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Posts posted by NJCubScouter

  1. Exactly.


    I would add this: I have debated several times over the years with people, such as DedicatedDad, who claim to believe in "absolute morality." What they actually believe in is their own belief system as the "absolute," and anybody who doesn't measure up is a "relativist" or worse. It's a convenient way to "win" an argument -- your opinion is no longer just your opinion, it is fundamental, absolute truth, and your counterpart's opinion is no longer just his opinion, but becomes the advocacy of evil. It's a fundamentally dishonest way to debate.


    Folks like DedicatedDad also amuse me because, while they set themselves up at the apex of morality, not everyone would agree with their diagram. To a member of the Amish, or an Orthodox Jew, an extremist Muslim and perhaps others, DedicatedDad would fall far short on the morality scale because the does not toe their line.


    In other words, it's all, um, er, relative.


  2. the sodomy threads


    DedicatedDad, you are one funny guy. "Sodomy threads," really. Is that what you really think of the issue of whether otherwise qualified leaders are disqualified because they are honest about their orientation? It's all about what part goes where?


    Those were rhetorical questions. I'm pretty sure the answers are "yes" even if you don't like the way I asked the questions.


    By the way, do you realize that in some states, "sodomy" is still illegal even between married persons of opposite genders? Better be careful, someone might be looking in your window to check.


    Sorry for the topical diversion, but I didn't start it.


  3. OK, DedicatedDad, let's recap here: I asked you what "values" are violated by hair that is long or pink (seldom do you see both), earrings (by which I mean simple stud earrings, not hoops or baskets of fruit or anything like that)or makeup. You responded with such things as humility, modesty, etiquette and a few others. Before I respond to your response, though, I realized that I need to clarify my question.


    So please answer these:


    1. In your world, do "values" and "moral values" mean the same thing. Or, put another way (I guess this is question 1B), are humility, modesty, and the other things you mentioned, moral values?


    2. Is it immoral for a teenage boy to have long hair? Pink hair? Earring? Makeup?


    I also noticed that when you quoted my question, you ignored the fact that I added "shaved head" to the list. Now, as a bonus, I would ask you to answer question number 2 not only for the items mentioned and "shaved head," but also add "beard" and "mustache." I'll explain why after you answer.


    One more thing. If you do, indeed, believe that "long hair" is either immoral or violates traditional values or both, answer this: Were George Washington, John Adams, James Madison and most of their peers "immoral" because they had long hair? (Yeah, I know they were actually wigs, but it seems to me that if certain hairstyle is immoral, it's worse if you actually make the effort to go out and buy or make it instead of just neglecting to get a haircut. And I didn't mention Jefferson or Franklin because they had their own well-known moral failings that had nothing to do with the length of their hair.)


  4. OK, DedicatedDad, you claimed that a discussion of earrings in the "Traditional Values" thread in "Issues and Politics" would be redundant, presumably because of this thread. So let me ask you this:


    What value -- not just a tradition, but a value, is violated if a boy wears:


    An earring?


    "Long" hair?


    Purple hair?


    Facial makeup?


    You don't need to answer for your other examples, just these. And let me throw in an example: A boy with a shaved head. Does that violate any values?


    What values are violated by any of these things?



  5. The side that says we have no right to expect people to act responsibly and to accept personal responsibility instead of only demanding personal freedom will also have and advocate at their table.


    What "side" says that? I don't know of any group that says we have no right to expect people to act responsibly. The ACLU does not say that. I don't say that. Who says that?


    People are convicted and sentenced for crimes every day in this country, and are thus required to "accept" responsibility for their actions. I don't know of anybody who is opposed to that. The ACLU only takes part when it appears that someone's constitutional rights have been violated.


    Here's a case that the ACLU handled that I hope we could all agree with (though I'm sure some of us don't). You may recall that in the mid-90s Congress attempted to outlaw vaguely-defined "indecent" (rather than just "obscene") expression on the Internet. This would have been a disaster because the word "indecent" can mean too many things to different people. I shudder at the thought that some of the people who post to this board, or people who think like them, could have ended up in positions to decide what is "indecent" for the rest of us. Without trying to sound too conspiratorial, it was reasonable to fear that the thought police would have been out on the rampage. Thank God the ACLU (and other groups) successfully fought to have this statute declared unconstitutional.

  6. Having read DedicatedDad's response to sctmom, I will now post what I originally wrote:


    Dedicated Dad sayeth:


    It would be easier to list an issue and discuss its traditional family values aspects than to try and define centuries of moral and ethical ideals.



    Christian Bigotry


    Condoms Available in School

    Drug Legalization




    Hate Crimes

    Legal Prostitution

    Prayer in School

    Homosexual Agenda

    Liberal Media Bias


    This reminds me of a story from when my son was 4 and a half years old and my wife took him to kindergarten registration at the local public school. There was a learning specialist there who was testing the kids to see if they had any learning disabilities. My son, who had not attended any pre-school, was overwhelmed by all the people and attempted to flee from the room. Finally the teacher prevailed upon him to reluctantly sit in a chair facing her. In between them was a table. She put a basket on the table, took a plastic apple out of the basket, placed it between the basket and my son, and asked him, "is the apple in front of the basket or behind the basket?" Pouting the whole time, he said the apple was behind the basket. The teacher asked him to explain his apparently incorrect answer, and he did. He said: "It's your basket."


    It's your list, DedicatedDad. You should explain what values are reflected in all those items so other people can know what they are responding to. It's not just a question of what you think about the topics, this thread is about what values you think they reflect. Just saying, "we know" is meaningless. I'd prefer meaningful words to ice cream (at least, until I lose some weight.)

  7. So, DedicatedDad, nothing about jewelry on your list, I see.


    I was going to comment on the lack of any discussion by you of your list items, but then I saw you bemoaning the editing situation. So I figure I'll give you a few hours.


    At least the non-editing affects all of us across the ideological spectrum.

  8. Weekender says:


    I'm afraid I have to disagree with you here.


    And you have the right to disagree, and to express your disagreement, as you see fit - thanks in part to the work of the ACLU and others who are constantly defending that right.


    As Paul Harvey says, "Self-government doesn't work without self discipline."


    Interesting statement, but I'm not sure why self-discipline is the responsibility of the ACLU. Self-discipline is just that, SELF-discipline, or put another way, knowing when it is best to refrain from doing something you have the RIGHT to do. (Like the BSA choosing to allow female Scoutmasters on a local-option basis AFTER it won the legal right NOT to allow female Scoutmasters -- a measure that can and should be extended to those who are avowedly gay if they are otherwise qualified to be leaders.)


    The ALCU has a history of promoting not self-discpline but self-indulgence.


    This is somewhat redundant, but: Promoting self-discipline is not part of their chosen mission. Promoting the ability to express yourself is their chosen mission. Who are you to decide what their mission should be? A number of other organizations promote self-discipline, like the Moral Majority or whatever they are calling themselves these days. Every organization chooses its own mission. That's freedom.


    I fully realize that this great country was founded on the principle of inalienable individual rights to freedom but there are times when people of good concience must give up their personal freedoms for the good of society (sort of the way we do in the military).


    Give them up voluntarily or involuntarily? The ACLU fights for your ability not to have your freedoms taken away involuntarily. If you choose to join the military, you give up some of your freedoms so that the military can function the way it is supposed to. (In rare cases, the safety of the country may require that people be drafted, and thereby deprived of their freedoms involuntarily. But that is when the country is really threatened. If the draft has fallen into some disrepute, it is because the last time it was used to fight a war, this country was NOT really threatened.)


    I think the ACLU has lost sight of the general good and concentrates only on individual rights with out regard to the possible harm their actions may do to the country. If everyone is free to do anything and objection to any action is considered "intolerance," as the ACLU believes, then where do we draw the lines.


    As I said, there are plenty of others to take the opposite side from the ACLU, and they often do. Often they are better financed than the ACLU, and often they are the government itself. I believe OldGreyEagle has pointed this out but apparently it bears repeating: The ACLU itself does not change the law or interpret a statute or provision of the constitution -- a JUDGE does that. And if a party disagrees with the judge there is a right of appeal. The daily work of the ACLU boils down to a lawyer standing in a courtroom in front of a judge, arguing a case. There is ALWAYS a lawyer standing at the other table, arguing the opposite position. (And quite often, that lawyer who is arguing a position that may restrict my freedoms, is a government lawyer paid by MY tax money. On the other hand, the ACLU is paid for entirely by private contributions.) Our court system is an ADVERSARY system -- the "truth" is produced by the clash of rival advocates. Or at least that's the theory. But the reality can even approach the theory ONLY if there is a lawyer standing on each side. Without the ACLU, quite often the side of "freedom" would not be represented at all. If sometimes they go too far -- and even if sometimes they win when they should not, which believe me does NOT happen very often -- I think it is a small price to pay.

  9. k9gold-scout writes:


    Would the Americian people be better served if there either no ACLU or no Boy Scout of America.


    I know it's a cop-out, but fortunately we do not have to make a choice. Society is better for the existence of both. Neither are perfect, because they are run by human beings.

  10. I have been wondering the same thing as OldGreyEagle, especially after reading the thread in which some seem to suggest that wearing an earring somehow conflicts with "traditional values." Traditional behavior perhaps (though "traditional" is not necessarily self-defining and, and does not necessarily represent "good" or "exclusively good" behavior), but not traditional values.


    And referring to the BSA's website certainly doesn't do it for me. I have read everything on there in the past, and there is very little discussion of specific values. Most of it deals obliquely with the gay issue without really discussing it. These are public relations statements, and look to me like some of them were written by lawyers for judges to read the next time the BSA has to go to court.


    In some cases, a "link" may be an answer to a question, but in this case it is not.


    So let's see the list. What are "traditional values"?

  11. The following are mostly assumptions from OldGreyEagle's post, but they are probably fairly close to the facts:


    Perhaps Old SPL's enthusiasm for taking command of the troop, even though it is not his job, results from the fact that he is not being "challenged" in his present position of PL. Presumably he was once a PL and did well enough at that job that the troop elected him SPL. Now he is back his former position and is bored. He can do the PL thing standing on his head. So he sees the new SPL perhaps being a bit shy and reticent to take charge, and does not like to see things "drift" in a meeting or activity, so he takes command. As a result, the New SPL becomes even more hesitant.


    I don't necessarily see any "malice" here. The Old SPL is just trying to "help" and probably does not realize that he is trampling on his successor's opportunity to lead. (I am trying to be positive here; it is possible that "power hungry" would be a better description.) But whatever face you put on it, the boy has a "need to lead." This is a good thing, if channeled in the right direction. But it seems to me that PL may not be the right direction.


    So maybe he needs a position that will give him something new to do. Troop Guide? Instructor? When I reached the end of my term as SPL back in the Antedeluvian Epoch, I was already 16 so it was easy, I was made a JASM. Or if Old SPL really needs to be Top Dog in something, maybe he could be encouraged to direct some of his energies to OA if he is a member. There he could possibly rise to chapter chief or lodge chief, if the leadership skills he has shown at the troop level are as readily evident to boys from other units.


    There is a related issue here, and it is one that adults are really no better at dealing with than boys. That is, once you have been Number One, it is difficult to return to a "subordinate" position, and it can also be difficult for the new Number One to deal with. (One might say that dealing with difficulty is part of the learning experience of being a youth leader, but it does not sound like it is being dealt with adequately.) As I said, when I was a Boy Scout I went directly from SPL to JASM so this was not really an issue. However, I have personally faced this situation as an adult. I am on the board of a local foundation to benefit the public school system, and was the second chairman of the board. The first chairman was never quite comfortable returning to being "just" a committee chairman on the board, and I suppose that after I returned to being "just" a committee chairman, there were times that I chafed under the leadership of the new board chairman. I also think back to when I was in law school and a "university senator" and a member of its executive committee, and the president of the Senate (a professor probably 20 years older than I was) accused me at one point of trying to "take over" her job. She probably was not completely wrong, as I saw a leadership vacuum and was trying to help fill it. I wasn't trying to stand at her podium or anything, but I was making suggestions as to what she should do, and she didn't really appreciate it. Now, as an assistant cubmaster, I have managed to subordinate my "need to lead" to the fact that I don't have time to take the responsibility to do the top job the right way -- but in fact I have done part of the CM's job, at his request. We also have had a few "moments" but have worked out a reasonable working relationship.


    All this is by way of example that this may not be the last time in his life that the Old SPL finds himself frustrated at not being the guy standing on top of the mountain.


    As far as the "patrol method" goes, I am not sure how it fits in to this situation. Unless I am incorrect, the Instructor and Troop Guide positions are appointed by the SPL, so the PLC is not really involved. The one exception is, maybe if there are enough other boys interested in a Venture Patrol, this boy needs to be PL of that rather than a regular patrol. At least that would provide somewhat of a new challenge. And forming a Venture Patrol, I assume, is up to the PLC.

  12. BobWhite says:


    Congratulations to your son NJCubScouter for reaching his new rank.


    Thanks! And unlike a number of the other Webelos in our pack, he seems gung-ho about the idea of becoming a Boy Scout, which is good.


    It's just that at some moments in every boys development, nothing fits right.


    Yes, I guess intellectually I knew this, but I have been largely sheltered from the clothes-buying in my family. My wife generally has taken care of this, including uniform needs for our two older children (both Girl Scout dropouts.) The one exception to my wife being the clothes-shopper applies to Boy (Cub)Scout uniforms.


    I was probably a sorry sight in this sporting goods store, staring goggle-eyed at these two shirts while attempting to get my son to stop doing impromptu science experiments with the fishing weights and come over to the Scouting racks and try the shirts on...


    I think you had the right strategy. Buy a little large without looking like you're wearing a tent.(and buy the short sleeve shirt not the long sleeve)


    Maybe half-right, I went with the long sleeve, that is what all the boys in the pack wear, though most of the leaders go for the short sleeve.


    We bought our sons Boy Scout Uniform when he was a 2nd year Webelos, two days ago he turned 14 and the shirt still fits him. (he is at least 8 inches taller now then he was then).


    That's encouraging -- maybe this new shirt and another after he starts growing fast will last him the duration if he goes that far. Though if he needs one more than that, there are a lot worse things to spend $28 on.


    Now what I have to do, so I can spend MORE money, is to get him into a troop that wears the uniform pants. NOBODY in my pack wears them, adults or Cubs. I have thought of buying the pants for both of us anyway, but it will would not be uniform so I'm not sure what the point would be. This will, however, be on our checklist of things to look for in a troop. So if I continue as a leader into Scouting, that will be about $90 for two pairs of pants. Yikes! But worth it, in my opinion. A uniform pool is a good idea, I will talk with the other pack leaders about getting one going.


    By the way, I thought it made more sense when the Boy Scout pants were the same color as the shirt, as they were "back in my day." But I guess there's little point in debating that at this point.

  13. My son is a Webelos 1 (fourth grade.) He is about average size for a 10-and-a-half year old. He has been eligible to wear the tan shirt since September, but he was not in any great hurry, and so we decided to get as much use out of the blue shirt as possible before shelling out for the tan one. Another factor was, I figured that once he earned the Webelos badge, we could make sure he got the oval one, and go right from the blue shirt with the "diamond" of ranks to the tan shirt with the oval Webelos badge. That time has come. He received the Webelos badge on March 1, and buttoning the blue shirt has become a struggle.


    So, yesterday I took my son out to buy the tan shirt. Now I need to know if I made a mistake on the size.


    My wife told me that my son's correct current shirt size is a boys-14, but to look for a 16 so maybe he can wear it for a couple of years. So I look on the rack at the store, and they have Youth Large (14-16) and Youth Extra Large. He tried on the large and it was ok and only slightly big on him; the sleeves were a bit long but not ridiculous. I had a feeling though, that when we got home, my wife's reaction would be, "that will only fit him for a year, if that." Problem is, the Extra Large would literally be a tent on him. The bottom of the shirt went down to his knees, no exaggeration. The Extra Large was basically an Adult Small. So I bought the Large, and when we got home I got the reaction I thought I would get. But I felt I had no choice -- the Extra Large would have looked completely absurd.


    It seems to me that there is an unusually big difference between the large and extra large youth shirts. I would have liked the shirt to at least last him for his remaining year as a Webelos and into his first year of Boy Scouts. That seems unlikely with the "large" shirt. Did I miss a secret in-between size somewhere?

  14. BobWhite says:


    By the way the Arrow of Light is not a rank. It is an award.




    The Scout badge is not a rank, it also is an award. The final rank in Cub Scouts is Webelos, and the first rank in Boy Scouts is Tenderfoot.


    I did not realize that the Arrow of Light was not considered a "rank," and a bit of browsing around on the Internet suggests that people more knowledgeable than I have difficulty with the distinction as well. The Virtual Cub Leaders Handbook contains a lot of information that I have found useful, and at the following address:




    it states that "The Arrow of Light Award is the highest rank in Cub Scouting." So they call it an award and a rank. I remain uncertain of the difference. If the distinction is that a rank is something that is earned in sequence while an award can be earned at any time (or at least at more than one stage along the trail), then Arrow of Light would seem to be as much of a rank as Wolf, Bear and Webelos. (And now Tiger.) I am not sure if Bobcat is a "rank" because it is just the joining requirements (comparable to "Scout"), though the shape and placement of the Bobcat badge seems to equate it with Tiger, Wolf and Bear. (I remember from my own Cub Scout days that the Bobcat badge was a pin and not a cloth badge like Wolf and Bear -- no Tigers in those days and the only "Webelos" rank/award was the Arrow of Light itself.)


    To muddle things further, when I was a Boy Scout in the early 70s, they changed the term "rank" to "progress award," though I believe that a few years after I left, they changed it back. More evidence that the distinction is less than crystal clear.


    Incidentally, when I speak of "awards" above, I have in mind such things as the World Conservation Award, the heroism awards, or for Boy Scouts only, the 50 Miler. You need not earn any particular award before earning any of these awards... well, in the case of the World Conservation award, you must complete certain elective requirements for Wolf or Bear to earn it at those levels, but you actually must earn 2 of 3 specific activity badges to earn it as a Webelos. I don't know about earning it as a Boy Scout. But it's obviously still an "award" and not a "rank."


    So, is there a publication somewhere that actually defines "rank" and "award" so as to draw a clear distinction between them? Or is this just more of the confusion in terminology that I believe is rampant in the Cub Scout program. But I guess that shouild be a topic for another trhead.



  15. To Rooster: In retrospect, my reading of the post in question is that the extensive discussion of the chartered organization's role itself carried at least a potential implication of relevance to this particular set of facts, which I guess I thought negated your disclaimer to some extent. In other words, I did not think that your point was as clear as you thought it was. You have since made it abundantly clear that you were not saying what I thought you might be saying. However, I also was not completely clear, because in discussing the "making up" of facts, I did not mean that you were trying to change the facts of the actual story, but rather that you were presenting a hypothetical, which would normally be fine but which I did not think belonged in this thread about an actual set of facts. Maybe that is just a different way of saying that you were off-topic, which you have basically acknowledged.


    It is also possible that I was unduly influenced by what I saw as chiming-in with DedicatedDad, who did inject his own facts into the discussion, and in fact criticized me for assuming that the scenario presented by the original poster represented the Whole Truth. I am still waiting for an explanation from him, and anyone else who cares to join in, as to how a Scoutmaster could deem a boy's hair length suitable for service as SPL (not just as a candidate for the boys to possibly elect, but as an appointee of the SM), but not as a candidate for Eagle Scout. Those are the facts as they have been presented.


    So, as to you Rooster, I withdraw and regret any negative implications other than that you were off-topic, and normally I wouldn't even say anything about that. In 12+ years of posting on discussion boards on AOL, other services and the Internet, I have been known to make an off-topic remark or two on occasion. I just think it is something to be particularly avoided when someone, and maybe particularly a youth, is asking for help with his own real-life situation.

  16. Thank you, Rooster, for posting part of your post in larger type, my aging eyes appreciate it. But that really isn't the part of your post I was responding to. I was responding to your dragging the subject of the chartered organization into this thread, where it does not belong.

  17. Rooster, why do you and DedicatedDad feel compelled to make up facts that are not part of the scenario presented by the Scout and his mom, and then act as if the answer to your made-up situation is (or may be) the answer to the Scout's question? In your case, there is absolutely no suggestion that the CO has a hair-length policy, or even that the SM went to the CO and asked if he could impose one, and got approval. The facts suggest just the opposite. This boy was appointed SPL by this SM! If there was a rule, or a policy, or a suggestion by the CO, or anything of the kind, that boys in the troop should not have long hair, would this SM have appointed this boy SPL? It makes absolutely no sense to me. Eagle may be the highest rank, but the SPL is the highest ranking boy in the troop even if he is Second Class. So I really have to conclude that this is something the SM came up with on a whim.


    Now, some others seem to have gone even further than I would and state flat-out that a troop may not adopt a hair-length rule, or at least not a rule against long but clean hair. I am not sure this is true, and I take no position on it. What I do take a position on is that if there can be such a rule, it has to be a rule that governs conduct in the troop, by all boys from Scout to Eagle with palms, and smallest boy in the new-Scout patrol to SPL and JASM. What this SM has done is not adopt a rule to govern conduct in the troop, but only by boys (so far, maybe just this boy) who are going for Eagle. And that is not a troop rule, that is an advancement requirement that the SM is adding, and he cannot do that. It is as if the SM said, I don't think 21 merit badges (if that is still the correct number) is enough to show Scout Spirit, you have to earn 23. Or you have to do 2 projects. Or you have serve in a leadership position while a Life Scout for a year instead of 6 months (or whatever it is.) All to show Scout Spirit, you understand.


    Nobody would defend that. (Or maybe, having read some of the posts in this and other threads, I shouldn't assume anything about what people will say around here...)

  18. Dedicated Dad, I am not the one who is "assuming facts not in evidence." I am responding to the post as written, while you are making up hypothetical facts such as the existence of rules that appear nowhere in the posts by those who actually know the facts. I suppose that I, and almost everybody else, are assuming several things: One is that the original writer, and/or his mother, knows that the existence of a rule governing a subject is crucial to a discussion of how that subject is being handled by the SM. Another assumption is that the boy and his mother are trustworthy and would therefore present all the facts they believe to be relevant. Therefore, if there were a rule, they would say so. I therefore respond as if there is no rule. What the Scoutmaster said is not a rule; if there was a rule, he would not be talking about what other Eagles in other units might look like, he would just enforce the rule.


    If I assumed that every writer who presents a "story" were omitting a crucial fact, there would be no point in responding at all, because any response would be worthless. And if everybody assumed that, there would be no point in anybody asking the forum for advice on any subject, because everybody would assume that the questioner is lying about the facts or at least leaving out a critical fact, and the response would not match the question. I see no reason to make such an assumption.


    Also, DedicatedDad states:


    Regardless, I still contend the Scout should work to change the rules or arbitrary whims of his Scoutmaster before he runs to the BSA Libertarian zealots who would do it for him.


    Rules, not in quotation marks, yes. I don't know what a rule in quotation marks is. As for "arbitrary whims," I have agreed with others who have stated that the Scout should speak with the Scoutmaster to state his position and try to get his agreement. The next step, as you suggested in your first post in this thread, would be for the Scout to reconsider his own position and decide whether to challenge the SM. I agree with that. Just because the SM is breaking the rules does not mean that this particular Scout has the obligation to challenge him on it. But the third step, if the Scout in fact decides not to cut his hair or to "collect" examples of long-haired Eagles, would be to follow the established procedures, or rules, to seek a different result.


    And as for "the BSA Libertarian zealots," I find that phrase rather amusing for reasons that, as I have suggested before, would send this thread way off-topic if I were to discuss them here. I don't know whether you are directing that label to people who may or may not be on the Scout's district or council advancement committee, or to people in this forum. If it is the latter, I would comment that BobWhite and Ed Mori, for two, have not demonstrated a great deal of libertarian zealotry on that subject that I am not going to discuss here. The issue there is what should be a rule in a particular instance; but once there is agreement about what the rules are, as there is here, those 2 gentlemen and I agree that you do not enforce a rule that does not exist. That is not particularly "libertarian," not that that is necessarily a bad word. Almost (note the "almost") everybody I know, including posters on this forum, is a "libertarian" on at least some subjects, even if they don't identify themselves as such.


    And finally DedicatedDad, I am wondering how many different people are writing under your account name. In your first post in this thread, you said:


    I see no compelling reason to cut your hair, you certainly have the right to complete your Eagle however you want while remaining inside the rules, let the chips fall where they may. I think youre on solid ground here to make this happen on your terms.




    You have the absolute right to finish your Scouting career in whatever manor you wish, but just because you can doesnt mean its the right thing to do.


    Those statements do not seem consistent with your most recent posts regarding "rules" and "Obedient." At first, you thought the Scout had the right to do what he was doing, you just questioned whether sticking to his guns would well serve him in later life. Now you are questioning whether sticking to his guns is right or wrong, a violation of "rules" and dis-Obedient. If you are merely playing Devil's advocate, you should say so and save the rest of us the time and energy of responding. Otherwise, these cannot both be the opinions of the same person.

  19. I, too, have just encountered the gremlin that prevents one from editing posts. In my last post, the underlined material at the beginning should instead be italicized, and should be preceded by the words: "Ed Mori writes:"

  20. If a Troop has rules regarding personal grooming then I feel they are out of line. It is NOT the responsibility of the BSA to define what acceptable personal grooming is. This isn't the Armed Forces.


    Personally, I don't like guys wearing earrings. But if a Scout wants to wear one, then that's his right. Will it effect my opinion of the Scout? I hope not.


    As long as the personal grooming issue doesn't present a safety hazard then I feel the SM in this case is out of line.


    I agree completely. I suspect that our personal opinions have something to do with when and where we grew up. When I was in high school, no guy would ever wear an earring. By the time I was in college, it had gone from unheard of to extremely rare, and within several years it became "in style" in some circles (and not just "those" circles). It is still disconcerting to me to see one now, and I have brothers-in-law that wear them, and I know lawyers who go into court wearing them. It falls into the category of "live and let live," though for a few writers in this forum, that may be an alien concept.


    As for other things, I would hope that a Boy Scout would not have tatoos or non-ear piercings, but since most (if not all) states require parental permission for a minor to do either, I don't feel it is Scouting's place to say that the parent is wrong. (Last summer I reluctantly signed for my daughter to get her navel pierced, but she was 19 and was paying the $60 out of her own pocket, and only needed my signature because she couldn't find her i.d., and besides, she is not in Scouting.)


    There may be a situation that becomes so extreme, like multiple and conspicuous body alterations, that it inherently detracts from the operation of the unit, but that has to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. I have never actually seen an example on a minor that would be at the level I am talking about.


    And what about a young man with fingernail polish or fake fingernails? I saw this just recently on someone not of Scouting age, but in his very early 20s. Not pink polish either, but a dark color and highly buffed and polished, and maybe fake, at that point I didn't really want to know. I just shook my head in mild dismay. But if this were in a Scouting situation, he wouldn't be violating any rule, so what could you do?


    I would again make a plea to return this thread to advice to the Scout in question, and not a forum for hypotheticals about underwear styles. I endorse BobWhite's comments in this regard.

  21. DedicatedDad writes:


    A Scout is Obedient.

    A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobeying them.


    What are troop rules? Can there be troop rules for personal appearance? If a scout thinks the rules are unfair isnt it his obligation to change them himself and not having an adult intervene for him? Talk about it amongst yourselves, Ill get back to you.


    This raises interesting hypothetical issues but I don't think they have much, if anything, to do with this case. Nothing in the facts presented by the Scout or his mother suggests that there is a troop rule regarding hair length. In various forums I have read various opinions as to how, and by whom, troop rules are adopted, but nowhere have I read that a Scoutmaster may adopt a rule unilaterally. Opinions also seem to differ on whether a troop may adopt a hair-length rule at all, but let's assume that it can.


    One view, which seems reasonable to me, is that rules impacting on health and safety are adopted by the committee (and some would add, with the approval of the CO), while other rules (which I would say, include rules on appearance) are adopted by the PLC (and some would add, with approval by the committee and/or CO). The SM is not an essential player in that process, though in my opinion he/she should have a strong advisory role, and if I were a committee member I would go with the SM's recommendation unless there were a clear reason not to. However, as I suggest above, on hair length I would leave it to the boys as long as they don't depart too far from reason (like saying everybody has to shave their heads or everybody has to have blue hair.) I can tell you that when I was a Scout in the early and mid 70s, nobody in my troop would have dreamed of suggesting a rule on hair length, and some of the high-school-age boys (including me) did have ears that were not readily visible.


    Regardless of whether there can be a troop rule regarding hair length, a rule would be far preferable to what has happened here. When you have a rule, it is preceded by discussion and debate. A broad group of people, whether it be the PLC, the committee or both, get to consider the matter and suggest alternatives. (In this particular case, it seems unlikely to me that the PLC would have adopted a rule against long hair, when the SPL is (or recently was), this very same boy.) Perhaps most importantly in the rule-making process, once the rule is adopted, notice of the rule is given to those who are expected to abide by it and those who are expected to enforce it. This is a basic element of what lawyers call "due process," but what is in reality, just basic fairness. I don't think anyone would argue that a Scout troop should not be governed by basic principles of fairness. Once a rule is adopted, in a voluntary organization such as Scouting, people have several options, including leaving for another unit with different rules.


    No rule was adopted here. A SM decided arbitrarily that a boy should not be Eagle because of his hair. He did not say the boy should not be a member of the troop, and in fact appointed him Senior Patrol Leader! That boggles my mind. First of all, perhaps this guy has not read that the SPL is supposed to be elected by the boys, not chosen by adults. But the mind-boggling part is, why would the SM appoint a boy SPL if he felt that his hair length was not in keeping with Scouting? A troop may have many Eagles, but only one SPL. The boys are supposed to view the SPL as an example, second only to the SM as a role model. So you appoint a boy with long hair as SPL, encouraging the boys to look up to him, and then you say he is not fit to be an Eagle? It makes no sense to me. I wonder how this SM would explain such a thing to the district or council advancement committee.


    So the main point is, this Scout did not disobey a rule. There was no rule, just an arbitrary edict that conflicts with the published advancement requirements. Those are the rules that matter in this situation, and if the Scout meets them, he should get his Eagle.


    So I would suggest, DedicatedDad, that if you want to start a thread on troop rules, let's do it. I can take this post and edit it down to state my opinions on the general topic, omitting all reference to this particular Scout. But in this thread, why don't we try to help this Scout -- which by the way, I think you did in your first post in this thread. Since there was no rule involved here, all of this is just a side-road that doesn't help in this case.

  22. Inspired by this thread, and having a 24-year hiatus to my "credit," what I would like to do is wear a service star(s) for my youth service to go along with the 2-year "leader" star that I just received from my cubmaster at our pack's Blue and Gold Dinner. If I recall correctly, when I stopped being active as a Boy Scout (actually as an 18-year-old ASM) to go to college, I was wearing a single 10-year star to denote my combined Cub and Boy Scouting. I do not remember what the backer color was. (Where this particular star is is currently under investigation; my brother inherited my shirt sometime while I was in college, and about 2 weeks ago I realized that none of the insignia that were on there at the time, including my Philmont pocket-arrow, OA arrow and Lincoln Trail medal with the second-time stovepipe hat device, and 70's-era ASM patch, are in my patch collection. I'd really like to get that stuff back, particularly the ones I just mentioned. Hopefully my brother, who is looking for his own patch collection, has been keeping my stuff in there for "safekeeping" for the past 26 years or so, but we shall see.)


    Anyway, my question is, regardless of whether I find my old star or go buy a new one(s), what should the backer color be to combine Cub and Boy Scouting but not to include adult service. Obviously a 10-year star with the Boy Scout youth color would not look right. But I'd like to differentiate my youth star from my adult star, so putting the light blue backer on both the 10 and the 2 wouldn't do the trick either.

  23. Bob White says:


    The Webelos badge may now be worn temporarily, until the Scout Badge is earned.


    I had not heard that before, and it is directly relevant to my son, who was awarded the oval Webelos badge 5 days ago and will be crossing over in a year, give or take a few days. (He is still in the blue shirt, which has gotten tight, but we were waiting until he got the Webelos badge to buy the tan shirt, put the Webelos badge on there, and transfer the "diamond" rank badges and arrow points to the red patch vest.)


    So what you are saying is that after my son (and his den-mates) cross over, and put on their red shoulder loops to attend their first troop meeting, they may keep the Webelos badge where it is until they have satisfied the Scoutmaster that they have passed the Scout requirements and are awarded the Scout badge. This seems logical, but it points out what I think is a quirk in the rank progression, which has been underlined by the creation of the oval Webelos badge. When my son crosses over, his current rank will NOT be Webelos, it will be Arrow of Light, even if he receives the Arrow of Light badge a few seconds or a few minutes before he walks over the bridge, as is the tradition in my pack. Why didn't they make the Arrow of Light an oval patch too? If the answer is, "because the small rectangular Arrow of Light has been around for x number of decades," I can understand that, tradition is important and my own patch collection includes my Arrow of Light rectangular patch from 1969. But there is still a break in the logical flow of things when the second-highest Cub rank is the same shape and in the same position as all of the Boy Scout ranks, and the highest Cub rank is in a different shape and position. It's really not a big deal and I suspect my son won't analyze it that closely, but I have to wonder whether National really thought about this enough before they did it.


    I am wondering, is there a publication that states what you have mentioned about wearing the Webelos badge temporarily until Scout is earned. I can't help it, I'm a lawyer and always like to read things for myself. :)

  24. After reading FScouter's comments, I want to clarify my earlier answer. My point was that the Scoutmaster is wrong to make his request. That does not mean that you want to have a confrontation with him. As FScouter says, diplomacy is called for, and as jmcquillan says, it might be appropriate to have an adult intermediary deal with the scoutmaster. Usually Scouts should be able to deal directly with the scoutmaster, but that assumes that the scoutmaster is acting in his proper role of teacher, advisor, counselor, role model, mentor, etc. Even disciplinarian, when necessary, if it is something that is beyond the junior leaders' ability to deal with. But I think he has stepped out of those roles, and is now acting like a commanding officer. (Would I be wrong in speculating that he holds such a job for a living?) I agree that that is for an adult to deal with.


    As for DedicatedDad's comments, I agree with them also, if I interpret them correctly. I do not believe he is necessarily suggesting which way you should go, just trying to give you something to think about as you make your decision. DedicatedDad is also perhaps assuming some things about your life that we don't actually know. Perhaps you are Bill Gates' only son and don't have to worry about how you are going to survive in this world. (I know, I know, Bill doesn't have a teenaged son and perhaps no children at all. But you know what I mean.) Perhaps you are planning to join the Army at 18 and want to keep your long hair until then. If, however, you are committed to the "normal" path of finishing high school, going on to college and a job, then it is certainly true that learning which battles to fight and which not to fight, when to compromise and when not, and when and how to be flexible, are essential survival skills in life.


    Not... and I promise, this is an observation and not a jab... Not that I necessarily expected DedicatedDad to be the one to make the point about flexibility. There is a particular sentence in his post that almost made me choke on my coffee, in light of the goings on in other threads, but rather than send grekonsz's thread hurtling off in an unforseen and unhelpful direction, I will post my comments elsewhere when I get a chance.


    Just as a point of interest, by the way, somewhere in my brother's possession is a picture of him with fairly long hair at age 18 at his Eagle Court of Honor, in 1982. Also in my parents' house is a picture of my Philmont crew from 1974, with hairstyles ranging from military to shoulder-length (neither of which were mine, but as I said before, my hair was not short.) As I recall the photo, however, only one Eagle badge is visible, and I think that kid had short hair.

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