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The Well Rounded Scout

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I remember being "specialized" by my fellow Scouts as the patrols expert fire builder and (!) powdered milk mixer. Everybody "knew" I was the best in these things.

 

While I think gaining expertise in your favorite activities is important, consider this opinion from computer scientist Lew Hitchner:

 

"A human being should be able to heal a wound, plan an expedition, order from a french menu, climb a mountain, enjoy a ballet, balance accounts, roll a kayak, embolden a friend, tell a joke, laugh at himself, cooperate, act alone, sing a childrens song, solve equations, throw a dog a stick, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, love heartily, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

 

Are you too "specialized"? Have your buddies "specialized" you?

 

What say ye, friends?

 

 

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I meant to respond to this earlier. I enjoyed this SM minute very much and used it at our Troop meeting this week. The boys seemed to like it (except for the die gallantly part).

 

One of the Dads lurking at the back of the Scout Hall, waiting to pick up Jr., came up afterwards and told me he thought it was great. I did allow as how I didn't write it, just delivered it.

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Methinks someone filed the serial numbers off of a Heinlein quote:

 

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

 

Time Enough for Love (1973), Robert A. Heinlein

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epalmer84:: Thanks for the attribution. I never read that Heinlein. I can only quote from the things I did read...

You grok that?

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Wow... I thought I recognized that quote as being from Heinlien, but I wasn't sure.

 

Great point, though.

 

I remember being the fire-builder and desert cook. I could also do pioneering stuff, but I wasn't the guy who could identify animal tracks, or fish, and didn't like long hikes with backpacks.

 

We all "specialize" to some degree, but we need to make sure everyone gets a turn to try everything and find things they are good at.

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Cut and paste from mr Hitchners website

http://www.csc.calpoly.edu/~hitchner/

Robert A. Heinlein copyright date of 1973 should tell the tale

If you steal from more than one source it isn't plagerism it's research

 

 

2 Mottos:

 

* "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.

 

Specialization is for insects." -- Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

* "A human being should be able to heal a wound, plan an expedition, order from a French menu, climb a mountain face, enjoy a ballet, balance accounts, roll a kayak, embolden a friend, tell a joke, laugh at himself, cooperate, act alone, sing a children's song, solve equations, throw a dog a stick, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, love heartily, fight efficiently, die gallantly.

 

Specialization is for insects." -- Lewis E. Hitchner, Dartmouth College Alumni Magazine 1982, memoriam for Robert Frohboese, class of 1965

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My 15 yo son has taken Heinlein's list as his goal - we were talking about it just yesterday - he is well on his way, though I don't think he's actually changed a diaper, and he's never had the opportunity to comfort the dying. He can build a wall, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, and cook a tasty meal,

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Such a man as has been described exists, at least in literature, his name is Bond, James Bond and prefers his martini's shaken not stirred as it bruises the gin...

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We have a boy in one of the Troops I work with that is a very well rounded young man. However, he's gotten specialized into first aid, fire building, and new scout instruction. Not that I feel these are not important; they are. It's just that I've noticed that he doesn't get an opportunity to serve in the OTHER ways he's very good, like planning ceremonies, cooking, planning outings, etc. He's also the best archer in our district, but age prevents him from helping (or so he was told--he's 15).

 

This post made me wonder if we shouldn't take more care to do what ISN'T easy more often. Example: When we need first aid lessons, we ask this kid to help because he requires no assistance or training, so it's easier. Wouldn't it be better to bring another kid up to speed instead?

 

Just my thoughts......BTW, love the quote. I'll be using it often for so many areas of my life, including MY LIFE.

 

Thanks,

Mollie

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Here's a quote for the group:

 

"He's a rebel and a runner, he's a signal turning green, he's a restless young romantic wants to run the big machine. He's got a problem with his poisons but you know he'll find a cure, he's cleaning up the systems to keep his nature pure."

 

Thats from the group Rush, off of the Signals album. The song is New World Man.

 

Scouts have a tendency to be specialized, the same way as adults do. They find they have an aptitude for a certain field either because it comes naturally to them or they enjoy it. The key seems to be making skills that might be difficult for them more enjoyable to learn. Rotating tasks when camping might not be popular with the Scouts, but they will learn from the experience. A duty roster with rotating jobs for each day of camping seems to work well from my experience.

 

I see the benefits of being well-rounded almost everyday at work. I have been working at a boat manufacturing company for over 12 years, and in that time I have done many different jobs dealing with building boats. I have worked in the engineering department, done fiberglass part repair,mold repair, assembly, built molds, built plugs, built prototype parts, tested boats, and currently run a lamination department. I have taken every opportunity to learn all that I could about all phases of boat manufacturing, and when business gets slow, I am one of the few who do not get laid off.

 

This experience gives me the background to honestly push learning all that they can to my Scouts.

 

Life lesson #1: The more you know, the greater your value.

 

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