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Long Time Scouter needs New Guidance

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Let me express my point in this manner:


If your boss said to you, "You screwed up. Drop and give me 20," and you were not currently a member of the United States Armed Forces, would it be appropriate?


I don't think so.


What if the boss pulled you out of your cubicle and told you to recite the employee handbook and asked you which rule you violated. In front of your peers.




Don't think so.


I would think the Scouts expect to be held to the standards of the pack or troop, but would prefer to be reminded of the rules or disciplined in private.


There's a fine line between using peer pressure in a positive manner by having the offender blow out the Good Conduct Candle at a den meeting, and physical punishment such as push-ups.


I guess I'm in the no push-up punishment category.



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Some of us are very set in our Scouting ways. Maybe we "require" full uniforms of our scouts. Maybe we step in and run a meeting when it isn't going fast enough, or well enough (the adults can do it better and we'll show the scouts how to do it right). Maybe we only count scout activities for an Eagle palm when any demonstration of leadership ability will do. And maybe we make them do push-ups as punishment for misbehavior.


The interesting thing about the Forum is that when we ask for opinions and help and we don't hear what we want to hear, we resist the opinions of some very experienced advisors here.



Don't fight it. BSA has a program and you are not following it when you haze and embarass your Scouts. As you can see from the responses here, there are far better ways of getting where you want to go than by the road you are taking.


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Eamonn, You might not have understood my question, but you answered it very well. ;-)


I don't see the role of the PL or the SPL being that of the Punisher.


I absolutely agree. They are leaders, not punishers. Our PLC has sometimes gone into discussions about "what are we going to do about this or that?". I try to get them to think about ways to encourage good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior.


Within a patrol there is at times conflict, how the PL manages it or deals with it could be a sign of how good a job he has been done in passing on the skill of leadership.


I like the way you put this. PLs and SPLs are going to deal with conflict (probably some form of it on every outing). Dealing with that conflict in a productive, scout-like way, is a sign of a well-trained, confident leader. If their methods don't work (whether it's due to poor methods or the misbehaving lad), then they need to seek help from a more senior leader.

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Hey Dan,

That looks Her Who Must Be Obeyed on a bad day.

(I hope see never sees this or it will be more then her finger that she points at me!!)


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Before discerning the correct "disciplinary actions" to be administered, let us first look at the word and its fundamentals. The root-word for "discipline" is "disciple," meaning "follower of a teacher." Therefore, if the scouts are "undisciplined," then can it be that they are in need of a teacher; someone to teach and guide them on how to be a good scout? Can it be that they do have a teacher who does indeed try to instill the values of scouting in them, but they simply don't respect the teacher enough to abide by his rules?


Making the kids do pushups does nothing for them to respect the leadership and rules of order in the troop. If you intended on instilling order in the troop so that things may get done, then you may have succeeded. If you intended on changing the scouts' behavior through the use of pushups, then you still may have succeeded in doing so. If you intended on changing the scouts' attitudes by means of this pushup institution, then I do not believe you have succeeded.


These scouts need someone to look up to; they need a sense of honor, a sense of pride, so that they can truly come to respect those dedicated individuals who make the troop work, and realize that they're not helping those leaders by acting up. My best guess is that if the troop is full of 11-12 year-olds, then they will eventually come to this realization as they mature. Otherwise, if the troop consists of scouts only in one young age group, it is very difficult to have it boy-lead.

I understand your difficulties.


Always remember: scouting is a game, not a science.

Learn to be flexible.

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my local training states that the use of "push-ups" as a form of *punishment* is hazing and/or harrassament. personally, i couldnt agree more.


one should note however, that Tenderfoot Requirement 10a/b *requires* new Scouts to physically perform "push-ups". (IMHO, this is an entire different thread of its own).


for me , i dislike the use of the word *punishment*.


but as SM, i fully support the notion that a Scout should accept full accountability for his own inappropriate behavior. correcting those behaviors should be according to BSA & CO guidelines.





"it is easier to build boys than to repair men"



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"The best leaders are those the people hardly know exist.

The next best is a leader who is loved and praised.

Next comes the one who is feared.

The worst one is the leader that is despised.


If you don't trust the people,

they will become untrustworthy.


The best leaders value their words, and use them sparingly.

When she has accomplished her task,

the people say, "Amazing:

we did it, all by ourselves!""





Which kind of leader uses push ups as a motivator?


What kind of leader do you really want to be?

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Push ups are hazing and inappropriate -- that's simple. The parents, Scouters and even the Scouts, themselves, can't change that with a vote -- that's simple. Changing pre-teens behavior?? -- That's complicated!


Goodmana, you've read lots of good ideas. Just keep trying one after another until you find the right key. And after that one works for a little while, you'll need to find a different one. And, OH BTW, it's best to have several handy at any given moment, since the key for each boy might well be different!! Be sure the boys see several and agree that they're fairly equitable. Help them see that each boy will earn the consequence that helps them achieve appropriate behavior. For one boy it might be that calling home is far worse than public embarassment. You CAN'T choose the former, and probably SHOULDN'T choose the latter, so you need to find one that works well for that individual boy. Like I said, "different strokes . . . Good Luck!!!


Troopmom, I'll bet you take care of the candle, right? Aside from the safety issue, having a boy extinguish the candle because of bad behavior is also an inappropriate form of public embarassment. I think Unc just read too much into that one - public embarassment, even if it's gently applied to little Scouts, still doesn't fit.


BeaverWarrior, if you have ADD diagnosed boys, then it might help, if you haven't already done this, to get in contact with their school. You'll need the parents approval and participation, of course, but you'll be able to access a fairly impressive array of professional opinions and solutions. Don't expect concrete answers, because their are still as many descriptions of ADD (and treatments) as there are doctors and teachers. If the boys are medicated, you may just be getting them at the "wrong time of the day". At the very least, you'll gain a better understanding of the problem you're facing.


As far as the Oath and Law go, you might not see their use as punishment, but certainly the boys will see it that way. You're probably doing more harm than good as you build resentment. Even among the "well behaved" boys, you will probably start to see them use the Oath and Law as punishment rods with which to smite each other.


Boy Scouts don't do snack time????? Yikes!!! CUBS RULE!!!!


The Tao of Silver-Shark?? Well played!!!



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