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Chadamus

The Scoutson/Scoutmaster relationship

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From a Committee Member perspective, I noticed that the meetings tended to run smoother because the SPL seemed more prepared. Probably due to extra communication occurring between the SPL and his SM dad at home.

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ASM with two sons in the program.  As mentioned, first to arrive and last to leave.  Sometimes they were ready to go and I had to listen to them.  There were enough adults in the troop that I could leave and things would get done.  Troop rule was you never disciplined your own kid.  If you saw something, you asked another ASM to handle the situation.  

 

I was available to my boys if they wanted me, but tried to stay out of their way during scout events as much as possible.  I made sure they had all the gear and equipment they needed available to them at home.  It was up to them to choose to use or leave behind. 

 

Attended the first high adventure with my son.  I did not attend the next two.  He was chosen as crew chief and from all accounts did well.  I am glad he was able to have time to develop on his own without me looking over his shoulder. 

 

My dad was an ASM in my troop.  I remember seeing him around, knew I always had a ride to scouts, but basically the only interaction we would have is a quick hug and smile during a camp out.  I tried to be the same way around mine. 

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My dad was Scoutmaster of my unit. He was harder on me to make sure I was prepared than he was on the other scouts. The reason, I thought, was because he didn't want to be embarrassed by me being unprepared. The real reason that he was trying to raise the level of scoutcraft within the troop and wanted a few scouts able to demonstrate these skills and lead.

 

I felt like he was always looking over my shoulder. He wasn't. When I really looked he was taking the time to circulate, talk to the PLs and just let the guys know he was around.

 

He didn't hound me about advancement. Many times he reminded me to take extra time to enjoy things instead of rush through. He didn't play favorites, and would have to remind himself not to be harsher on my than he was on anyone else. There was no way Scouts thought I got away with anything. Quite the opposite.

 

He gave me my space when I asked, but was always there when needed. Many times it was me who suggested we not see each other during summer camp and he honored that request. I'd seen him having lunch with other kids, but he was always available for a coke or an ice cream before camp fire.

 

It wasn't until my Eagle COH I realized exacty why he'd spent so much time doing all these things. It wasn't for the troop, the other kids or even himself. It was all for me...just to be "around" and watch me grow and learn, even if at distance. He some how found time to document seven years of my scouting career from afar. I never knew he was even at some of those events, yet I finally knew by the fact he had thousands of pictures of me and my friends.

 

If you can manage to be a Scoutmaster and still be around for your son, you'll have done your job. Talk to him. See what he wants. Listen to his wishes. Don't parent while at scouts, save that for home.

Back Pack great feedback, thank you. My son has asked me on more than one occasion if I've noticed how the current SM and his son don't act like father and son. Me response was "What are you not seeing to make you say that?" and "Why do you think that is?" He initially thought it was the SM that wanted it that way, then said maybe that's how the son prefers it. I'm glad he's already thinking about the dynamics of the relationship. The conversation he and I eventually will have should be a good one.

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The other thing, respect the fact that your son will probably the one coming early and staying late to meetings on your account.

Good advice, qwazse. I do see the extra time investment from the current SM and son. To his credit, I've never heard one complaint about it from the son.

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I have seen some parents/sons who are together all the time while at scout activities. I had to recently ask my sons if they feel like I'm around too much or if I give them enough space to do their own things. They both said they feel comfortable with how much space I give them. So that was a comfort. 

One of my big concerns is that I will almost always be there. Once of the appealing things about Boy Scouts for me was that my son could do Scout things without mom and dad around like in Cubs. 

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The only time my sons complained (as well as my wife and daughter) was when I talked too much about scouting at the dinner table. To give the whole family a break, scouting discussions at home were very limited.

It's a fine line for sure. I find myself biting my tongue at times for fear of push-back. I haven't received any yet!  :)

Thanks, Barry.

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Only and ASM here. In my troop, we pawn our kids onto other adults. I know my oldest is glad about that b/c I tend to be harder and expect more out of him than others. Now when he is home, I will remind him of things he needs to do occasionally, i.e "Do you think ( insert names of missing patrol members) need to know what is going on since they missed the meeting?". And he will ask me for advice

I'm trying to remind my son less and less as he grows, but I've definitely done my share. We also pawn ours off. It took my son a bit to understand why I will not sign off anything in his book.

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I should also mention that from the very beginning, I have asked his permission (as well as that of my wife) before accepting any position in his Unit. It was important to me for him to understand that this is his journey, and that I would only ever be around as much as he wants me to be.

Torchwood, I respect that. I had not considered doing so, partly because I was "voluntold" I would replace the current SM when it was time, and also because I feel like I can do right by the boys. I'm looking forward to the opportunity. As I mentioned earlier I will be talking to my son and will be interested to hear what his answer would be if it were up to him whether or not I was SM.

Thanks for that perspective!

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I had an interesting interaction a couple times.... when as Treasurer I have felt compelled to attend a meeting because I know I have business...but he was either sick or just didn't want to go...This happened mostly when he just didn't want to go, he strongly objected to my going as well.  I'm not sure, but I think he didn't want attention called to the fact that he was ditching.  I can't say I was joyed about going without him but I did.

 

We have some that are at every meeting and on every trip with their sons.....kinda like 3rd year WEBELOS, or really better than that but they are often interacting....

and others that are always there but do a fairly good job of minimal interactions, letting other scouters deal with their sons....

The first time I went to a meeting without my son (sick) was surprisingly satisfying. I understood the appeal of sticking around and being part of the unit even after one's son ages out of the Troop. There are (hopefully) many years before I'm in that position, but I can see myself being that kind of leader.

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It bothered me, as well, when my son dropped out of scouts when he as at Star rank.  It surprised him that I did not.  My focus was on helping all boys, not just my son.

My son has seen and heard about my passion for Scouting for years now. I doubt he'd be surprised if I continued on. I feel like once I agreed to take the SM position, I was in it for all the boys, not just mine.

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I tried very hard not to treat my son any differently than any other scout. I told him not to get eagle for me, but for him. I did not sign off on anything for him. The adults that did were those that did not have scouts in the troop anymore. I told them not to give him a break. At the same time I didn't want to hold him up to a higher standard. During his last 6 months he did start to pull away from scouts and I respected that.

 

And yet, I had the best memories with him. We had a lot of fun. He went on more campouts than just about everyone else mainly because I was driving anyway. The adventure side of scouting was, and still is, his favorite. I can't keep up with him and it makes me so happy. When he was 18 he told me that when he was 16 I was not so smart but now (when he was 18) I had gotten a lot smarter. When he was 20 he told me he knew what scouting was really about. In a few weeks he'll be 26, and I'll finally be stepping down. It's been a good adventure, but having my son there was the best part.

 

I tell parents that scouting is an opportunity to have fun with their sons, like no other activity. On a 40 hour campout I might have only seen my son for an hour or two, but it was magic. @@Chadamus, enjoy this opportunity.

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I had a very uncomfortable relationship with my parents growing up. Scouting was my place away from mom and dad. They were very supportive of my Scouting, but didn't volunteer day to day with the troop.

 

Now as an ASM I try to help our SM and other ASMs balance being dad and being troop leader.

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I am a scoutmaster for my son's troop.  There are plenty of times he has said he wishes I was "just a parent" but other times likes it.  It is harder on me than it is on him.  I have been watching this thread and thinking about my response for a bit, so here it is.  I am sure there are some things that are the same for all of us and others that are unique to us.

 

Cons:

  • He has to wait for me to finish at meetings when he has homework to get done
  • I drag him to more events than he would most likely just sign up for
  • He has to wait for sign offs sometimes when I am the only SM around
  • His dad knows about advancement, partial merit badges, and leadership role responsibilities so sometimes questions get asked
  • He has to share me with everyone rather than just have me caring about him
  • I go to training weekends, district meetings, ....  So I am spending more time away
  • I am probably harder on him than others about behaviour, leadership, and work ethic

 

Pros:

  • We get to share experiences together that will last us life times
  • I can answer just about any scouting question for him
  • He knows I am around for him
  • He gets to hear about all the opportunities that exist at the troop, district, council level
  • Since I camp so much he gets equipment more from me because I have a camping problem :-)
  • I am probably harder on him than others about behaviour, leadership, and work ethic

Overall, I think the pros win, the shared experiences and bonds are the key thing.  I rarely see my son on a campout but watching him grow from a nervous shy boy to being one of the few that are always stepping up to teach scout skills to the first year scouts warms my heart.  Personally, I hope he gets Eagle but the adventure and leadership opportunities is the most important part.   I have no doubt that he will attain Eagle rank but I am overjoyed when he chooses non-Eagle merit badges at camp because he wants to have a fun time.

  • Upvote 1

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