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My dad's from PA... Just outside of Uniontown, Brownsville.


I'm only aware of one brother, who lives down in Dayton. And he's not the kind of guy who would be involved in Scouting. I doubt OGE is him.


But, you'll never hear me complain if I get called OGE's long lost brother!



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Jeez OGE - Up until that last post I thought the two of you were experiencing some kind of bonding moment...then you had to turn it into something really ugly. ;-)


Did you ever thought the day would come, when saying "far out" was a sign of your old age? If not, I just want to advise you - That day is here!

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Hey, do you know how much restraint I had to use not to refer to us two brothers as two WILD AND CRAZY GUYS

::twisting shoulders in appropriate manner::


BTW, My oldest brother's name is Mark, isnt this like the Lincoln/Kennedy thing?(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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I am glad to see that this thread is trailing off on a positive note. My tenure with this forum is still very short compared to most members but it has seemed to me that lately several of us are a little testy. I must add my scouting experience is improving by being here. One of the biggest lessons for me has been the realization that I can be too "casual" in the words I use and that by being too casual and not using a more fitting word, I can send all kinds of the wrong messages. Whether it is my troop or BSA representative, or whatever, These forums have awaken me to the concept that I am dealing with young impressionable minds and thus being a role model for these young men, I need to be a little more keen that the words I am choosing to use, are heard and understood the way I would intend them to be.




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Anonymous quote. "And just whose mother is it anyway? Why it must be "my" mother..." OGE, just to bring a little light-hearted biological reality to something I think you said,

the supposed mother from Chicago knew absolutely that the baby was hers. Paternity, on the other hand (as we biologists like to remind people), is always in doubt. Have a nice day. :)

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I would agree with SM406.


This thread reminds me of an ongoing conversation my Dad & I often have. Ill say, for example: I have to go to work, and hell say: No, you get to go to work, and then the argument (discussion really) proceeds between us on what Im really trying to say. My point being that Im required to report for work or lose my job. His point being that I sound as though Im complaining and have actually chosen to go to work (life being about choices and such), and that Im privileged to have the opportunity. Privileged in the sense that Im healthy enough to work, I have a job, live in a country that allows me to be in my profession, and so on. Hes emphasizing how fortunate I am, and that by the words I use it appears as though Im not realizing it.


My Dad knows what I mean yet he calls me on it every time.


So, from my experience I can see Bob Whites point and agree with it to a great extent, but people still look at me funny when I say I get to go to work, just like they might if I said the troop I serve instead of my troop. It does give me an opportunity to explain myself and possibly give the person asking a new perspective.




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I've been watching this thread with interest, but without saying much. I see both sides.


I agree that some folks use the word "my" and mean it to be ownership. I once supervised a District Executive who would stand up at Roundtable and say, "You have to get more members in your unit. My district will NOT have a membership loss this year!" This was definately negative leadership and he's no longer in the profession. He firmly believed that he was the leader/owner of his district (and it just ain't so.)


However, I fall more on the side of the use of "my" as an affiliation.


If you look at it from the National perspective -- every troop in the BSA is part of the BSA. They get to use "A" instead of "my." For example, in Boy's Life magazine in the comic that depicts meritorious action, it just says, "so and so, a -------- Scout in troop XYZ . . ."


If that Scout came from the Southern Region and I was having a cup of coffee with the Regional Director (which hasn't happened, but it could) I would understand fully if the Scout's name came up and he said, "yes, he's from my/our Region." I wouldn't blame him and position wouldn't have anything to do with it.


If I were having a cup of coffee with the Area Director and he said "Yes, he is with one of my troops," I similarly wouldn't blame him, even though the Scoutmaster probably didn't have the faintest idea that the Area Director advises the Scout Executive and is the tool that the Region uses to assist local councils in their mission.


I also wouldn't blame a council president or scout executive for saying the same thing because they too have a stake in the health and welface of the troop under their responsibility.


Nor would I blame the DE for taking a similar stance or the district chairman or the district commissioner or the scoutmaster, troop committee, chartered organization, . . . do you see where I'm headed?


It truly does take a village . . .


I like the analogy of "my town" because it truly applies here.


Now -- before some of you jump on me by starting with the national organization and working my way to the Scout, let me make a comparison. Please take a few seconds to absorb it.


I'm a quilter, so this analogy is easily understood by me. I'm also a professional scouter and have an understanding of the thinking of national, region, etc.


I'm about to go and get into bed. It's a chilly night in Wisconsin, so we have several layers on the bed.


Let's say the top layer -- the large quilt we use as the bedspread is the BSA national council. It covers all, but does not own the bed.


The next layer down is the quilt we use as the coverlet. Call it the region.


The next layer down is a bit battered, but it is the quilt most loved because I made it for my wife as a wedding gift. Call it our council.


Then we have another quilt that gets hauled to the couch when one of us is sick, or wrapped around us for a comfortable nap when it isn't on the bed, or just there when we need comfort. Call it the district.


Below that there is the top sheet. Neither one of us can sleep without one. On a warm night, the top sheet it is all we need. Let's call that the pack, troop, team, crew.


Who does it all exist to serve? Who is really the most important component?


The Scout (or Cub Scout or Venturer.)


Organizationally, the bedspread quilt is on top, but that doesn't mean it's the most important.



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Ken you have a very wise father and he taught you an important lesson. How we use words matters. Not only do our thoughts shape our words, but our words shape our thoughts.


I had a friend who had a dog that he named stupid the day he brought it home. He did so because he thought that that it would be funny to lean out the door and call out "come here stupid" and see the reaction on peoples faces. This was an ordinary dog and did the ordinary dog stuff but by the time he was a year old guess what happened? My friend was amazed to disover that the dog really was stupid.


Of course it wasn't really, he did silly stuff just like any animal, but all my friend saw was the "stupid stuff" because that is what he conditioned himself to see. In fact he trained himself better than he trained the dog. It's human nature.


Hillcourt's admonishment to me as a young scoutmaster made a huge difference in the way I thought about my role in the unit. "Your troop was the one that you were in when you were a boy" he said. "This troop belongs to the sponsor and the boys. You and your assistants have the priviledge of being their scout leaders. You are here to serve not to be in charge, and if you tell yourself and others that it is "your troop" then that is how you will run things.


You are no less affiliated with a unit by saying "I am the Scoutmaster of the troop at (insert name here)", or "I am the Scoutmaster at troop (insert # here)", or "the troop I serve as Scoutmaster" but whether you realize it or not when you say "my troop" you cannot help but to act upon that image. I cannot help but think about how my friend would have treated that dog differently if he had named it Gorgeous, or Einstein.


I am sure that it affects us at other levels such has district and council etc., but that doesn't concern me as much as the work we do with the boys.


other posters have riduled this by comparing it to 'my wife', 'my car', 'my kids' i'm sorry but you are missing the point. Unless she is married to someone else as well, she is your wife. Unless someone else is their parent they are your kids, unless you stole the car it is your car, even if there is a mortgage on the house if you live there it is your house. But it is not your troop, it belongs to the CO and the boys. Saying "my troop" is taking ownership and we don't own it. To say i am the Scoutmaster takes responsibility and that is our role in the program.


I do not expect everyone to have an epiphany and suddenly change. I know many of you will not even take the time to consider this at all.But what is the worst thing that can happen if you did try this? If you are convinced that the words you use don't matter than it will do you no harm to try. If words do matter than it might do the boys some good. So what do you have to lose?(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Very eloquent Bob White and very compelling but flawed and very old-think.


I just reached out and took down one of my evil old books, the 1962 printing of "The Scoutmaster's Handbook." Right there on page 35 it says, "A Scoutmaster's job is to train and guide boy leaders to run THEIR (emphasis theirs) troop. . . ." Curiously, elsewhere in the book, it says "your troop," obviously addressing this to the Scoutmaster.


After read this, I reached out and took down my copy of the new and good book, the current edition of "The Scoutmaster's Handbook" (I'd be that you didn't think I even owned a copy) and perused it. I did find a reference to "their troop" meaning "the boy's troop" but there was no emphasis added. Elsewhere in the book, I find statements like " . . . the boys in your troop will be getting the full measure of the Scouting program" and on page 3 it says "the Scouts in your troop will look up to you . . ."


Evidently BSA has long felt that the use of a possessive pronoun when describing the troop in conjunction with the Scoutmaster is acceptable. Furthermore, BSA also seems to have de-emphasized the idea of the troop belonging to the boys.


As you have told so many others, put away the old books and the old ways and use the current literature.



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Thank you FOG but you seem to be missing the entire core of the point. You control what you refer to yourself as, and that has an affect on your attitude and behavior. At no time was this about how others refer to you.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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So its okay for you to say my son because your wife has no "ownership" of your children...only you? That sounds a little sexist, doesn't it? It's a silly argument for me to make, but you know what...You're argument about "my troop" is just as silly.


Thank you FOG but you seem to be missing the entire core of the point. You control what you refer to yourself as, and that has an affect on your attitude and behavior. At no time was this about how others refer to you.


You're stubbornness is unbelievable. It's blatantly obvious that FOG does get the point. By using the current Scoutmaster Handbook, he basically proved that if your assertion about possessive pronouns is true, then the BSA is tacitly condoning the idea that Scoutmasters should take ownership of their troops (or as you prefer, the troops that they serve). Consequently, you have a choice. Either your assertion is wrong, or the current Scoutmaster Handbook is wrong. Knowing you from your past arguments, it's difficult to believe that you will accept either one of these outcomes. Which is why I suppose, you dodged FOG's point in his post.


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I dodged nothing Rooster. My position on this was never based on what other people called us but only on how we refer to ourselves as Scoutmasters and adult leaders.


Just as every scout can rightfully say my troop so can each parent of a child say my child, but only about their own child.


Again this is a personal choice based on the knowledge that the words we use to describe ourselves and others affect our attitudes and actions. I don't think you will find anyone who is learned in human behavior who will refute this relationship.


One of the most common problems in troops can be the dictatorial nature of adults. If by simply altering the language we use we can help influence our behaviour in a positive manner why would you be opposed?


Bob White

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