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BillFan90

How to reassure skeptical spouse about taking SM position?

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I’m not sure if this is the right forum, but here goes! Seeking advice and expertise:

How do you convince a skeptical spouse that stepping up to be Scoutmaster is OK?

What questions did you have to answer for them to agree?

How did you make sure that your SM duties wouldn’t interfere with family time?

If your spouse was not involved in Scouting but your child was, how did you “balance out” their quality time with both parents?

If there were campouts you couldn’t go on due to family obligations, how did you delegate that trip leadership to an ASM?

thanks!!

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I'm not a SM, but I've been an ASM for a while now. 

My only advice is to build up your ASM team, develop them. And figure out which ones would be your substitute SM when you cannot make an event. There are some things in your marriage or the lives of your family that are more important than a Scout trip or outing, so build up the team that will help you achieve that. The current SM and Committee Chair can help you get that process going. 

Best of luck to you! 

Edited by Sentinel947
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I agree with @Sentinel947.  I've been a CC for about 5 years and watched the SM role closely.  Here's take:

1) Your family always takes priority.  

2) As Scoutmaster, you set the tone for the troop & the ASMs.  The tone and your direction is significantly more important than whether your on every trip and at every event.

3) If you don't create space for others, they will never fill it.  In other words, if you do it all - then the opportunity is not there for others to step up.  

3) Failure is OK.  You're job is bigger than an event or a camping trip.  It's ok to let things occasionally fail due to #1, #2, or #3 above.

Edited by ParkMan
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I have been an ASM.  SM, and now First Mate.

I was asked to be the SM and I did it without much consultation with my wife.  I was asked to be the Skipper(SM) of the Ship and I asked my wife and she said no.

Have a frank conversation with her over dinner out. 

1) Explain that you are supporting your son's activities and you are there for him and the other boys in the troop.

2) Understand that you are always on call.  Whether it is in person at a meeting, campout, email, text......But that your family will always take priority.

3) Agree to guidlines about how much time you are willing to give.

4) Delegate, delegate, delegate.  Find ASM's that will own a needed job.  Make sure they are doing their job and don't micromanage them.

5) relax...  it is ok for things to fail, there will be mistakes.  Just be honest and open.  

6) If she says no, or only for certain hours then follow that.   Don't try to sneak in extra work behind her back.

The sacrifice that a SM spouse makes is really a big one.

 

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Never a SM, but long time Scouter. You will definitely need support from your spouse on this. I have had friends get divorced over Scouting, and almost was divorced due to Scouting, albeit as a professional.

Everyone has given great advice. Ditto getting your ASMs involved and taking responsibility. You cannot do everything, and need to work with them and trust them.

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I recently became SM after a few years as ASM. We're a smaller troop and I pretty much attended every event, anyway.

I need to get better at delegating, but really I need to get better at convincing people to volunteer to do those delegated tasks. Right now, that seems to be the most challenging part of the job.

If you don't take the job, is there someone else who could? In our case, there weren't many other options, not because others aren't qualified, they certainly are, but they had even less available time than I do.

I've never really viewed myself as a leader, but I'm learning. My greatest asset, and I believe anyone's greatest asset as SM, is the very good people in our troop who get things done and done well. A good leader surrounds himself with good people.

I wish you well. Only you and your spouse can determine if you can make the time commitment. Only you can determine if you're up to the job.

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As said above,  family time and duties need take first priority. That said, the enrichment and satisfaction you bring back into the family from Scouting can not be obtained in any other way. 

Your Scouts will , if allowed, become new sons and daughters.  Make sure your spouse has little reason to feel jealous of your time and attention to these surrogate sons and daughters . Include her in all  your plans and do not let her be "surprised".  More than one "real"  son/daughter?  Make sure your time and attention to all your family is evenly and appropriately spread.  

Do not forget important anniversaries/dates.  Smile lots. Hug lots.  Compliment lots.  Leave the toilet seat down.  Come back from hikes and camping trips dirty but happy to be home and SHOW it. 

As said above, develop your "staff" and delegate, delegate.  Allow others to take responsibility and compliment them when things go right and be sympathetic when things don't. 

Communicate. Talk. Listen, without judgement, listen.  To your "bosses" :::   Wife, work,  family,  yourself.

See thee on yon trail....

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@BillFan90 My answer to you might depend on what is your family situation. Specifically, do you have a son in the troop? 

I have been a Scoutmaster twice.

During my first tour of duty as Scoutmaster (7 years), we were a new-married couple without children. My wife's resentment of the time demands was understandably an issue. She was left at home alone on many campout weekends, and much of my vacation time allotment from work was spent on Scouting adventures and summer camps. While I treasured these Scouting experiences, my prioritization was at times unfair. I vacated the Scoutmaster position about the time our first child was born.

My second tour of duty as Scoutmaster (3 years and counting) began when our son turned 11 years old and entered the program. My wife and I are unified in our parenting goals. This time around, she supported my investments in time and accepted the tradeoffs because we both realized this was benefitting our son in important ways. Our son has had a phenomenal classic Scouting experience and has established wonderful friendships. He is now an Eagle Scout with 70 merit badges, OA, Jamboree, etc. But as his involvement in Scouting winds down, so will mine.

Do either of these experiences resemble your own family situation?

 

Edited by gblotter
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