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I've been working on this one on my own, and wanted to run it by some folks before I tried it in public.


As we circle up, the SM asks "What is the opposite of black?"


Any scout answers "White".


SM: "And what is in between black and white?"


Any Scout: "Gray".


SM: "And what is the opposite of Liberal?"


A.S.: "Conservative."


SM: "And in between Liberal and Conservative?"


A.S.: "Moderate."


SM: "How about the opposite of Hot?"


A.S.: "Cold."


SM: "And in the middle of Hot and Cold?"


A.S.: "Warm."


SM: "So, as you can see, nature and humanity has created a compromise for many common things in our lives. Now, one more try. What is the opposite of Right?"


A.S.: "Wrong."


SM: "And what is the word that describes a compromise between Right and Wrong?"


After a few minutes of either no answer of awkward guesses, the SM can finish with something like: "There is nothing in between right and wrong. We've never created a word for that. There are shades of gray. There is too hot and too cold, and we have warm to satisfy the need to avoid the extremes. But there is only right and wrong. There is no middle. Do what is right, because not doing what is right by definition means you are doing wrong. Goodnight Scouts!"


Let me know if these needs further polishing.





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A word of caution,

The opposite of right is left.


The opposite of Write is Draw.


Who know what scouts will come up with, there minds are quicker than mine.


Just be prepared for answers that you are not expecting.


It is a great SM minute, just be prepared to guide them to the correct, right, your answer.

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Be Prepared,


In our Troop, this isn't likely to be a problem, although I can see how it might be in other Troops. We have a large number of very politically active teenagers, and the reference will be understood in our group. But yes, I think this might be one question that could go astray in some settings.




Great point. Maybe I'd ask for the opposite of "wrong" to avoid that problem. On the other hand, "Right ~ Left ~ Ambidextrous" could still work. How about the other? "Write ~ Draw ~ Compute?"


Thanks much for the feedback!



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As I read this I thought that you could expand it a little bit.

What makes something right or something wrong? Why do we do things that are right? What part do your values play in something being right or wrong or your doing the right thing? Which of the Scout Laws cover your values?

This might be a bit much for a SM's minute, but could be a nice camp fire discussion. - I think you know the setting I'm trying to get at.

What you have is good for the SM minute. I think that maybe I'm a little bit like the painter who keeps adding brush strokes and never knows when the painting is done.

I think I may have heard this some where else it went something like:

If a branch in the forest falls when no body is there does it make a sound?

When you are in Wal-mart and can take 3 pieces of bulk candy and are trusted to put a quarter in the little box to pay for the candy. No one is checking the little box or watching is it more right that you pay for the candy?



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  • 3 months later...


Thanks for this one... We used it tonight to close the Mad River District round table. Didn't open it up to th e floor, just had one guy do it from up front.

I have a feeling it will be used at several troop meeting next week from the feed back.


John B.

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  • 1 month later...

It's a very nice idea for a Scoutmaster minute. However, I'd suggest a bit of caution; while there may very well be only "right" and "wrong", the definition of what is "right" can vary quite a bit, and I think you'd want to steer away from that for a "minute". A discussion of how right and wrong are determined would then be a good campfire discussion topic.

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  • 9 months later...

It is good to make'm think. I'm only a fledgling ASM, but as a CM, the circle up goodnight was new to my pack. The previous CMs only marched the flags out and said goodnight. I marched the flags out, then gathered the boys in the hands-over circle and spoke of the Scout family. Then I invited anyone else who was a Scout or had been a Scout to join in the circle. The family gets bigger! Then I reminded everyone that family includes moms and dads and bro and sis , and invited everyone else to join the circle (hands over hands is HARD for some adults!). More reminding about the family that is Scouting, and perhaps how family helps each other, picks each other up when someone falls. Then ,if the time feels right, a short pithy something, then the SM benediction(...til we meet again) and SQUEEZE hands goodnight...



MORALITY is what one does when one is with others.

CHARACTER is what one does when alone...



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