Jump to content
cocomax

Lawnmower Parents

Recommended Posts

27 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

Thanks for the additional information but that's not for us.

This is the first year our troop will be attending AdvanceCamp, so it’s entirely possible our boys will discover that it’s not for us, either. Particularly because of the event’s size (3000 Scouts), I’m approaching this as an experiment.

Edited by gblotter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have an annual district camporee.  The OA reps from each troop plan it and the boys have fun.  Typically the most fun thing is the big cross troop activity like a huge relay race or tug of war competition.  And of course the skits at campfire.  It is fun and relaxed.  Very much boy led.  Zero MB's or advancement done on that campout.  🙂

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/4/2018 at 3:23 PM, Horizon said:

It exists, and we created it. Let me provide some examples.

I thought the exact same thing. As soon as I read that definition of "lawnmower parent" my first thought was, "Dear God we made this happen..."

On 9/4/2018 at 3:23 PM, Horizon said:

Pinewood derby - when the winning car comes from the kid whose family has the tool set at home to build the perfect racer or art object. They get the awards, while the kids who actually did it himself goes home discouraged. The next year, other parents learn the rules of the game and take over.

I agree with the association of PWD to lawnmower parenting, but I also think it's not quite for the reason you describe. It has nothing to do with the tools available to a Scout or the artistic qualities of the car. We've all seen plenty of beautiful adult-crafted cars flop on the track come race day. And likewise I know Scouts with access to workshops that pro craftsmen would be jealous of, and they certainly aren't guaranteed to have a winning car just because of that access. 

There's also a very popular YouTube video where a former NASA engineer builds a lightning-fast car with simple hand-tools, minimal time, and weight duct-taped on top. It's definitely not about the tools or access to materials to make a work of art. 

Whether we're talking about PWD cars or water bottles, to me the issue is the same. Lawnmower parents make the choice to solve the problem instead of teaching how to do it. It's the old "give a man a fish" thing. And it's all about choice. For some reason, the trend these days is to choose to do the work instead of choosing to teach kids how to do it. 

I think we did kind of pioneer the "choose to do it yourself instead of teaching your kid how to do it" thing with the PWD. That goes back decades, long before any modern parenting trend. But I think it has always been about parents choosing to do instead of teach, and not at all about access to tools. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, FireStone said:

I think we did kind of pioneer the "choose to do it yourself instead of teaching your kid how to do it" thing with the PWD. That goes back decades, long before any modern parenting trend. But I think it has always been about parents choosing to do instead of teach, and not at all about access to tools. 

Bad example. Pinewood Derbies were, as I understand it, created as father/son activity. That is how my pack as a youth presented it, and that is how our pack presented it. Those are some good memories with my dad. Now, maybe dad went a little crazy, but it was still father son times. Of course as hour culture progressed, mothers, grandparents, aunts and uncles had to take up some slack. But the derbies, like most of the cub program, was designed around family. 

The rest of the argument is valid, but I read somewhere that the creation of lawnmower parenting is a lot simpler and complicated. Humans instinctively are driven to build their environment security for the tribe, or family. Even when the environment doesn't present a risk to human security,  the instinct is still their and it drives the adults to busy themselves working toward building a better environment. And, human youths instinctively learn most of the behavior by watching role models until puberty. Instructional teaching is not the instinctive route for educating a youth. Left to instinct and time on their hands, human adults busy themselves working the problem and improving it. It's that simple, or complicated, depending on how you see it. We live in safe simple times, so our instinct to build a secure environment has been reduced to protecting our kids from the pain of loosing a pinewood derby. After several generations of living in a safe non-hostel environment, adults are just busy bodies looking to validate their instincts.

Barry

 

Edited by Eagledad

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only big issue for me is the focus on advancement as the goal instead of a method. This is my beef with any of these events whether it in mB college, etc... Instead, imagine an event with scouting activities whereby participating in the adventure has the secondary result of fulfilling requirements for mBs and/or ranks. No classes, but adventure.  Imagine a camporee where a telescope is available and after campfire, scouts have the opportunity to use it. An older scout shows a few how to locate and identify planets, nebulae or the moons of jupiter. Among a few other things. At the end, can you hear the older scout saying, "hey I did 3 requirements for the astronomy merit badge tonight" and the younger scout saying, "really? that was fun, maybe I should do astronomy mB too". IMO, that is how advancement is used as a method to fulfill the aims.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, DuctTape said:

The only big issue for me is the focus on advancement as the goal instead of a method.

Maybe it's too easy to blame the parents on this. If you look at advancement resources vs outdoor fun resources the focus is clearly on advancement. There are pages of requirements. Manuals for judging the advancement. Arguments all over the place regarding examples of people doing things wrong. Then look at how to put on a fun, outdoor program and there isn't nearly as much. You don't even need to buy anything to keep it organized like the back of the scout handbook, no requirements to learn planning, no levels of learning how to make a skill into a fun activity. Unlike passing first aid or cooking, where there are levels and ranks to work up through, the fun things are just alluded too. Maybe that's why new parents with little experience move towards advancement, it's all laid out for them.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think @MattR is on to something.  

We're a pretty active troop.  If you asked us, we'd say the same things quoted here - it's about the journey, advancement is a method - it's not a goal, etc.  It you looked at us you think - "these guys are really focused on advancement."  My sense is that advancement is obvious, it's easy to grasp.  The other stuff is much harder to grasp.

I also think it's much easier for a parent to understand and measure advancement.  You can ask a teenager - did you have fun on the trip.  Often I'm sure the response is "Sure'.  It's tough to know what to make of that.  Advancement - that's pretty easy for a parent to measure. 

Doesn't make it right at all - but it is easier.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree. The day is coming when scouts return from a 7-day Philmont trek with 4  merit badges.  Oh that will never happen... I thought the same about Jamborees.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, MattR said:

Maybe that's why new parents with little experience move towards advancement, it's all laid out for them.

I think the rat race which was reserved for adults entering the workforce had moved down to infants.  Parents think.... for little Johnny to be CEO of Twitter or President of the USA he must attend Yale or Harvard.   In order to attend Yale or Harvard he must never get in trouble, go to a “great” high school and get perfect ACTs.  He also needs good extracurricular activities.... blah, blah.  It goes all the way to ensuring they fetus listens to Beethoven  in the womb.  I think too many parents today feel like any failure during youth is a life sentence.

Many parents do not see a need for little Johnny to play outdoors unless it helps him on his track to be President.  Advancement helps communicate a value to those parents. 

This is definitely not everyone and I do see a growing backlash where building resilience, free play and other terms are being emphasized.  We may have seen peak helicopter.... or perhaps the helicopters will simply have a new metric to track.  I can only imagine.... “Johnny, you must complete your 30 mins of assigned free play before you practice piano.”

Edited by Eagle1993

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

I can only imagine.... “Johnny, you must complete your 30 mins of assigned free play

That's not new.  That's old.   Very old.  Kid gets home from school.   In winter time less than an hour of daylight left.   Mom requires him or her to go play outside during that hour,   because otherwise the kid will be wanting to run around wild inside the house after dark. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lawnmower parents are nothing new, but I see this trend kicking into overdrive with our LDS troop.

After the LDS-exit announcement, I sat down with each Scout to determine his goals before the 12/31/19 deadline. Then we wrote down a plan for him to achieve those goals (Eagle or otherwise). The plan is there, but each boy understands that it is his responsibility to execute on that plan. It is expected that some will make it and some won’t based on individual initiative. When the boys let their plan languish, I’m seeing lawnmower parents step in because they realize the consequences of missing a deadline. It’s a natural reaction, I suppose, and I know it will only get worse as we get closer to 12/31/19.

The Eagle bulge of 1973/74 will be nothing compared to what happens in 2019, folks.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thunderbird Challenge

Slated to be an annual event, the inaugural Thunderbird Challenge was hosted by the Boy Scouts of America and pitted four teams of people  from local businesses against each other in competition for bragging rights and a plaque.

...

“The idea of the event is to take people who are not necessarily affiliated with Boy Scouts of America  (Pacific Harbors Council) and introduce them to our program and show them some of the exciting parts of scouting,” said Charlene Miseli, the development executive for the Pacific Harbors Council of Boy Scouts of America. “We say that there is no scouting without outing, so a lot of our emphasis is on outdoor activity and bringing different business teams out here to compete head to head in scout activities shows them some of the ways we use to develop our leaders in our program.”

Overall, camp staff said they viewed the event as a success and three of the four teams went home with a trophy. 

“We’ve had a lot of fun, knocked off the rust and worked out some of the kinks today and we will absolutely be doing this event annually, said Miseli.”

?? Sounds like the way camporees once were for scouts - patrol method, patrol competition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/6/2018 at 10:18 AM, gblotter said:

This is the first year our troop will be attending AdvanceCamp, so it’s entirely possible our boys will discover that it’s not for us, either. Particularly because of the event’s size (3000 Scouts), I’m approaching this as an experiment.

AdvanceCamp was yesterday, so I'm reporting back on the experience.

The quality of merit badge classes varied widely. Some were very well-organized. For example, the Emergency Preparedness merit badge had boys moving between different stations to learn and demonstrate skills. The Trail-to-First-Class program was excellent, too, with many stations staffed by skilled volunteers (including older Scouts instructing younger Scouts). Those experiences were better than anything we could generate at the troop level - raves and praise all around.

By contrast, Citizenship in the World merit badge felt like a merit badge mill of the worst kind with six separate classes running in parallel. The classroom setting was a huge hall - so noisy that it was difficult to share and hear comments. I can't endorse that kind of learning environment at all.

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

×