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Cambridgeskip

Resillience Or Taking It On The Chin

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A couple of things I’ve read recently have got me thinking about the “character building†side of scouts and what we do to develop “character†in them.

 

In an ideal world of course life is fair. If you work hard, do your fair share, play by the rules etc. Things go well for you. And there are plenty of ways of encouraging that. The patrol that works as a team, gets its chores done ends up having time to do something fun before dark while the patrol that messes around doesn’t.

 

We don’t live in an ideal world of course. Things happen in life that are distinctly unfair. The “adult†world that these kids will enter in due course has more of it than the childhood world that they inhabit. And my thought is what do we do that can help kids develop into the kind of character that has the resilience to take that on the chin as they become an adult?

 

The kinds of thing I’m thinking of….. I met Mrs Cambridgeskip at university. That university will remain unnamed for reasons that will become apparent. While living in university accommodation she found herself next door to a particularly noisy neighbour who would make a horrendous racket till stupid o’clock at night. Now normally the university were good at cracking down on that kind of thing. This individual though was the son of a senior diplomat from a major power (again I won’t name the country) and his parents were known to make regular large donations to the university. As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, absolutely nothing was done no matter how much she or I complained.

 

Now that is unfair, it’s wrong, but…… it is as they say life. Stuff like that happens all over the place. You apply for a job you’re qualified for but the boss’s nephew gets it instead of you. You apply for a contract to supply someone only to find they give the contract to someone who is in the same masons lodge. You get the picture.

 

Scouts should be fun and we should be encouraging kids to work hard and be rewarded for that effort so I wouldn’t want to do things that are harsh or end up rewarding sneekyness or dishonesty. But I do wonder if there is a place for introducing the concept that sometimes you will come off the worst despite being the best or will miss out despite being completely deserving and that sometimes all you can do is pick yourself up, dust yourself down and try again tomorrow.

 

Thoughts?

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something I have struggled with a bit... and I have noticed our den leaders on occasion doing the same....

 

when an opportunity arises that we need to pick a scout to do something, many times we will purposely NOT pick our own sons....

.....or we'll pick the new boy when really one of the original plank owners that has been around since Tiger and come to almost every meeting really would enjoy the honor, and perhaps deserves it....

 

does that touch on what you are getting at?

 

side note:  Cambridgeskip, what is that you're seated in, your profile picture?  I'm an instrument rated private pilot

Edited by blw2

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I think I kind of touched on this in my Scoutmaster's minute last night:

 

'Recently, when asked which point of the Scout Law was most overlooked a young Scout I know said "loyalty." Have you ever been tempted to look out for your own best interests in spite of the good of your Patrol, Troop, or friends? There will likely come a time in our lives where we must make a choice to be loyal to someone, or a group of people, or to serve ourselves.

Not too long ago we talked about the concept of servant leadership where we, as leaders, are also servants of one another. So when you must make that choice of whether or not to stay true to your team, remember these words:

"To all you serve, be loyal."--Confucius'

 

We should definitely be teaching our Scouts to be the best THEY can be.  Sometimes life gives you lemons, right?  You have to keep moving forward and not get bogged down in the mire.

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The scouts know a lot more about unfair than you might think. Kids with divorced, angry parents. Kids with parents that are terminally ill. Kids that have been through cancer. Kids with disabilities. I've seen a lot in my troop. I currently have a scout that spends more time sleeping at friends houses because his mom throws him out of the house. Half the adults in the troop have told him he has a place to stay with them. Everyone knows about these things. Spoiled rotten brats? They've seen plenty of that in school. They also see unfair in their patrols when it comes to delegating work or playing against other patrols that are much stronger. I won't fix those problems but I certainly encourage scouts to talk about them. Some of it falls under the category of suck it up and keep smiling.

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On the Boy Scouting side of things, the adults should not be picking anyone so that's an easy fix.  Boys should be doing any and all picking.

 

Cub side?  The DL should know his boys well enough to pick as he/she thinks would be the most effective and most deserving.

 

The last time I was picking scouts was when I first took over am adult led troop and was making the change over to boy-led.  I always had the same boy doing the Dutch Oven cleanup.  Finally he asked why he always got stuck with "the worst job".  I told him 1) he's my most trusted scout so I know that it's going to be done right the first time and 2) if you ever look around, you will see that you are always done well ahead of everyone else in after meal cleanup.  We never discussed it again and he did the DO's until he trained his buddy and aged out.  :)

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I was watching my son do KP at camporee this weekend.  He was washing the pots/cooking dishes, and got to the dutch oven.  He asked me what he was supposed to do with it.  I asked him "what were you instructed to do?".  He proceeded to wash the dutch oven with soap and scouring pad, rinse, and bleach, like every other pot.  The PL got all flustered (he's fairly new to the troop), and had to immediately instruct everyone on the proper care/cleaning of dutch ovens. 

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A couple of things I’ve read recently have got me thinking about the “character building†side of scouts and what we do to develop “character†in them.

 

In an ideal world of course life is fair. If you work hard, do your fair share, play by the rules etc. Things go well for you. And there are plenty of ways of encouraging that. The patrol that works as a team, gets its chores done ends up having time to do something fun before dark while the patrol that messes around doesn’t.

 

We don’t live in an ideal world of course. Things happen in life that are distinctly unfair. The “adult†world that these kids will enter in due course has more of it than the childhood world that they inhabit. And my thought is what do we do that can help kids develop into the kind of character that has the resilience to take that on the chin as they become an adult?

 

The kinds of thing I’m thinking of….. I met Mrs Cambridgeskip at university. That university will remain unnamed for reasons that will become apparent. While living in university accommodation she found herself next door to a particularly noisy neighbour who would make a horrendous racket till stupid o’clock at night. Now normally the university were good at cracking down on that kind of thing. This individual though was the son of a senior diplomat from a major power (again I won’t name the country) and his parents were known to make regular large donations to the university. As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, absolutely nothing was done no matter how much she or I complained.

 

Now that is unfair, it’s wrong, but…… it is as they say life. Stuff like that happens all over the place. You apply for a job you’re qualified for but the boss’s nephew gets it instead of you. You apply for a contract to supply someone only to find they give the contract to someone who is in the same masons lodge. You get the picture.

 

Scouts should be fun and we should be encouraging kids to work hard and be rewarded for that effort so I wouldn’t want to do things that are harsh or end up rewarding sneekyness or dishonesty. But I do wonder if there is a place for introducing the concept that sometimes you will come off the worst despite being the best or will miss out despite being completely deserving and that sometimes all you can do is pick yourself up, dust yourself down and try again tomorrow.

 

Thoughts?

 

Well, I think that most encounter that in everyday life enough. I don't think we should introduce it to them purposefully, but when we see it happen, just run with it as a teachable moment.

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something I have struggled with a bit... and I have noticed our den leaders on occasion doing the same....

 

when an opportunity arises that we need to pick a scout to do something, many times we will purposely NOT pick our own sons....

.....or we'll pick the new boy when really one of the original plank owners that has been around since Tiger and come to almost every meeting really would enjoy the honor, and perhaps deserves it....

 

does that touch on what you are getting at?

 

side note:  Cambridgeskip, what is that you're seated in, your profile picture?  I'm an instrument rated private pilot

 

Personally, as a Den leader, I never chose my sons for any type of award/honor that was up to me to choose.  It was unfair to them, but there is no way to do that without seeming unfair to the other boys.  Now, if it were asking them to do a task, and I know that due to skills/height/strength, etc. that my sons were some of the few that could do the task, they got chosen. 

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I was watching my son do KP at camporee this weekend.  He was washing the pots/cooking dishes, and got to the dutch oven.  He asked me what he was supposed to do with it.  I asked him "what were you instructed to do?".  He proceeded to wash the dutch oven with soap and scouring pad, rinse, and bleach, like every other pot.  The PL got all flustered (he's fairly new to the troop), and had to immediately instruct everyone on the proper care/cleaning of dutch ovens. 

oh, you had to go to cast iron care! :blink:

 

can't use a scrubber?  I say baloney

can't use soap you say?  hogwash!

 

I've been using cast iron a long time....taught by my dad....

But my father in law is very opinionated in other schools of thought with it....

I must admit to getting a bit angered when folks tell me things absolutely that i can or can't do, when I know better...

and CI is one of those areas so fraught with differing opinions and wives' tales.... that it is laughable in a way...

 

But back to your story.... it's spot on!  What was he instructed to do???  Love it!

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That life is unfair is too much an ego-centric, self-centered view of the world.  Character building proceeds when the Scout begins to understand that not every action of his will earn a reward -- even if the action is deemed necessary.

 

So, how do you build rewards?  Goal-setting and creating plans to reach those goals.  Making progress a small bite at a time.  The rest of the time, life is just what happens.

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To paraphrase Mel Brooks

"It's good to be the SM, CC, Senior Committee member, etc. son"

When all their requirements for advancement are signed off their SM conference and BOR happen immediatly, others, 1-2 months later.

Its always good to be related to the powers that be, and the youth know it.

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"Life ain't fair" is a life lesson that we all learn.  How we deal with it is determined by our character.  The best we can do is show them what fairness looks like and encourage them to incorporate it into their character.

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something I have struggled with a bit... and I have noticed our den leaders on occasion doing the same....

 

when an opportunity arises that we need to pick a scout to do something, many times we will purposely NOT pick our own sons....

.....or we'll pick the new boy when really one of the original plank owners that has been around since Tiger and come to almost every meeting really would enjoy the honor, and perhaps deserves it....

 

does that touch on what you are getting at?

 

side note:  Cambridgeskip, what is that you're seated in, your profile picture?  I'm an instrument rated private pilot

 

To paraphrase Mel Brooks

"It's good to be the SM, CC, Senior Committee member, etc. son"

When all their requirements for advancement are signed off their SM conference and BOR happen immediatly, others, 1-2 months later.

Its always good to be related to the powers that be, and the youth know it.

relating to my first post of this thread about leaders NOT picking their sons.... or more correctly favoring them

 

I must admit that it has crossed my mind that, in small insignificant matters, why not favor him?  He's the one giving up his dad 

this perspective is of course more relevant at the tiger level when dad is the parent partner.... and diminishes with time.... but still, why not?

 

I can only remember consciously doing this once..... so I figure as a whole he's taken it "on the chin" more than not....

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To paraphrase Mel Brooks

"It's good to be the SM, CC, Senior Committee member, etc. son"

When all their requirements for advancement are signed off their SM conference and BOR happen immediatly, others, 1-2 months later.

Its always good to be related to the powers that be, and the youth know it.

Baggs,

 

This could be the "dirty little secret" of Scouting.

 

It's the thing that everyone knows, or as you say, "the youth know it."

 

Keeping dirty little secrets is not healthy.

 

I frame this truth in terminology that helps others understand what's going on.

 

That is: Scouting Insiders and Scouting Outsiders.

 

The Insiders are the parent/leaders wearing Scout uniforms, attending every camping trip, going to Philmont, etc.

 

The Outsiders are parents who take a hands-off approach, and let their son have the character-building experiences of dealing with an Insider-run bureaucracy.

 

While the Insiders tend to squeal when this issue is mentioned in public, Outsiders, as you said, including the boys, know about these two divisions.

 

Acknowledging the division, and helping our sons navigate the issues that it raises, is a healthy and productive approach.

 

My book, The Unofficial Guide to Earning Eagle, lays out this reality for all to see, and provides tips to be successful.

 

http://www.unofficialeagleguide.com/

 

Thanks.

 

Kent

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