Jump to content
Zebra132

Qualities of an Eagle

Recommended Posts

Am I just getting old and grumpy or does anyone else have a problem with a young man earning Eagle Scout that has a pregnant girlfriend? Would that mean when the young women hit the troops, it would be okay for a female Eagle candidate to be pregnant at her BOR? And this is not a case of “oops, we just found out!” This is pasted all over his Facebook page. I’ve seen an SM refuse to sign off on a young man because he was caught in a car where marijuana was found and he wasn’t even smoking it and the charges were dropped. It seems our values come and go at a whim. Thoughts?

Edited by Zebra132
Added a sentence

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is your objection that

(a) Scouts should not have premarital sex,

or

(b) that Scouts should use protection?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Better A, and if not then B! These two incidents just struck me as odd. By explanation, that they were treated so differently in the same Council. Don’t we have something about morally straight in the Oath? I guess if we are going to be accepting of everyone, then anything goes now. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not condoning premarital sex, but where in the Scout Oath and Laws do you see anything against it?  I can understand Drugs, because it most states its illegal. 

 

And it would never be "okay", but I wouldn't hold judgement against them either.  I would hope they discussed all the options and are taking the next responsible step.

Share this post


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

Is your objection that

(a) Scouts should not have premarital sex,

or

(b) that Scouts should use protection?

Be prepared seems to cover these moderately well.

Do we deny eagle to a scout that goes hiking/camping in bad weather and ends up needing a rescue? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The  BSA mission is to prepare them to make ethical choices over their lifetime by instilling the values of the oath and law.

This does not mean they will always make the best choices while a scout, or even after. But have they learned from poor choices and their consequences, and have they accepted the values in the oath and law as guiding principles to prepare them to make better choices in the future. They will still falter, as humans will do. The question is whether a poor choice is an anomaly or part of a pattern. 

As far as the boy in the OPs question, the question has been answered by the SM signing off on show scout spirit. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


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

Be prepared seems to cover these moderately well.

Do we deny eagle to a scout that goes hiking/camping in bad weather and ends up needing a rescue? 

Aye, in both cases some sort of overcoat would have been advisable.

  • Haha 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tell my scouts, to get their priorities straight with girlfriend selection: First, is she rich? Second, can she cook?

Assuming that scout has followed that imperative, and the gravid young lady can work hard and prepare decent meals, the second question becomes: how is he preparing to tend to his new family? How will he be trustworthy, kind, and thrifty going forward? That would determine to me how seriously he takes scout spirit.

If in spite of this moral lapse, these are decent young people who claim they want to do the right thing, I would

  1. Ask why they haven't helped me restart a venturing crew?
  2. Challenge them to do so, and
  3. If they succeed, call dibs on baby-sitting during meetings.
  • Downvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

We teach our scouts that leadership is not only about making good decisions, but taking responsibility, reflecting, and accepting the consequences from our bad ones.

That's good stuff. I might say that scouts become good decision makers by learning how to take responsibility for their bad decisions. 

This subject is not about the scouts, it's about the scouters.

I have personal experience with the first scout, not the second. Ironically the 16 year old scout (my sons best friend since first grade) announced his situation to the troop at the end of a long day of his Eagle project. His parents showed up to support him, because that was probably the most difficult announcement of his life.

That scout now has three kids all going to the same schools that he and my kids attended when they where their age. He has a masters degree in engineering and business. None of that really talks about his character, but without getting into long winded details, he set the high mark for taking responsibility of his bad decisions and is leading the life of an Eagle.

I'm not going to suggest how all adults, much less Scoutmasters, should judge scouts when they make bad decisions. Maybe the problem with scouting today (and we talked about this many times on this forum) is we don't judge the other scouts enough in their early experiences to give respect. Did anyone ask the rank of the scout who helped the little old lady across the street? Is there honor in getting to 2nd class?

I was taught in the early  days (and experience has proven it) that only four percent of the population are natural leaders. Everyone else are natural followers. The average percentage of Eagles in the early days was about three percent of all scouts. Well doesn't that make sense? I have said that boys below age 13 aren't good leaders because they don't like it. But, there are those very few natural leaders that stuck out even at age 11. They are the 3 percent. The scout I mentioned above was not our best leader in the sense of taking charge and going forward. He was not our best SPL. He was not the troops best PL. He just didn't like being the guy in front of everyone else.

But, he was a favorite to the young scouts because he had an abundance of patience and compassion. His friends held him in high respect because he was fair minded to his core. Adults held him in high esteem because he is even mannered, never loosing control and never backing off from a challenge. He was a very hard worker and seemed like a natural at everything. I called him Evinrude because he could push a canoe through the water like no one I had ever seen. All the adults liked him because he was that kid that we all wanted our kids to be like. Is he worthy of a good leader, or a really good follower? I honestly don't know, but I signed him off for his Eagle.

Scouting is in the middle of big changes and I personally fear that the program is loosing it's foundation for existing. For all it's marketing of adventure, the primary reason for Scouting is character development. Plain and simple, at least for me. The only reason I hang around this forum anymore is to help the few scouters who want a values driven program. I want to help those scouters who want more for their scouts than just a camping experience and a badge.

But it's not easy to be a moral judge of other parents' kids behavior. Sometimes we get it wrong. I confessed in my scoutmaster training classes that I personally did it wrong at least 50% of the time. If that is true, then how does the SM judge a scout to be a better moral and ethical decision maker? There is no easy answer; if we don't judge the scouts's decisions, then we aren't balanced mentors and our guidance is one-sided. If on the other hand we sometimes get it wrong, how does that work? How does one judge a scout with balance? How do we flawed adults hold the bar high enough to retain respect with outsiders looking in, and yet develop a decision maker who made a big mistake? 

There is no easy answer for me, I can only say that I had to work at being the best scoutmaster I could, one humble decision at a time. 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A tangential question from an outsider, here:

How much does the CO influence the understanding of "morally straight" and "clean"?    How much does the CO set the tone for helping the scouts learn how to make ethical choices?

(Side question: is the 11th point of BSA's law, "clean", understood as being similar in meaning to the "clean" in Baden-Powell's tenth law (which was never adopted by BSA) "A Scout is clean in thought, word and deed."?)

Back to the orginial questions,  would a CO with clearly-defined moral standards (such as a Catholic church)  influence the troop's understanding of what it means to be straight rather than crooked in behaviour?   What about CO's such as hunting clubs,  utility companies, businessmen's associations?   Do they tend to be more hands-off on these issues, leaving it to the troop to figure out?

Why am I asking?   I'm hoping to be involved with a new girls Scouts BSA troop.  Don't know yet which of the local CO's for boys troops might be interesting in sponsoring a girls troop, also.   Don't know how much impact the culture of the CO typically has on the culture of the troop.

Share this post


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

A tangential question from an outsider, here:

How much does the CO influence the understanding of "morally straight" and "clean"?    How much does the CO set the tone for helping the scouts learn how to make ethical choices?

(Side question: is the 11th point of BSA's law, "clean", understood as being similar in meaning to the "clean" in Baden-Powell's tenth law (which was never adopted by BSA) "A Scout is clean in thought, word and deed."?)

Back to the orginial questions,  would a CO with clearly-defined moral standards (such as a Catholic church)  influence the troop's understanding of what it means to be straight rather than crooked in behaviour?   What about CO's such as hunting clubs,  utility companies, businessmen's associations?   Do they tend to be more hands-off on these issues, leaving it to the troop to figure out?

Why am I asking?   I'm hoping to be involved with a new girls Scouts BSA troop.  Don't know yet which of the local CO's for boys troops might be interesting in sponsoring a girls troop, also.   Don't know how much impact the culture of the CO typically has on the culture of the troop.

Not tangential in the least.

The CO has a very strong influence in these situations. In fact, the first person I might consult in situations like these is the COR and IH. And it's not just for any sense that they have moral high ground (although they may). It's to get an honest outside opinion on the matter.

Yes, "clean" is to be interpreted broadly, as per BP's description.

I have never noticed a pattern regarding which CO's influence troops in which directions. I think this is, in fact, because most CO's are hands off. They want good kids coming through their doors and getting acquainted with their institution. They mostly are counting on the leaders and parents to shape those kids.

A religious CO might have certain expectations. Ours expects kids to say grace before meals and be charitable in all things. My friend and his grandson were Jewish members of a troop with a Roman Catholic CO who insisted if the troop was out on a Sunday they stopped for mass. He and his grandson waited outside of a lot of country churches on they way home from campouts! On the other hand, the gun club might expect the troop to attend an NRA convention. The Legion might expect the boys to look sharp for parades. But, I find that IH's usually expect a wide envelope of behavior from our scouts and are optimistic that the rough edges in most will smooth out if we persist.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A scout should live up to the things he believes. If he makes a mistake, he corrects his course and stays on that course. By staying on a corrected course, he demonstrates scout spirit.

If the newly minted father were in my troop, I would ask him to wait awhile before pursuing advancement. If I were to sit on an EBOR for some other scout, I would ask him (it would be more of a discussion, not a point blank question) to explain how he believes his actions are in harmony with a scout being clean and reverent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Zebra132, not sure if grumpy is the right word, but I'm certainly old. There are lots of discussions on this forum about what an Eagle scout should be. It's mostly about character. There are also lots of discussions about not adding requirements. Unfortunately, these two ideas create a lot of tension because what we think an eagle scout should be has little to do with the requirements. The requirements are very concrete whereas character is not. Courteous and kind and putting the needs of others is very subjective whereas 20 nights camping only brings up conflict when the idea of sleeping in a cabin or a lock in is brought up.

I once said a scout had to be active in my troop to advance. There was a very clear description of what active meant. One scout didn't care for it and mom took it to council. I was, after all, adding requirements. They gave him his eagle. They said he only needed to be active for 6 months. So, in your case, has this boy's girl friend not been pregnant for 6 months while he was a life scout? I know, it sounds insanely stupid to phrase it that way but that's what eagle is. It certainly sounds a lot better to say a scoutmaster conference can not include retesting a scout on skills but it's essentially the same thing. It's a simple algorithm with little room for interpretation. 

And I kind of get it. I see stories where others were unreasonable about how they interpreted the rules. I was always reasonable ;). Rules rarely leave room for interpretation and character is rarely black and white.

A recent example I've run into is where I had to disqualify a "patrol" for cheating on a competition at the camporee. The 2 previous SPL's along with the current one and a couple of other older scouts took the place of one of the regular patrols at the final competition (where the overall wining patrol was decided). That alone would be nothing but an opportunity to teach some scouts about playing fair. What bothered me was that when 4 adults talked to them they just didn't see how what they did could be considered cheating. For a half hour we tried to explain this and they didn't get it. They said all the troops did this. So I went and talked to the other troops and, in fact, none of them cheated. They still didn't accept it. I have never run into this type of situation where a group of scouts, all of which will soon be eagle, just couldn't grasp what most cub scouts understand. So I really have to ask myself what eagle is worth. If your scout does right by his baby and is otherwise a good scout in the troop then I'd take him over the scouts in my troop. We won't know for some time, though. A friend of mine kept reminding me that we're playing a long game. We hope they get it figured out in 10 or 20 years from now. Will the scouts in my troop come back in 1, 5, or 10 years from now and realize they were cheating? If so, I won. If not, I wasted my time. Either way, it has little to do with that patch with the bird on it.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well said, @MattR. I understand rules. I interpret them for a living with those that are mainly in their "extended adolescence" known as college. I have to muck around in the gray a lot. Did you violate the alcohol policy by having one beer on campus? Yep! Is it worse if you had thee 18-packs plus four bottles of liquor? Yep! The second scenario gets a more stern penalty.  My hope is that this young man in question does do right by his child and the mother. Hopefully, his final SM conference included some good parenting advice...and perhaps the Family Life Merit Badge needs to add a requirement to change at least one dirty diaper for the experience!

  • Upvote 1

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

×