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MattR

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Posts posted by MattR

  1. Don't know about "prissy". But it has morphed into something that placates the helicopter parents, the lawyers, and those boys who would rather sit in front of a video game than rappel down a tower. LIke any other organism, it has adapted to the environment in which it finds itself, rather than go extinct.

    He lives in a flat state? :)
  2. Our rules are that ISA accounts are fine but the money can only be used for purely scout related purposes. Apparently there is precedence with the IRS (something about marching bands) that this is good enough to pass their "no personal gain" rule. So, a scout asked if he could use the money to buy a bike for a high adventure trip and we said no, as the bike would also be used after the high adventure trip for personal gain. Using the money to pay for the high adventure trip was fine. Using it for jamboree is fine. Using it for church camp is not fine. Using it for summer camp is fine. Basically, using it for gear is not OK. Once a scout turns 18 he loses all of his money, so adults can not have accounts.

  3. Anyone else feel the usability of the new Scouter.com forum is synonymous to the BSA's present situation. A response requires a great deal of planning, persistence and patience. My response to King Dingdong will be brief, wish me luck. Your highness, if you can't keep older scouts in your program, you are doing it wrong. Barry
    Well, try waiting another week ;)
  4. We got passion :)

     

    I like Kudu's 300' ideas. I had to get us off the 300 pounds of gear before we could do it, but it's just a way to say patrol based activities and not troop based activities. My troop is finally getting there and my scouts like it. My goal is to have the PLs strong enough that any one could be SPL, and maybe we could just get rid of the SPL and the PLs could just take turns. I think that's what Kudu is talking about.

     

    I also appreciate what BD is going through. I had a scout that everyone was sure would never, ever, be responsible for anything, much less a leader. All of a sudden last year he found out he was really good at tying knots (we had a blind folded knot tying contest). In February he became a troop guide and all his new scouts really like him. He's now a patrol leader. He cares about his patrol. He doesn't want to manage it, he wants to lead it. So the idea of building up a leader is a reasonable idea to me.

     

    Kudu says patrol elections are a popularity contest. Not in my troop. Maybe I'm just lucky but over the past two cycles, only the best scouts have been voted in. Granted, we do things differently than most troops, but the scouts know who's good and who isn't.

     

    One thing I'd like to add is that changing a troop from, say, troop method to patrol method, or adult led to scout led, takes a lot of effort. Changing culture in a troop is not easy. What a younger scout sees is what he'll do when he gets older and starts leading or being a role model. If a young scout sees an older scout lead then he'll learn from that and try and emulate it when it's his turn, at least in the beginning. That's what I did when I became SM. For a situation like what BD has, where there is no prior leadership to learn from the scout has nothing to emulate, and flailing would be expected. We can use words all we want to try and explain how to do it but words are only so good when it comes to leadership. And that's why I also agree with Kudu's dim view on classroom leadership training. What I'm finding is that being a troop guide and/or working at summer camp helps a scout gain confidence in working with other people, and is a much better way to learn leadership than something like NYLT. It's not that NYLT isn't useful, but it it not sufficient and only somewhat necessary.

  5. Anyone else feel the usability of the new Scouter.com forum is synonymous to the BSA's present situation. A response requires a great deal of planning, persistence and patience. My response to King Dingdong will be brief, wish me luck. Your highness, if you can't keep older scouts in your program, you are doing it wrong. Barry
    Barry, try editing your message in another window, then login to the forum, then just copy and paste. it works well for me.
  6. I think you did the right thing there Basement. What was his reaction to your suggestion? Did you offer to help come up with a plan to improve?
    Actually, I think you've made great progress. Now you have his attention and he's likely to listen to you, so speak carefully. A little bit of success could go a long way now.
  7. So, you have a scout that you're getting frustrated with at trying to get him to do his best? Welcome to being a SM :)

     

    Jblake could be right, no point in kicking a dead horse. However, it could also be other things. How old is this boy? Personally, I think it is a rare scout that can lead at the age of 12. 13? Maybe, 14. Also, has this boy seen it done right? Simple example is how to clean dishes. We told the scouts hot soapy water, scrape the food out, scrub, etc, but it still took 6 months before they got those ideas. Now it's no longer an issue. Scouts see how it's done and when it's their turn to lead they know what we mean my cleaning. Words don't have nearly the impact as seeing it done.

     

    It gets down to figuring out whether the boy is trying and wants to do it right, but for whatever reason is failing, vs a boy that just can't be bothered. Many boys, if they don't know how to do something, will end up looking like they don't care when they care a lot. So I certainly can't give you any advice on how to deal with this boy.

  8. We just went through figuring out patrols. We also had to add a patrol but we started with 6. Before doing any of this I asked the scouts to write down 3 friends they wanted to be with and I made a big graph of this. The PLC sat down and we talked about servant leadership. Then we talked about what the patrol leaders wanted for support (mostly strong scouts). Then we talked about what the younger scouts needed (friends and wise old scouts). Then we talked about what everyone wanted (friends). Then I gave them limits on the number of scouts (6-9). Then I said "this is your troop, figure it out." Then all I did was keep them focused so it wouldn't take 8 hours. I'm a bit worried about one patrol being the "hooligans" and they will certainly need an adult with patience, but all in all they brought up more details, characteristics, and personalities about the scouts than I knew. It's as good a setup as I've seen. For the most part the old patrols stayed together. One thing great about boy led is it takes the stress off the adults to do it "right" as there is no right.

  9. Hey Bradley, you must have been doing a great job sharpening that axe to cut yourself. Anyway, have you ever heard the expression the glass is half full (versus half empty)? You still have one corner left, how many do you need? Here's what I'd suggest. Go back and figure out exactly why you cut yourself. There's another old saying, accidents don't happen, they are caused. So figure out what caused you to cut yourself. Just a guess, but were you wearing gloves while sharpening the axe? I've found that you need the right file to sharpen an axe. I prefer a single cut, fine file. It also has to be sharp. Yes, files get dull. So figure out exactly what you did wrong and go over everything else you should have learned the first time. Then go talk to your SM and tell him you figured out what you did wrong and that you'd like to try again and do it right. Show him that you know how to do it right. Once you've done that, and assuming he tells you you did a good job, ask him if he'll give you a new card. Timing is important. Anyway, one of two things will happen. 1) He'll give you a new card and you're good to go. 2) He won't. But that doesn't matter because you'll never make that mistake again and that one corner will get you through to your Eagle Court of Honor, where you can give it back to your dad. I promise you, he'll really appreciate it. Good luck!

    • Upvote 1
  10. BD, I think you've just asked one of the oldest questions of mankind. And maybe that came right after the oldest profession started going. You're asking about forgiveness. I'd forgive a shoplifter over someone that swears, if the shoplifter honestly realized his mistake and the swearer didn't. Without forgiveness we're all self-righteous blow-hards that won't admit we all make mistakes. Forgiveness is about moving forward and healing wounds. It's also not easy if you're the recipient of the bad behavior. At the same time, forgiving someone that doesn't see what they've done as a mistake is not helping anything. How you divine the difference between honesty and BS is the age old hard part.

     

    As far as tarnishing the Eagle is concerned, maybe not. Real repentance and real forgiveness would indicate real growth.

     

    I will add one thing about a scout having a kid though, he probably doesn't have time for an Eagle project. So you're right, it's time to grow up.

    BD, for me there is no magic number. It is all about the spirit or soul of the scout. I can't reduce one's character to a simple formula as it depends on the person. If a scout has a history of really helping out his troop, is enthusiastic, is a great leader, and then one day gets caught shoplifting, I suspect when the SM talks to him he'd feel like crap. If the SM then asks him what the right thing to do is he'd repay his debt several times over and do it cheerfully. If it happens again, which I doubt, it would likely be a case of fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. For the scout that's always brawling, maybe the shoplifting is the final straw.

     

    I dislike the checklist aspect of Eagle (other than the Eagle project). To me it's all about attitude and what they do. Builder of men? Absolutely! People can learn a lot from their mistakes. Those that do are Eagle material.

     

    KDD, I'm not saying that at all. In my book, one's character is defined by one's deeds much more than one's thoughts. If the scout is generally a great kid but slips up once, it's a great learning opportunity, not a reason to chuck him. Atoning for your mistakes is much harder than not making mistakes and shows a lot of character.

     

    I still don't think we're that far apart.

  11. BD, I think you've just asked one of the oldest questions of mankind. And maybe that came right after the oldest profession started going. You're asking about forgiveness. I'd forgive a shoplifter over someone that swears, if the shoplifter honestly realized his mistake and the swearer didn't. Without forgiveness we're all self-righteous blow-hards that won't admit we all make mistakes. Forgiveness is about moving forward and healing wounds. It's also not easy if you're the recipient of the bad behavior. At the same time, forgiving someone that doesn't see what they've done as a mistake is not helping anything. How you divine the difference between honesty and BS is the age old hard part.

     

    As far as tarnishing the Eagle is concerned, maybe not. Real repentance and real forgiveness would indicate real growth.

     

    I will add one thing about a scout having a kid though, he probably doesn't have time for an Eagle project. So you're right, it's time to grow up.

    BD, I don't think we're that far apart. 10 times, no question. A brawler that keeps brawling? I'd get rid of him. Note that I said forgiveness is a two way deal. If the scout honestly works on atoning for his errors then I'm willing to forgive him. Atonement and forgiveness go hand in hand. There can't be one without the other. It's two sides to the same problem. If he only wants to make it right enough to get away with it then, yes, I agree that it's over. That's why I also said it's not easy to decide what's in another's heart.
  12. BD, I think you've just asked one of the oldest questions of mankind. And maybe that came right after the oldest profession started going. You're asking about forgiveness. I'd forgive a shoplifter over someone that swears, if the shoplifter honestly realized his mistake and the swearer didn't. Without forgiveness we're all self-righteous blow-hards that won't admit we all make mistakes. Forgiveness is about moving forward and healing wounds. It's also not easy if you're the recipient of the bad behavior. At the same time, forgiving someone that doesn't see what they've done as a mistake is not helping anything. How you divine the difference between honesty and BS is the age old hard part.

     

    As far as tarnishing the Eagle is concerned, maybe not. Real repentance and real forgiveness would indicate real growth.

     

    I will add one thing about a scout having a kid though, he probably doesn't have time for an Eagle project. So you're right, it's time to grow up.

  13. I agree with dcsimmons, don't put him on the defensive. Listen to him. Ask him about his scout history. Is he proud of what he's done? Do the younger scouts look up to him? Is he a role model? Is he proud of his Eagle project? Read him an Eagle charge and ask him if that resembles him. When he gets to "yeah, but ..." have him read the first line of the Scout Oath. Ask him if he's doing his best to God and his country. All you can do is your best. There will always be people you disagree with. There will also always be people you agree with. You'll likely marry someone that you don't agree with all of the time, but you'll love her anyway. You do your best and focus on that.

  14. JoeBob, the Formin, Stormin, Formin, comment brought back a memory of WoodBadge. All the people are arrows and they're pointing every which way (formin), and they slowly align till they're pointing the same way (performin). So I asked, what do you do with 15 year olds when rather than arrows you have BBs (that aren't going in any direction)? Never did get an answer.

     

    What you're asking is a common question among those trying to turn around a program: "I kind of know what it should look like but how do I get there? What has worked for people before me?" That's not in Woodbadge. Woodbadge is: "I have a good idea, how do I implement it?"

     

    For people that come from a unit with a good culture, be it boy-led or a great Pack, Woodbadge is great because you can already learn how a unit should run by looking at your own unit. If you're trying to turn things around then Woodbadge doesn't give you the "vision" that they talk about. Once you get the vision you can use Woodbadge skills to implement it.

     

    Based on what you've written, I've been there. So I came here looking for ideas and started asking questions. I tried a lot of ideas, and what I found is while a lot of ideas are really good, they make assumptions that you might not know about. For example, the first time I tried Kudu's 300' thing it failed (boy not led, adult not led, Lord of the Flies!), but now that I have the leadership and teamwork at a minimum level, 300' (separate the patrols) is working well. Regarding training, I tried ILST and my scouts slept through it and had no take home skills to handle the exact problem you mention (younger scouts that don't want to do dishes). So I took the ILST syllabus and compressed it down to 30 minutes without any exercises and then added a few hours of 15 minute exercises. Every exercise requires a team to solve a problem in 5 minutes. Members take turns being the leader for each exercise. There's time up front to let them know what the problem is and for them to plan for it, 5 minutes to do the exercise, and time to reflect on what happened. The idea is to give each scout several chances to lead. One example is make a cake batter and get it into the oven, if it's not in the oven within 5 minutes then I'd toss what they made and nobody would get the cake. About a half hour later was the problem of cleaning up. If they didn't get it done in 5 minutes then I got the cake. Talk about incentive. I found paper airplane projects on line. I had a big domino set and did some stuff with that. I took the communication exercise out of the ILST manual. I had them teach the sheep shank. I asked them to identify and call a scout that's not advancing. If the problem didn't seem too hard to do then I'd coach a scout, before hand, to be a pain in the neck. This is where scouts that don't want to clean come in. It got to the point where the scouts wanted a problem scout. Sometimes the scouts would have so much fun being the pain that I'd let it go and let them enjoy it. They had fun with it. The other thing I noticed is that it was a challenge and they were up for it. When it was your turn to be the leader everyone was watching to see how you did. This is so much better than something like the telephone game. The first time I tried this was a month ago so I'm still playing with it. I just need a lot more ideas.

     

    As for SM time management, my first impression is that the committee, the PLC, and the ASMs should take some of the load off of you. Until I got the committee to do its job I didn't have time to do mine, which was work with the boys. I had a bullying type of issue and I talked to the PLC and asked them to handle it while respecting the Scout Law. They did a great job. I also have a PLC ranging in ages of 13 to 17. I also ask all of the scouts to nominate patrol leaders, so that's how we get the hooligans out of those positions. One subtle benefit is that it's not me telling a scout he can't be a PL, it's his peers. They're a lot harsher than I am and quite fair. That also makes me the good guy so when I suggest they work with the new scouts to gain some confidence and let everyone know they're serious, they listen.

     

    Maybe this is another topic, but I wonder if Scouter-Terry could put a wiki on this website and get some people to start editing some of the knowledge that's here and make it easier for people like you to get to. That would help Woodbadge as a resource.

     

    Sorry for stealing your thread, Packsaddle.

    I was only talking about PLs, and the scouts decide who they are. As jblake says, there are different types of hooligans. An 11 year old that doesn't want to wash dishes should not be made a PL for 6 months. However, putting him in charge of washing dishes for a campout and being ultimately responsible for a clean patrol box at the end of the campout, priceless. Some scouts are hooligans because they don't know how to fit in. I've encouraged a few of them to be Troop Guides and it has done wonders. Another issue is cliques of kids that feed off each other. I'm working on that right now. I think I'm just going to present the problem to the PLC. They know these kids better than I do. So, I generally agree with the idea of putting them in charge of something, but it should be something they'll succeed at. If they volunteer, like jblake's popcorn thing, I'd be up for that.
  15. JoeBob, the Formin, Stormin, Formin, comment brought back a memory of WoodBadge. All the people are arrows and they're pointing every which way (formin), and they slowly align till they're pointing the same way (performin). So I asked, what do you do with 15 year olds when rather than arrows you have BBs (that aren't going in any direction)? Never did get an answer.

     

    What you're asking is a common question among those trying to turn around a program: "I kind of know what it should look like but how do I get there? What has worked for people before me?" That's not in Woodbadge. Woodbadge is: "I have a good idea, how do I implement it?"

     

    For people that come from a unit with a good culture, be it boy-led or a great Pack, Woodbadge is great because you can already learn how a unit should run by looking at your own unit. If you're trying to turn things around then Woodbadge doesn't give you the "vision" that they talk about. Once you get the vision you can use Woodbadge skills to implement it.

     

    Based on what you've written, I've been there. So I came here looking for ideas and started asking questions. I tried a lot of ideas, and what I found is while a lot of ideas are really good, they make assumptions that you might not know about. For example, the first time I tried Kudu's 300' thing it failed (boy not led, adult not led, Lord of the Flies!), but now that I have the leadership and teamwork at a minimum level, 300' (separate the patrols) is working well. Regarding training, I tried ILST and my scouts slept through it and had no take home skills to handle the exact problem you mention (younger scouts that don't want to do dishes). So I took the ILST syllabus and compressed it down to 30 minutes without any exercises and then added a few hours of 15 minute exercises. Every exercise requires a team to solve a problem in 5 minutes. Members take turns being the leader for each exercise. There's time up front to let them know what the problem is and for them to plan for it, 5 minutes to do the exercise, and time to reflect on what happened. The idea is to give each scout several chances to lead. One example is make a cake batter and get it into the oven, if it's not in the oven within 5 minutes then I'd toss what they made and nobody would get the cake. About a half hour later was the problem of cleaning up. If they didn't get it done in 5 minutes then I got the cake. Talk about incentive. I found paper airplane projects on line. I had a big domino set and did some stuff with that. I took the communication exercise out of the ILST manual. I had them teach the sheep shank. I asked them to identify and call a scout that's not advancing. If the problem didn't seem too hard to do then I'd coach a scout, before hand, to be a pain in the neck. This is where scouts that don't want to clean come in. It got to the point where the scouts wanted a problem scout. Sometimes the scouts would have so much fun being the pain that I'd let it go and let them enjoy it. They had fun with it. The other thing I noticed is that it was a challenge and they were up for it. When it was your turn to be the leader everyone was watching to see how you did. This is so much better than something like the telephone game. The first time I tried this was a month ago so I'm still playing with it. I just need a lot more ideas.

     

    As for SM time management, my first impression is that the committee, the PLC, and the ASMs should take some of the load off of you. Until I got the committee to do its job I didn't have time to do mine, which was work with the boys. I had a bullying type of issue and I talked to the PLC and asked them to handle it while respecting the Scout Law. They did a great job. I also have a PLC ranging in ages of 13 to 17. I also ask all of the scouts to nominate patrol leaders, so that's how we get the hooligans out of those positions. One subtle benefit is that it's not me telling a scout he can't be a PL, it's his peers. They're a lot harsher than I am and quite fair. That also makes me the good guy so when I suggest they work with the new scouts to gain some confidence and let everyone know they're serious, they listen.

     

    Maybe this is another topic, but I wonder if Scouter-Terry could put a wiki on this website and get some people to start editing some of the knowledge that's here and make it easier for people like you to get to. That would help Woodbadge as a resource.

     

    Sorry for stealing your thread, Packsaddle.

     

  16. It's not so much that the course wasn't good. It was really good at what it did. Great enthusiasm. But it didn't have what I was looking for. I had a Troop-method troop with a couple of scouts doing everything and I wanted a patrol method troop where everyone had a job to do. Culture in a troop is really hard to change and getting from one to the other is a common problem that in hind sight is not so hard, but is really hard to figure out the first time. I guess my point is there's need for something that complements the course. Something you can take before you write your ticket so your ticket items are useful. 4 of my 5 items were a bust. The last was good.

  17. FrugalProf, have you tried volunteering to run it? Maybe the SM just doesn't have the time or isn't quite sure about part of it. If that isn't accepted and nobody likes the SM then maybe it's time for the CC to have a talk with him and see if he can let loose some of the reins.

     

    I wouldn't get too hung up on running ILST exactly as it's in the manual, especially if you have a young troop that has little experience with leading. For a 12 year old I wouldn't expect much more than to get the troop to line up and be quiet. That would be a good start.

     

    I used to do the standard ILST and it didn't seem to help the scouts at all. I tried some other things but that was only slightly better. For a year or two I just never did anything but after talking to the scouts I came up with a modification of the standard ILST. I added a lot of exercises to the ILST syllabus after asking the scouts what their biggest concerns were. We talked for half an hour and then spent the rest of the time doing exercises. So, less talking and more doing. The exercises were all of the form of a problem that had to be solved in five minutes. Scouts took turns being PL. Sometimes I coached the other scouts to do something that would cause another problem. The scouts had fun. They even wouldn't let me stop a few minutes early. This is the second time I've done this and both times were right around the time of the elections. I like the idea of a lock in. I'd really like to do it on a campout so I'd have more opportunity for more realistic exercises. That was the biggest complaint about the standard course, if one thing they need to do is make a duty roster, then have an exercise about making a duty roster - and throw in a kid that doesn't want to clean dishes ;)

    Join my troop! I'd never turn down an offer for help.

     

    Sorry to say, but I'd start asking the wise old guys around the district and on the committee on what it might take to replace the SM. That assumes someone is willing to step up. Best of luck

  18. FrugalProf, have you tried volunteering to run it? Maybe the SM just doesn't have the time or isn't quite sure about part of it. If that isn't accepted and nobody likes the SM then maybe it's time for the CC to have a talk with him and see if he can let loose some of the reins.

     

    I wouldn't get too hung up on running ILST exactly as it's in the manual, especially if you have a young troop that has little experience with leading. For a 12 year old I wouldn't expect much more than to get the troop to line up and be quiet. That would be a good start.

     

    I used to do the standard ILST and it didn't seem to help the scouts at all. I tried some other things but that was only slightly better. For a year or two I just never did anything but after talking to the scouts I came up with a modification of the standard ILST. I added a lot of exercises to the ILST syllabus after asking the scouts what their biggest concerns were. We talked for half an hour and then spent the rest of the time doing exercises. So, less talking and more doing. The exercises were all of the form of a problem that had to be solved in five minutes. Scouts took turns being PL. Sometimes I coached the other scouts to do something that would cause another problem. The scouts had fun. They even wouldn't let me stop a few minutes early. This is the second time I've done this and both times were right around the time of the elections. I like the idea of a lock in. I'd really like to do it on a campout so I'd have more opportunity for more realistic exercises. That was the biggest complaint about the standard course, if one thing they need to do is make a duty roster, then have an exercise about making a duty roster - and throw in a kid that doesn't want to clean dishes ;)

  19. AZmike, here's one cherry the religious right seems to have missed in this argument. One of the main points in the Torah is human dignity. A kid that's gay, that didn't choose to be gay, that can't be "cured" of being gay, that won't inherently harm anyone because he's gay, has no dignity in the boy scouts because he is shunned for something he has no control of. He is seen as inferior, immoral, and is an outcast. All of this because of something God gave him. I'm no religious scholar, but I know this type of humiliation is Wrong. Furthermore, human dignity can supersede commandments in the Torah. In this case my rabbis have allowed it.

     

    You say these kids can go do 4H, or BPSA, or just do something else. You say they're a danger to the other kids and it would be safer if they went elsewhere. I can imagine lining up 10 kids and walking up to one and saying these things to him. That's humiliating.

     

    It seems my religious beliefs don't seem to be good enough for you, that I'm "cherry picking" the "real" beliefs. People that complain about others beliefs not being good enough are the gatekeepers to the dark side of religion. I'm just asking you to respect my beliefs.

    AZMike, I accept your apology, and I apologize for offending you. Yes, the cherry picking comment was over the line. No, it absolutely has nothing to do with me being Jewish. I'm not trying to argue and win you over. I apologize if I implied that. I'm trying to find common ground. After the vote there will be a lot of angry and smug people, neither of which will help the BSA. Machiavelli will rule.

     

    Packsaddle, respect would be a good thing not just for me, but for everyone. If there were mutual respect then 20 years ago people could have sat down and worked out a solution to keep people reasonably happy. That's real respect and I'd be for that. Rather, it's a zero sum game, and an ugly one at that.

  20. AZmike, here's one cherry the religious right seems to have missed in this argument. One of the main points in the Torah is human dignity. A kid that's gay, that didn't choose to be gay, that can't be "cured" of being gay, that won't inherently harm anyone because he's gay, has no dignity in the boy scouts because he is shunned for something he has no control of. He is seen as inferior, immoral, and is an outcast. All of this because of something God gave him. I'm no religious scholar, but I know this type of humiliation is Wrong. Furthermore, human dignity can supersede commandments in the Torah. In this case my rabbis have allowed it.

     

    You say these kids can go do 4H, or BPSA, or just do something else. You say they're a danger to the other kids and it would be safer if they went elsewhere. I can imagine lining up 10 kids and walking up to one and saying these things to him. That's humiliating.

     

    It seems my religious beliefs don't seem to be good enough for you, that I'm "cherry picking" the "real" beliefs. People that complain about others beliefs not being good enough are the gatekeepers to the dark side of religion. I'm just asking you to respect my beliefs.

  21. AZMike, when do you have time to write so much? Anyway, we have until Thursday, so let's get back to it.

     

    I'll pass on the natural law theory, but thanks for the offer.

     

    Using Wikipedia is not what I did, but it is a great source just because it shows how much conflict there is in a topic. The bible has been interpreted and caused arguments for a very long time. The Mishnah and Midrash are explanations and commentary on the Torah. They were written from roughly 140 to 1750 AD. If you've ever heard the joke about 2 rabbis and 3 opinions in the same room, this is where it came from. The point is the Torah is surprisingly deep and people keep finding interesting ideas in it. They adapt to what we learn from nature. One such interpretation about homosexuality went something along the lines of: "2500 years ago, male sex was about power or simple gratification. Sex is about love, not power or gratification, so male sex was obviously wrong. Nobody ever thought two men could love each other, so now it isn't so black and white." I'm sure you don't agree, but this is from well educated rabbis.

     

    Yep, the phrase "behavior is wrong if it is a choice" was a bad choice of words.It was late. I'll try again. First of all, we're talking about two different things when we talk about being gay. First is the fact that some guy says he's attracted to other guys sexually. The second is when he acts on that. I certainly do not want any scouts acting on any sexual urges, irregardless of gender or direction. So, the scout that did some sexual act with the younger boy was wrong. A 20 year old male venture scout that sexually does anything with a 14 year old girl is just as wrong. Given DADT and venture scouts, both scenarios are possible. An important question is how often does it happen? There are numerous gay Eagle scouts and it appears they didn't create problems. Just as there are many girl venture scouts without any problem. Do European scouts have an issue with boys being molested by other boys? I would think if there were then we'd be reading about it, given the upcoming vote.

     

    You mention in several places that boys and girls have all sorts of problems if they have sex too early. I don't doubt it. I agree it shouldn't happen, it agrees with my stance that sexual acts should be kept out of scouting.

     

    Another question is, would a scout be immoral if he's attracted to guys? If he doesn't act on it, it doesn't bother me. Acting is a choice. Being attracted to guys is not a choice. You asked if it's OK for some guy to hit on my wife because he can't control his urges. First of all, I'd sit back and enjoy watching my wife clock the guy, but to the point, he had the choice to open his mouth and say something stupid to my wife. So, no, it's not OK. Speaking is a choice, being attracted to the same sex is not a choice.

     

    From what you've written, is it fair to say you feel that a scout that is attracted to guys is likely to not be able to control his urges, and that's why you don't want to make it easier for a gay scout to be in scouting? If that's the case, I think I understand where you're coming from. I don't necessarily agree with it, but maybe we at least understand each other.

     

    For me, it keeps getting back to creating trust with a scout that has problems. I see lots of kids with lots of problems they have no choice over. Single parents, dead parents, bipolar, ADHD, you name it. You say that one bad act can completely mess up a kid, and I don't doubt it, but it's surprising how a few good acts can greatly help a kid. I'm just trying to create more opportunity to have good acts. If I keep a troubled kid in my troop and he does a bad act, I messed up. But if I keep a less troubled kid in my troop, and good things happen to him, then I've done a good thing for him and the other scouts. So I do want some kids in my troop that are a bit troubled. Not too much, but it wouldn't be worth anything to have a bunch of perfectly good kids.

  22. AZMike, we're probably not going to get anywhere with this discussion, but it's interesting and I'm having fun arguing with you.

     

    I'd never heard of Natural Law before, so I looked it up. In a nutshell, it seems vague at best. I have to agree with ThomasJefferson, the only natural law when it comes to human behavior is best described by Machiavelli. Morality is what keeps us above that muck.

     

    Sexual slavery and debt was real, it was not just POWs that were slaves. Look at wikipedia under the bible and slavery to find a real great quote about selling your daughter as a slave. Comparing criminal incarceration with sexual slavery is not a reasonable comparison. The comment about keeping kosher was really just to point out that many religious leaders, over thousands of years, have been interpreting the rules and stories in the bible.

     

    To answer some of your questions: The behavior is wrong if it's a choice. Just like being stupid is wrong if it's a choice. But what about a scout with Downs? It's not a choice for such a kid. Let me ask you this, do you think gays choose to have same sex attraction? Do you think a gay kid can encourage a straight kid to become gay? If so, then that's where our differences are and there's nothing left to say.

     

    I can understand that some parents will be uncomfortable with gay kids in other troops. Unfortunately the same thing was said of blacks until 1975 when summer camps were finally desegregated in the South. Do you think a gay kid is likely to abuse another kid more than, say, kids with Aspergers, or PTSD (both of which I have in my troop)? Sure, different kids need to be watched differently, but there seems to be no evidence that gay kids are going to be any more dangerous to other kids than kids with other challenges that we already have in our troops. Is it that you don't want gay pride meetings in your troop? Trust me, nobody else wants that either.

     

    "Every kid may come from God, but so do all bullies, racists, alcoholics, and drug addicts. We are allowed to discourage that kind of behavior as well." In all of these instances the kid chooses to do these things. It keeps getting back to choice. Character and morality come from the choices one makes. For a kid that can't make that choice, and isn't harming anyone else, I don't see a problem.

  23. AZMike, I agree with some of what you say and disagree with some. First, there is not a consistent set of moral rules. Different religions believe different things about a few things, homosexuality in particular. I agree that "doing what he or she feels is subjectively right" is a bad idea. But my religious beliefs are different from yours. You might say that I'm not true to the bible, but I'm fairly certain you aren't either. Do you keep kosher? 2500 years ago slavery was fine. It was actually considered a good way to help slaves pay off debts. Nobody believes in that anymore, although it is in the bible. Over 2500 years society has evolved. So it's not that people are doing whatever is convenient, it's that slowly, over decades at the shortest, our definition of moral is changing.

     

    Regarding your point that gay kids present a problem, you may be right. Most kids have problems because they haven't accepted who they are. Accepting that you're gay when your friends are everything has got to be hard on anyone. But is a gay kid any different than a kid that has Aspergers? I've had a few in my troop and one of them would fly off the handle and attack other kids because he couldn't read their signals. Another kid was fine, once you figured out how to talk to him. I know you don't want us to ban all kids with Aspergers. But you're right, it is a risk having a different kid around. I take a risk every time I go on a campout with the children of other parents. Climbing on rocks, throwing snowballs, starting the whole forest on fire, flying canoes from wind, tornadoes, I've been through plenty. Being prepared is important in mitigating that risk. I appreciate that you wouldn't want a gay kid in your troop. I'm willing to take that risk. I might completely screw up. But if I know that a kid is gay it's going to be a lot easier for me to deal with the risk. I'm willing to take that risk not because I think we should have gay appreciation meetings or any such crap, but because every kid comes from God, and that's why the phrase "love the stranger" is also in the bible.

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