what you and qwazse posted and come to agree that this wasn't a misstep on Joebobs part, but a step toward improving the program by trying something. That is what good scout leaders do. Barry