Jump to content
UncleP

Plan for Nephew to Earn Eagle Merit Badges

Recommended Posts

I have to agree with @@Stosh, @@UncleP. If he truly wants to be an Eagle Scout, let him make his own plan and path. Having a plan that someone else has created does nothing for the learning and growing a boy should do on the trail to Eagle. Your first instinct to "relax and have fun" was correct.

 

That said, there's nothing wrong with talking about how to approach his rank advancement. Parents are encouraged to do that. Troops will help first year Scouts make First Class in 12-18 months. After that it is all about merit badges, leadership, service projects and enjoying the outdoor program that Scouting has to offer.

 

Rough plans are fine and they will always change. Cruise ship-like itineraries on how make Eagle rarely work and often simply create what we call "paper Eagles"; young men who have completed the minimum requirements but learned and grew little along the way.

 

My two cents.

 

Thank you for your response.

 

I am going to encourage my nephew to take a one day at a time view of his scouting experience.  I think part of the problem is that he has so little in his life, that he feels that he has to "milk" every experience for all he can get. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sad, but it happens.  

Sounds like a dad who is going to lose a son.   Might lose him to Scouting, might lose him to something much worse.   Daughter , as described  (really sketchy), is going to be lost, too, but in the other direction, with no standards to meet, only the mom and dad's vicariously living their  unmet personal things thru her.  What a opportunity for a tv script. 

 

By all means,  support the boy, but do not  present him with a "plan".   He will make his own plans, it sounds like.   Take the Scout Leader training, become a Troop Committee person, or even a  ASM or (shudder) a Commissioner, but stay at aaarrrrmmmmsss length from the boy.  You will help him best just by "Being There".    No matter how you do it, you risk alienating your brother (sister?)   with your "meddling".    Be aware of that possibility.  

And no matter how successful the  boy is (Eagle, Nobel Prize, ,,,)   the dad and/or mom may never be satisfied or proud. 

 

See you on the trail.....

 

Thank you for your response.  Some of your comments were scarily prescient.  I think to a certain extent my nephew is already lost to my sister and her husband, and its their fault not his.  As for his older sister, a cousin of mine said almost the exact same thing about her having no limits.  I do not like to be too judgmental, because show is still young.  I think my nephew inside knows that he will never please his parents, but just cannot admit it.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The goal of Scouting is to create good people and good citizens who are fit in mind and body.  Hence, the level of attention to citizenship and to world brotherhood (incorrectly called "Citizenship in the World").

 

The most important tool to achieve these ends is the "Patrol Method," through which the Scout experiences representative democracy and has the opportunity to learn the skills and rewards of leadership. The adult-run troop Stosh mentioned in his satire is the antithesis of this approach.  It keeps the Scout in a childlike state by robbing him of responsibility.

 

The second most important tool is the "Outdoor Method," as the outdoors not only allows exercise but also helps teach respect for our natural world, respect  that is important to informed citizenship. 

 

I guess I would urge that your nephew accomplish something of which he can be proud rather than merely getting the punch mark for his resume.

 

Even on the solely materialistic scale, having been responsible for hiring professionals for a major corporation, I can relate that leaders were more highly regarded than other sorts of candidates since leaders seems to be in short supply.

 

Thank you for your response.

 

The leadership and "Patrol Method" is something I think my nephew will have problems with.  He is a total loner, and very bright but solitary.  I think being outdoors though may spark something positive in him.  He loves animals and likes open spaces.

 

I personally could never understand the cult of "leadership" thing.  I worked for and with many organizations, and they more they talk about leadership, the worse the organization performs.  From my experiences the nature of work is changing so much, that "leadership" is kind of obsolete.  But maybe something will spark in my nephew - still waters run deep.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@UncleP

 

1) WELCOME TO DA FORUMS! (and yes I'm yelling at ya in joy  ;) )

 

2) THANK YOU FOR TAKING CARE OF YOUR NEPHEW! (again yelling at you in joy! )  One of my Eagles was in a similar situation, but worse. It got so bad that while dad signed the paperwork to join the USAF at age 17, dad also kicked him out of the house because he did not want his son joining the USAF. Between when he joined and boot camp, and then the return from boot camp to when he graduated HS and went active duty, he was living at the SM's house.

 

3) As others have stated, Eagle is not the goal in Scouts. It is also the Scout's adventure, not yours, and he needs to develop HIS (emphasis) plan. There is a heckuva lot more to Scouting than getting Eagle. BUT YOU GOTTA BE THERE TO SUPPORT HIM, ESPECIALLY WITH HIS FAMILY SITUATION (emphasis)

 

4) Let me tell you the story of The Two Eagles.

 

There once was an Eagle who  was pushed by his Eagle Dad (and Exploring Silver Award recipient) to get his Eagle before high School. This Eagle earned it at age 13, then quit Scouting. He returned to Scouting when his son was a Tiger.

 

Now 13 year old Eagle had a cousin. Cousin was also pushed to get eagle before High School, and was well on his way. He earned Life at 13, and was aiming to get it while 14. But something happened. First Cousin got elected into the Order of the Arrow (OA), Scouting honor society. Then he got selected by his troop to attend Brownsea 22, the National Youth Leadership Training course for advanced leadership of his day. Then Cousin went to a national Scout camporee and did a sixty-four mile canoeing expedition in Canada. Eventually 5 years had passed, and Cousin earned his Eagle 5 years after earning Life at the age of 18. 18 y.o. Eagle continued on in Scouting, becoming an assistant scoutmaster, a Sea Scout, OA lodge officer, spent 3 months working at a Scout camp in Europe, went to a world jamboree, and stayed active in Scouting in various roles until his  son became a Tiger, and 18 y.o. Eagle became a Tiger Den Leader and is now watching his oldest, middle, and youngest sons grow up in Scouting.

 

So who do you think had more fun in Scouting:  my  cousin who earned Eagle at 13, or me who earned it 18?

 

So remember to let you nephew decide what to do, support him to the best of your abilities, and remember Eagle is not a race, or even a goal in Scouting.

 

Good luck.

 

Thank your for your response and your kind words.

 

I am going to do whatever I can to support my nephew.  I am not a parent myself, but it has always amazed me how some people treat their kids. 

 

As I said before my nephew is the one pushing the Eagle rank, because he hopes it will make a positive change in his life.  I support him, but tell him that being happy and healthy is the most important thing.  I even once joked with him that if he wants to get back with parents and older sister, he should relax and enjoy as much as possible.  The sight of it would drive them crazy.  However, he is always just so tense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your response.

 

The leadership and "Patrol Method" is something I think my nephew will have problems with.  He is a total loner, and very bright but solitary.  I think being outdoors though may spark something positive in him.  He loves animals and likes open spaces.

 

I personally could never understand the cult of "leadership" thing.  I worked for and with many organizations, and they more they talk about leadership, the worse the organization performs.  From my experiences the nature of work is changing so much, that "leadership" is kind of obsolete.  But maybe something will spark in my nephew - still waters run deep.

 

Don't get confused with what organizations call leadership.  They are really referring to management.  Leadership is never going to become obsolete when one has people around them that they truly care for because they will follow that person no matter what.  We are naturally drawn to leadership.  The teacher that cares about you.  The boss that "has your back".  The friend that is "always there for you."   The hero who pulls a stranger out of a burning car.  The neighbor who stops by for coffee and conversation when you've been bummed out about something in life and they heard about it. 

 

We are all naturally drawn to these people.... it's because they are leading and we're following.  :)  "Hey, I just heard Charlie down the street just lost his mother to cancer.  Thought I'd stop by, wanna come along?  I think he'd appreciate it."  Kinda hard to say no even when "it's not your job".  :)  Kinda like a favorite uncle that picks up the slack for his nephew. 

Edited by Stosh
  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your response.

 

Your son sounds like an outstanding young man, and hopeful my nephew will meet someone like him in scouts.

 

I was just concerned about all the schoolwork merit badges, because I think that is what my nephew needs to get away from (books, computers, TV...) and into the real world.

 

Your nephew will meet a lot of guys like my son in scouts.  How do I know, because our Troop has a lot of guys like your nephew and at least one adult leader that was like your nephew growing up. 

 

None of us really like the schoolwork merit badges.  However, each of those involves him doing something -- attending a public meeting, visiting a national park or monument, volunteering at a local community organization, etc.  The schoolwork really is a small part of it..

 

 

Thank you for your response, and the input about the merit badges that I did not understand.

 

You made some very good suggestions.  I have already told my nephew that I will buy he uniform and books he needs, that way his mother cannot complain about "spending all that money".  A job is difficult because his parents only want him to go to school and be quiet.  Also, whenever he gets any money his old sister either steals it, or his mother makes him spend it on her to show how much he "appreciates all she has done for him". 

 

Unfortunately, the only friends my nephew has are his dog and his computer.  That is why I want him to be in a situation where he can work on his social skills.

 

I will do whatever I can to support him, while trying to guard against dong too much.

 

Helping him with the costs seems to be a good way for you to be a positive influence.  One additional book I would reccomend is the BSA Fieldbook.  It covers all of the outdoor activities he can do as a scout and goes over all of the skills he needs.  It is like an instruction manual for the outdoors.  It will spark his imagination and give him the knowledge he needs to feel confident in doing those activities.  As I expained it to my then 11 year old son, its like one of those video game guidebooks, except it is for real life. :D

 

Thank you for your response.  Some of your comments were scarily prescient.  I think to a certain extent my nephew is already lost to my sister and her husband, and its their fault not his.  As for his older sister, a cousin of mine said almost the exact same thing about her having no limits.  I do not like to be too judgmental, because show is still young.  I think my nephew inside knows that he will never please his parents, but just cannot admit it.   

 

This is where the Adult Association method of scouting comes into play.  I hope he is in a troop that has an adult leader that engages him.  There are a bunch of boys in our Troop that I "get."  You should see the looks on their faces when I catch them doing something right or tell them they did a good job.  My favorite phrase is "Your OK in my book."  The adult leaders need to establish a relationship based on trust - the boys trust us to make sure they are OK and we trust them to follow the Scout Oath and Law.

 

Thank you for your response.

 

The leadership and "Patrol Method" is something I think my nephew will have problems with.  He is a total loner, and very bright but solitary.  I think being outdoors though may spark something positive in him.  He loves animals and likes open spaces.

 

I personally could never understand the cult of "leadership" thing.  I worked for and with many organizations, and they more they talk about leadership, the worse the organization performs.  From my experiences the nature of work is changing so much, that "leadership" is kind of obsolete.  But maybe something will spark in my nephew - still waters run deep.

 

@@Stosh is right about servant leadership.  My son has a couple of catagories of leaders - the ones that yell at other people to do things, the ones that do nothing, the ones that do it themselves because they don't trust anyone else and the ones who work with the other scouts in their patrol to help them get the job done.  He's working to move from the third catagory to the fourth.  

 

In the leadershp training course I"m developing for our scout leaders, I ask them to do a living organization chart, showing who reports to who.  Typically, everyone has the scouts reporting to the patol leaders who report to the senior patrol leaders.  I then tell them to turn around.  The senior patrol leader's job is to help the patrol leaders, the patrol leader's job is to help the guys in their patrol. 

 

Some of my best leaders are not the guys out in front.  They are the guys that put a pot of water to boil on the stove and set up the cleaning basins without anyone telling to.  They are the ones who go pull an extra sweatshirt out of their tent for the new guy who only packed t-shirts.  They are the one put all the food in the plastic tub so that critters don't get the food after the rest of the guys have gone to do something else.

 

 

Thank your for your response and your kind words.

 

I am going to do whatever I can to support my nephew.  I am not a parent myself, but it has always amazed me how some people treat their kids. 

 

As I said before my nephew is the one pushing the Eagle rank, because he hopes it will make a positive change in his life.  I support him, but tell him that being happy and healthy is the most important thing.  I even once joked with him that if he wants to get back with parents and older sister, he should relax and enjoy as much as possible.  The sight of it would drive them crazy.  However, he is always just so tense.

 

 

Getting the rank won't make a change in his life, but the way he earns it will.  I remember talking to my son on the last day of a 50 mile hike.  Everyone of us on the hike had hit a wall at some point.  His was on the last day -- so close yet still 6 miles to go up hill, exhausted with the end in sight but still very far.  I told him that anytime in life where he feels like he can't finish something, he can't fight on - to remember this trek and remember that he was able to finish what he started.  He dug deep and finished strong.

 

None of us here have a problem with him earning Eagle based on his own drive and his own desires.  We just want it to be his and we want him to have the experiences that will make him an Eagle.  There is something special about a true Eagle - earning the award the right way instills a sense of purpose, a sense of worth and a sense of service in the boy.  Those values become part of who they are for the rest of their lives.

 

Wish your nephew good luck from all of us here.  He would be very welomed in our Troop and I hope that his Troop recognizes his potential

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just concerned about all the schoolwork merit badges, because I think that is what my nephew needs to get away from (books, computers, TV...) and into the real world.

 

Uncle P,

 

Those homework merit badges can be painful.   I recall when I was a scout how annoying some of them could be.   But it's all part of the character building aspect of scouting.   Persevering, gritting your teeth, completing the task. 

 

Thanks for the additional insights regarding your nephew's circumstances.  Others have said it better previously, but I think that scouting can be a game-changer for many youth who are isolated and have family challenges.   It's encouraging to see a scout who was never really social meet new friends at camp, and then they are inseparable for the rest of the week--going to activities together, sitting around shooting the breeze, etc.   It is spontaneous and when the scouts do this on their own initiative, it really helps them grow.

 

When I was a boy, I know how much scouting helped me.   Truly, it was my home away from home.

 

Things may be awkward at first, but please encourage your nephew to stick with the program, even when there are bumps in the road.   The positives are far greater than the negatives.

Edited by desertrat77
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...

I was just concerned about all the schoolwork merit badges, because I think that is what my nephew needs to get away from (books, computers, TV...) and into the real world.

To be fair, most of the "indoor" badges have some useful activities that help a boy put himself out there (e.g., community service, visiting a town meeting, talking to a scout from another country, writing your congressman, etc ..,). Even the trail to first class involves a bit of involvement with your scoutmaster and fellow scouts.

 

We've had boys from some pretty crappy family situations. The "one day at a time" (really one rank at a time) strategy works best.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am going to encourage my nephew to take a one day at a time view of his scouting experience.  I think part of the problem is that he has so little in his life, that he feels that he has to "milk" every experience for all he can get. 

 

If that's the case he might need something more than just Scouting. Making Eagle will not fill that hole. Scouting can help, but sounds like he needs support from school, friends, his faith and family. Counseling might help too. I know Scouts that sound like they came from similar situations. Counseling helped a great deal.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just wanted to thank everyone for their assistance.  My plan is to -

 

a.  Help financially with the costs,

b.  Encourage him when he wants to quit, and

c.  Let him do the rest himself.

 

He gets counseling, but I am not his parent or guardian, so I have no idea how it goes.

 

I do feel much more confident that scouting will be good for my nephew, and that I can do the right thing to help him along.

 

Happy Memorial Day to everyone

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@UncleP

 

I've worked with youth for 45+ years and I have never encouraged them to quit anything.  I have experienced this in the past with parents.  The results tend to focus around giving the youth "permission" to give up on something (anything, doesn't have to be Scouting) and in the future, if they have any regrets those are the adults who will be blamed, and there will be regrets.

 

If one always encourages them to stand and persevere, and they quit anyway, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@UncleP

 

I've worked with youth for 45+ years and I have never encouraged them to quit anything.  I

 

 

I think @@UncleP meant to encourage him to continue when he wants to quit.   :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sure hope so!!! :)  When I first read it it was like the kid who walked the full length of the classroom with his fingernails on the chalk board!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@UncleP, sounds like a good plan. Glad to encourage.

 

I still remember getting my first Cub Scout uniform from my aunt for Christmas. (I can almost remember the color of the paper.)

 

Typically, lacking any imminent threat, even parents don't know much about their kid's counseling until the kid is ready to talk about it. That's kinda the point. So don't feel like you're that much more in the dark.

 

Thanks in advance for all you'll be doing for your nephew and his fellow scouts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×