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jps

Balance II

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Well, there certainly are some interesting ideas to my original posting and I thank you. The posting is going in a different direction so let me throw some not uncommon situations:

 

1. Dad/Mom is going on a scout function and their son/daughter says, "I would really rather go to soccer, swim meet, school dance, etc. and I would like you to be with me." Now you have commmitted yourself to be somewhere other than your child and your child would rather be and your child wuld like you to be with them. So where does that put you.

 

2. Scouters that I have know, have children who have dropped out of Scouting, at an early age. The Scouters question whether they should have paid closer attention to their own child's progress and less to other people's children and would it have made a differenc in keeping up their enthusiasm for Scouting.

 

Thanks for your thoughts.

 

JPS

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When my son wa younger I told him if he started something sports - scouting - etc. he could not quit mid season or in scouting case mid year. If he did not want to rejoin next year he could quit at that time. I told him he has a commitment to his troop or to his team and he would have to keep to the schedual to the end.

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1. If I could not get someone to cover for me, I would explain that I have made a commitment and I will honor the commitment I made.

 

2. ???!!!!

 

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RE: #2

 

There is a fine line there between too much and too little; striking a balance is something dad or mom must conciously work at. I have seen both in my years as a Scouter.

 

Too much attention to others at the expense of one's own son is one reason that results in early dropout for a Scouter's son. Sometimes we try too hard to avoid an appearance of "favoring" our own sons. As I wrote in the "Balance" thread, my humble advice is that you must, must, must, have a parent-child relationship with your son(s) during the Scouting experience. During the time that my sons are in Scouts, I am in scouting with them and there for them when needed. I allow them no more than anyone else, but give them no less.

 

Another reason for early dropout is expecting too much. This is the "Scoutmaster's son should be better than everyone else" syndrome (best in competition, highest rank, most merit badges, highest leadership position, best backpacker, and on and on). My father and I had this relationship for awhile as soccer coach / soccer coach's son and it made both of our lives difficult. We were both very good in our respective roles as coach and player, but my oh my was it a tenuous relationship. I try very hard to balance high goal setting and expectations with realistic goals and expectations.

 

If you have more than one son in Scouts, recognize and accept that they are individuals and often very different from each other.

 

For me and my sons, it helps to use a team approach to our scouting life:

 

 Contribute ideas and solutions

 Recognize and respect differences

 Value ideas and contributions

 Listen and share

 Ask questions; give and get clarification

 Participate fully

 Keep your commitments

 Acknowledge / recognize a job well done

 

Life's not always a bed of roses, but I think we're doing OK.

 

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Ditto to k9gold-scout and others.

 

Also, I don't commit to events that don't involve my kids directly. I don't have the time.

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Some points of clarification:

 

Most youth have multiple interests. Being a Scout does not preclude playing competitive sports, or going to social events. Opting to attend an alternate activity in lieu of a scouting activity is not always failing to honor a committment.

 

When a scouter become involved with scouting with his child or in any other acitivity, there may be a time when the youth does not wish to participate in a specific activity,for whatever reason, leaving the adult to either honor his committment and not spend time with his child or to excuse himself from his committment.

 

An example: Summer camp is planned for, and you tell the Comm. that you will be part of the adult staff that is going on the outing. Prior to the response date for the youth, your child is given an opportunity to do some other unexpected activity during that same week. Let's say he drops time and is awarded a spot to represent his team at a one week swim meet that is going to be the same week that summer camp is scheduled for.

 

Scouter dilema, go to camp or see your son swim in a once in a lifetime experience.

 

JPS

 

 

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I don't allow the dilemma to happen. Before I commit to an event, I ask my child if he wants to participate. Once my child commits, then I commit. Once I commit, then I won't allow my child to back out. If I'm not involved, and the change of plans does not hurt the organization sponsoring the event, I might allow my child to change his mind.

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My son's scout troop has a spaghetti dinner fundraiser this saturday. I have been committed to an Intoduction to Outdoor Leader Skills course before the dinner was set. My Son's Adventure Club at HighSchool has a weekend expedition planned that was announced after the dinner was planned. My son sold dinner tickets but is going on the club activity. I will be at training and my wife will work the spaghetti dinner. Life happens.

 

Bob White

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I know that this will get some flack but here goes:

 

The sooner my children learn that my life DOES NOT revolve around them, the better. To say that I will not commit to an event if my son is not in it is ludicrous. Rooster, you obviously do not have more than one child. As a volunteer leader, I volunteered to LEAD, not cater to my childs whims.

 

As an SA, joining when my oldest crossed over into Boy Scouts, I purposely did NOT go to his first camp-out and to summer camp that first year. Did he like that, no. But he needed to go without mom or dad. That is part of the scouting experience in my book. Now, I go on almost all of his outings, 80% as SA, 20% as dad. I've seen too many leaders who only go if their son goes and don't allow their son to go if they don't. How sad. What are they teaching their children?

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Maybe the problem I have is unique to single moms with boys. My son tends to think of himself as my equal and partner if I don't have some activities that are only for myself. I have to try to have some adult things that I go do without it, so he knows he is not the center of the universe and not my partner.

 

Our current problem is that he seems to think that I enjoy scouts so much he can manipulate me by pitching a fit at a scout meeting. He must think I will continue to worry over him being involved. Last night was the final straw in that game. Game over.

 

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". . . Opting to attend an alternate activity in lieu of a scouting activity is not always failing to honor a committment."

 

Agreed. Unless one has made a commitment by virtue of attendance, that others are depending upon.

 

". . . there may be a time when the youth does not wish to participate in a specific activity,for whatever reason, leaving the adult to either honor his committment and not spend time with his child or to excuse himself from his committment."

 

As Bob White writes "life happens." The choice can only be made by you; it is an individual choice based upon your circumstances and priorities. How one makes the choice is what becomes important.

 

I think there may be a difference in the way we see "commitment." If I commit to being one of two needed leaders for an activity, I feel that I have made a commitment that should not be broken, except under extenuating circumstances. If I decide that another activity is of importance and can find another leader to take my place, the "commitment" has been honored so long as it is not my attendance personally that is what is being depended upon.

 

As an instructor, I have made a "commitment" that is dependent upon my personal attendance. Unless acceptable arrangements can be made to reschedule, or another equal instructor is acceptable, I am bound to honor my commitment.

 

A simple indication of attendance is not necessarily a commitment. If one of several scouters attending an activity must be absent and by that absence will not be "missed", then no harm - no foul. The commitment only extends to making sure that absence will not creating a hardship.

 

I am troubled by failure to honor a "commitment"; for instance, parent "commits" to driving scouts to an event and calls the morning of the event to beg off because of another "commitment." My answer is, find someone to take your place and your commitment has been honored. Knowing that things are not always black and white, I still have trouble understanding how one can have more than one (conflicting) "commitment" at the same time.

 

On one of the other comments, my sons know that they are expected to keep their commitments as I do mine, but my commitments and priorities are not the same as theirs, and between the two sons there are differences. They need to establish a life of their own, with their own priorities and commitments. And they need to understand that while mom and dad love them very much and thoroughly enjoy being with them, there come times when our lives do not revolve around them. Sctmom, hurrah; it's a difficult thing to do sometimes.

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Thank you all for your input and suggestions. This board is truly a valuable resource for information and feedback.

 

JPS

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Acco40,

 

The sooner my children learn that my life DOES NOT revolve around them, the better. To say that I will not commit to an event if my son is not in it is ludicrous. Rooster, you obviously do not have more than one child. As a volunteer leader, I volunteered to LEAD, not cater to my child's whims.

 

Actually, I have four children. I don't think you read my post carefully. I think we are in agreement. What I said was - If I commit to a particular event, it's because my child wants to commit to that event as well. I did NOT say that I commit to every event that my child does. No one has that much energy. However, I do not commit to youth organization events that do not involve at least one of my children.

 

As for being a volunteer leader - yes, I'm there for all of the children, but my primary reason for being there is the fact that my child is involved. If my child were not there, I wouldn't be there.

 

As for not allowing a son to go unless dad goes, I say it depends. I have three boys. Each is different from the other. As a result, I don't believe one size fits all. Each child needs to be treated in accordance to the behavior he demonstrates.

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