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KenD500

Current Events & SM Minutes

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I was just talking with the SM of another Troop down the road about the events in Charlottesville this weekend.  During the discussion, I asked if he was preparing a SM Minute to discuss the events & lessons learned with his Troop.  His Troop doesn't do things like that.

 

My question to you - do you discuss current events & the lessons learned with your Scouts?  Have you prepared one for the events in Charlottesville?

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If I were still a Scoutmaster, the title of the SM Minute would be, "can a person follow the Scout Oath and Law and still act out with hatred?".

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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I sometimes do, but I base the discussion around the scout law or Oath typically.  I have noticed that rarely do the boys have a clue about the current events we know about.  Other than elections.

 

In this case, I would talk about being respectful and brave.  A scout should always be respectful of others beliefs and thoughts even if they disagree with them, we all come from different backgrounds and even all Christians don't believe exactly the same thing, but we as scouts all believe in the same Law and Oath.  If we follow that, our compass will alway point us in the right direction.  Scouts need to be Brave by standing up for what they believe in and not lower themselves to the others that believe that separation and violence is the answer.  

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I don't encourage our SM to focus minutes on national events. Believe it or not, our boys often have more immediate concerns.

 

Make a plan or adopt a theme -- parables, this week in our nation's history, famous scouts --and follow it. Often, the scheduled minute will have some application to current events.

 

Now if our boys want to understand events like these, have them plan visits to community centers or offer to be color-guard at memorial services. If possible, visit the monuments in question. Talk to town councils and the decisions they made regarding them. But, that's not an SM minute, at best it's an announcement: "Any patrol that wants to look into the events of last week in a scout-friendly way, come see me, I'll have some ideas for you."

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Nope. Nope. Nope.

 

Issues and politics belong with mom and dad. Not going. To even open that box.

 

We can discuss the Oath and Law and other Scouting issues. They can take those and apply them where they like.

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Thanks to Mash, and a site for teens on bullying, here's my SM Minute for tonight.

 

I welcome suggestions.

 

Among the points of our *Scout LAW* we pledge to be Respectful and Brave. Courteous and Kind. A scout should always be respectful of others. We all come from different backgrounds but we as scouts all believe in the same Law and Oath. If we follow that, our compass will always point us in the right direction. Scouts need to be Brave by standing up against bullying, but that isn’t easy.

 

Whenever there’s a terrible case of bullying in the news, people wonder, “How could this happen?†and “Why didn’t anyone come forward earlier to stop this?†"How did it get so bad" There are no easy answers to these questions. Some people say nothing out of fear—because they don’t want to be the next target.

 

Here are a few other ideas of how folks can to turn a blind eye to bullying.

 

Belief 1: “Everyone one else is okay with this. I’ll be weird if I don’t go along with it.â€

People overestimate how comfortable their peers are with bad behavior. Psychologists call this pluralistic ignorance. People go along with what they think everyone else thinks is okay. We can end up uncomfortably laughing at a creepy joke. We can end up with everyone doing something that no one really wants to do.

 

Belief 2: “It’s not my job to stop this bullying.â€

Psychologists call it diffusion of responsibility, when everyone assumes that someone else will intervene. We know from first aid training that the bigger the group of bystanders, the less likely people to help someone in need. We know someone needs to take action. Either by speaking up directly or informing responsible authorities— deciding to take action is key to stopping bullying.

 

Belief 3: “This doesn’t count as bullying.â€

Rationalizations are things we say to ourselves to excuse bad behavior. They could include comments such as: “I survived it, so it’s not that bad.†“He deserves it, because he’s weird or annoying.†“They’re just joking around†These rationalizations don’t excuse cruel behavior.

 

Belief 4: “This bullying too awful to be true.â€

This is simple denial. Sometimes we just don’t want to believe things that shake our world. We assume that regular people that we know couldn’t be so awful. We assume "My friends/neighbors… would never do that!"

 

 

Edmund Burke once said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.â€

 

Please be the good that does something.

Edited by Bloop
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@@Bloop, far be it from me to pick apart what you think might work for your boys. But in general, boys are very concrete and will get distracted by something unfamiliar and miss your message.

 

"Respectful" is not a point of the scout law (although the combination of other points certainly implies it). I would suggest you have your opening reference "Reverent and Brave". That's because included in a scout's definition of  "reverent" is "respects the beliefs of others".

 

Not everyone thinks that respect of others is a duty to God, but that's okay. You're just trying to make sure everyone starts from the same point before you get into the meat of the minute.

 

Otherwise, you've packed a lot of good stuff in one minute. Let us know if the boys give you any feedback.

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Thank you! You're right. I would have lost them in the first sentence if I invented new points of the Law.

 

Among the points of our Scout Law, we pledge to be Brave, Courteous and Kind. In our Oath we promise to help other people at all times. We all come from different backgrounds but we as scouts all believe in the same Oath and Law. If we follow that, our compass will always point us in the right direction. Scouts need to be Brave by standing up against bullying, but that isn’t easy.

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FWIW, I will tell my scouts about what it was like to sit at the lunch table in high school with Klansmen across from me, knowing full well their granddads probably were the ones who lit the cross on the hill opposite my dad's (one of his childhood memories that he shared with us).

 

But that's a campfire or water-stop story. Not an SM minute.

 

Most of us don't have to walk to far to find someone who is an example of overcoming such things.

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Actually, some of our scouts are fairly precocious on political topics. As are some of the parents. We recently were dealing with a parent complaint regarding a scout wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat on a campout. We also had a big stink from a parent about an old photograph on the wall in which a scout was holding a Confederate battle flag. And when I give the First Class (?) talk regarding the citizen's rights and responsibilities, at least one scout will always try to engage me in a political debate. The response is always, "I don't mind discussing it with you, but this is not the time or place."

 

Too many people--on both sides of the political aisle--cannot handle political discussions in a mature, rational, adult way. It is clearly unreasonable to expect the scouts to do so. And nobody sends their boys to us for political indoctrination.

 

Personally, I would steer clear of anything remotely political as if it were the plague. The likelihood that a simple, 5 minute discussion will engender a huge problem is simply to great no matter how well intentioned the discussion is. And dealing with that problem will generate ill will and detract from the program.

 

Just my $.02. Your mileage may vary just as the composition of your troop (and parents) surely will.

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