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Earrings

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fella,

 

"If boys want to pierce an ear, go for it!"

 

Yes, yes, yes...I understand. It's the fad of the day. We had long hair so we should tolerate their earrings. It's their bodies. Let them express themselves. Don't let the repressive Victorian types put you down, and so on.

 

But, just to be a fly in the anointment, I think I would ask the Scout some questions, like -

 

Why do you want this earring?

 

Do you really believe it will make you look better?

 

Do you think it will affect others' impression of you?

 

If it does affect others impression of you, will it be for the good or the bad?

 

Does it matter what these people think of you?

 

Does it make a difference as to who these people are? Family? Friends? Employers? Strangers?

 

Mohawks come and go as fashion statements too...but I wouldn't recommend every boy to "go for it!" BSA is about character development. Its primary purpose isn't to encourage individualism. Its primary purpose is to turn boys into men. So, if a boy wants an earring, I say, "lets talk about it!" Maybe he'll learn something about himself. Like - an earring doesn't make a man. While these so-called fads are harmless (in the sense that no one is truly scared physically, mentally, or emotionally), what are we teaching the boys? Superficial fads should be embraced? Why not use the opportunity to teach them that its what's inside that counts? The boy may still get an earring, but he should know that it's a poor substitute for good character. If he already has the latter, than I see no harm in the former. The two aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, but we shouldn't blindly endorse every fad (harmless or not) to satisfy the desires of the young.

 

MentoringThat is the most important role of the adult leadership in BSA.

(This message has been edited by Rooster7)

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Finances are often a matter of setting priorities.

 

Although I live in an area where $500,000 homes are common, I live in a townhouse and drive a 15 year old car.

 

Not long ago, a neighbor was complaining about how unfair it was that she couldn't afford internet connection for her kids. She thought that the schools should pay for it. I pointed out that if she or her husband cut back to one pack a day for a month, they could pay for internet service for a few years.

 

I have another neighbor who hasn't bought a bicycle helmet for her son because "you know those things cost $10" but she sits on the porch with her cell phone and uses it all day long to BS with her friends, then brags about how many minutes she uses.

 

On the flip side of all that, I have a friend who lives in a trailer with her two boys. Saying that they don't have two nickles to rub together is a gross overstatement. However, she pays for her boys to go to summer camp. Her boys are properly uniformed (some items did come from the uniform bank). Different priorities.

 

The point here is that we all decide what is important.

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"Its not the rank nor the uniform he

remembers but what scouting has taught him and how that has somehow helped him in his life."

 

It also isn't the uniform that the old sailor or Marine remembers (unless he's thinking about those great liberties :-) but it was an important item at the time.

 

 

 

 

 

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Are you judging these kids? This is not our job. We are teaching valuable life skills, with or without earrings, noserings, or other rings, etc.

 

We all have somthing the may not be the "norm". So do not look down your noses at these that do not follow the "norm" instead learn something from them. you may be enriched!

 

supermom

 

 

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Rooster7:

 

I don't necessarily object to what you say.

 

But since, let's face it, so many boys DO wear a little ring in their ears (if only sometimes to keep the hole), then I wonder if you would be prepared to ask such repeated serious questions to girls as well.

 

The average teen, girl or boy, won't rest upon some magisterial Harvard-standard thesis for the mere fact that they have got an unremarkable, tiny ring in their ear-lobe. They won't have committed themselves to a confessional testimony as to why there's a little round stud protruding from the bottom of their ear.

 

If the colloquiallism 'go for it' is inappropriate, okay.

 

But my point was simply that if there a safety issue, let them take them them out, but let's not get worked up about what is really unremarkable. Character is what counts.

 

 

 

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Supermom,

 

Are you judging these kids? This is not our job. We are teaching valuable life skills, with or without earrings, nose rings, or other rings, etc.

 

We all have something the may not be the "norm". So do not look down your noses at these that do not follow the "norm" instead learn something from them. you may be enriched!

 

Where does that come from? What is your bone of contention?

 

If you're referring to my post (it is not clear as to what specific statement you're responding to), then allow me to make my position more clear. Nothing is inherently wrong with an earring. However, it is our responsibility as adult leaders to help these boys develop good characterto make them think about their actions and their motivations. If given the opportunity, we should encourage them to examine their hearts and minds before they act.

 

As for "nose rings, or other rings" (I'm afraid to ask), I have to wonder just how far are you willing to let a Scout go before you deem a "fashion statement" as unacceptable. There comes a point where it is not only in bad taste, but a serious health risk as well. Furthermore, some fads, such as body piercing are more akin to self-mutilation than embracing the latest style.

 

In short, I am not judging a Scout for wanting an earring. I am challenging him to think about why he wants that earring and to consider what value or benefit he may gain from it. If this is to be considered judgmental, then I stand as guilty.

 

Fella,

 

But since, let's face it, so many boys DO wear a little ring in their ears (if only sometimes to keep the hole), then I wonder if you would be prepared to ask such repeated serious questions to girls as well.

 

Since our job is to mentor boys, I see this question as moot. To satisfy your curiosity, yes, I would ask a girl most of the same questions. The simple fact is though; society tends not to look at an earring worn by a girl as an act of rebellion. I suppose, with each passing year, more and more of society are accepting earrings worn by boys as well. Still, I feel the questions are still worth asking.

 

The average teen, girl or boy, won't rest upon some magisterial Harvard-standard thesis for the mere fact that they have got an unremarkable, tiny ring in their ear-lobe. They won't have committed themselves to a confessional testimony as to why there's a little round stud protruding from the bottom of their ear.

 

Well, I have to admityou're losing me. If you're saying that the presence of an earring will not hinder a boy from advancing in life, I tend to agree. On the other hand, the presence of an earring doesn't add anything to one's life either. If anything, it's merely a sign of vanity. Lest anyone accuses me of insulting women, the customs and traditions of our country for the last several decades (if not centuries) has encouraged women to wear jewelry. That much is obvious. There is a distinction to be made here, but I am digressing. I'm simply saying we should encourage a Scout to ask himself what he gains by wearing an earring. I never implied that we should make proclamations about his character if he chooses to wear one.

 

But my point was simply that if there a safety issue, let them take them out, but let's not get worked up about what is really unremarkable. Character is what counts.

 

I understand and agree. Since "character is what counts", isn't it worth exploring why a Scout feels compelled to wear an earring. If such a boy ever gave me the opportunity, I would counsel him to consider his motivation before piercing his ear. It's not about judging them, it about asking them to use their judgmentto seriously think about why they do the things they do. Once a Scout has figured out why he wants to pursue a course of action (i.e., get an earring, dye his hair, take karate lessons, etc.), I would further encourage him to ponder as to whether or not his reasons are noble. This is called character building.

 

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Rooster, I have a little question about your mentoring session. Let's say the boy has his parents' permission to get his ear pierced. Do you still ask the same questions? Despite the fact that your questions are neutrally worded, it is obvious to the boy what you are trying to get him to do, and the fact that you call it "mentoring" clinches it. So you are trying to influence the boy's behavior. Does it matter what his parents think?

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Rooster7:

 

Thanks. I don't think we particularly disagree.

 

Regards

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I am always amused by people who wear outlandish clothing, have strange piercings or have been tatooed over 50% of their bodies and then are upset when people notice it.

 

There was a boy at summer camp this year who was commonly refered to as "parrot boy" because his hair was a bright green. He would get visibly upset when anyone noticed his impossible to not notice head.

 

If you are going to wear or do unusual things, you need to be prepared for the attention that it brings you.

 

 

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I think males wearing earrings has gone past the fad stage. I know heterosexual men that have worn earrings for at least 15 years or more.

 

When I described one of the ASM's as having long hair and an earring, my son had no idea who I was talking about, even though there is only 1 adult who fits that description in the troop.

 

My rule with my son is that when he is old enough to clean that ear every day without being told, he can get his ear/ears pierced. Same rule I would use with a girl. But since I still have to remind him to use water, soap and shampoo in the shower, I don't think I have to buy any earrings soon. :)

 

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NJ,

 

Despite the fact that your questions are neutrally worded, it is obvious to the boy what you are trying to get him to do, and the fact that you call it "mentoring" clinches it. So you are trying to influence the boy's behavior.

 

Shouldn't a SM or ASM be allowed to influence Scouts? BSA is a character building organization. BSA clearly identifies the SM and ASMs as mentors. How can parents expect them not to influence their children? Just for the record, I do not believe the fact that I call it "mentoring" reveals (or "clinches") anything. I can accept a boy wearing an earring as long as he has examined his motives for wanting to do so. If his motives are noble, I have nothing to criticize. If his motives are not noble, I feel free to advise him of the same. After all is said and done, whether he listens to my counsel or not, I am still going to treat the boy with respect. That does not mean I have to respect everything he does and/or keep my opinions to myself.

 

Does it matter what the parents think?

 

Your frame of reference for this question is not clear.

 

Does it matter what the parents think about a particular issue?

 

OR

 

Does it matter what the parents think about me giving advise on a particular issue?

 

If it's the former, and the parents have not asked me to refrain from advising their son, then the short answer is no. By asking these questions, do I denigrate or dishonor his parents? I believe a SM or ASM can have a different viewpoint than a Scout's parents and still be respectful.

 

If it's the latter, and the parents have asked me to refrain from advising their son, I will respect their wishes. Regardless, parents of Scouts should not be surprised that a SM or ASM will advise their son, whether he is asked or not. This is part of the program. If a serious matter is being discussed (such as faith, sex, etc.), then I feel the SM or ASM has an obligation to bring the parents up to speed as to what was said. However, unless specifically asked to refrain, I believe the adult leadership has a right to give advice.

 

Of course, the chartering organization has ultimate authority in this regard. Yet, this can cut both ways. A chartering organization may choose to tell its leaders that they cannot give advice on such matters. Or, they may advise parents that such a limitation will not be placed on their leaders and that they are free to seek a different troop. I stand somewhere in the middle. If a Scout's parents ask the adult leadership that they refrain from advising their son on a particular issue, and its of a fairly serious nature, then I believe we need to honor that request. On the other hand, if a Scout's parents made the same request in reference to less serious matters, then I think the request is unreasonable. It goes against the charter of BSA, which is to develop a boy's character. This goal would become impossible if the adult leadership was instructed to always refrain from giving advice.

 

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I got one for you. Sit down with your troop and ask the kids if they should be allowed to wear the earrings. In my last troop, we had a scoutmaster that said no way, or thatll be the day etc. In our new unit, I just asked the kids. I said I dont think loops and dangling earrings would be very smart and you know what they agreed with me. Haircuts the same way, you just cannot have any unnatural colors (no kids showing up in purple/green hair unless it something special like a school event). This is the list of restrictions that came from the kids:

 

1. Shirts, which can be considered as vulgar or rude, cannot be worn.

2. Open-faced shoes or sandals where the toes are exposed cannot be worn.

3. Ripped, torn, badly soiled clothing cannot be worn.

4. Short-Shorts, tank tops, short shirts, etc. that overexpose yourself cannot be worn.

5. No more than 3 rings maybe worn on a hand at anyone time.

6. Earrings such as loops, dangling chain, etc. that may become entangled or caught will not be worn.

7. Excessive lipstick and makeup will not be worn. If makeup is worn it will be moderately applied and worn in good taste.

8. Hair, mustaches, beards, sideburns will be neatly groomed and maintained.

9. Body piercing, such as noise rings, naval rings, tongue, eyebrows will not be worn.

10. Unnatural hair colors such as green, purple, maroon, etc. will not be worn.

 

 

Applies to all members, male, female, and adults.

 

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I live and work in a military culture in which hair, tattoos, and piercings are a near-constant source of official and unofficial discussion and attention. To establish my "creds", neither my son nor I have piercings or tattoos, and we both have short haircuts (I because the military says I have to, and him because his mom says he has to). The body's a temple, etc., etc.

 

Having said that, I don't necessarily see tattoos or body piercings in the broad sense as negative character indicators, which is the argument we seem to be hanging our hats on. Silly looking? Perhaps. A impulsive juvenile-driven thing that's almost universally regretted later on? You betcha. But a negative character indicator? I'm afraid I can't make that logic leap...maybe I'm not getting the point. I'll concede that some piercings and tattoos (especially) reflect incredibly bad judgement and can hint at possible character issues. But, I can't question the character of someone who got a tasteful (if you can define any tattoo as "tasteful") "United We Stand" on his bicep after 9-11, just because it's a tattoo.

 

Piercings can be removed; so can tattoos. But, the content of one's character is internal and can't be removed like an earring. In the same sense that an earring by itself shouldn't define someone as a...pirate, being clean cut shouldn't by itself define someone as an upstanding citizen.

 

In a previous Scout unit, I was the unit leader, and my assistant had a punk haircut, multiple piercings (not outlandish), tattoos, and even one of those raised cattle-brand looking things, I don't know what you call them. This person was also a dedicated spouse and parent of 3, selfless volunteer, incredibly effective Scouter (wore only earrings at Scout activities), and one of the top five scroungers I've ever known (and I've known some good ones in the military). Tattoos outside, character inside.

 

regards,

 

KS

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I run Girl Scout troops too. What to wear or not wear with the uniform is less of an issue as it is almost impossible to get a girl to wear a uniform. For my troops I require a sash. Anything else, uniformwise, is up to the girl. National says you are in uniform when you wear your pin. For formal occasions such as Flag ceremonies, awards presentations, etc. I ask for plain and modest clothing. White blouse/shirt and black skirt/pants to be worn with the sash. It has worked for us. At meetings the girls wear what they wear to school. On campouts I insist on studs or nothing for safety, bag the makeup(it's work anyway), appropriate shoes and clothing for the weather(no sandals, spaghetti straps, or too much skin for the sun or bugs). I confiscate gum, candy, electronics, and clothing with inappropriate expressions in meetings or campouts, hikes etc. Tatoos cover them if they are inappropriate. Tongue studs, ok, for meetings not for campouts. We may be too far away for medical help if there is a problem. My best guess is many of these young people will be sorry they did all this junk to their bodies someday.

 

As for me and mine. The girls have earrings, the boy does not. They have all had their hair dyed off and on. I dye too, covers the gray. They stick to natural colors and they have to pay for it.....which, by the way, generally puts an end to it. They seldom wear earrings or makeup...boring and too much work after a while. Young people don't need it anyway. One of mine pierced her own bellybutton....ugh. I had her remove it and it closed up. I'm sure she will again when she is out of the house in a few years. Silly fads. Good luck restricting tatoos and piercings in Boy scouts, in Girl Scouts we just get on with the program and leave the style choices to the girls and parents of the girls. I am sure I'll hear about why that's what is wrong with Girl Scouts, but control it isn't the point of scouting anyway.

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Some of the more recent postings have been about avoiding wearing way-out and excessive things.

 

Well, I agree; don't have any trouble with that.

 

But a while ago:

 

I happened to go for a walk near where I live

 

I happened to see some boys playing football in the street

 

I happened to see that they were all wearing earrings, and all of them in both ears.

 

I really think that it would be inaccurate to say that for boys to get little rings or studs for their ears is either unusual or excessive. I think that boys should be both allowed to have their ears pierced if they wish but also that, in acknowledgment that so many boys do it, people don't need to pay any particular attention to it when they do.

 

fella

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