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Cambridgeskip

Standing up to adults

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8 hours ago, Cambridgeskip said:
 

*I came across at RTA where a motocyclist had come off and was on the ground complaining of pains in their neck. There were a couple of other adults who were trying to remove the casualty’s helmet and were refusing to listen to a teenage girl, who turned out to be an air cadet, who was telling them not to and they wouldn’t listen till I backed her up. Even the paramedics didn’t attempt it! They got her on a spinal stretcher and off to hospital before attempting it.

 

Yeah, some first aid stuff just seems prone to bystanders wanting to do exactly the wrong thing because of their emotional response.  People wanting to dunk extremities in warm water to deal with frostbite when the person is hypothermic, pulling out whatever caused a puncture wound, pulling stuck on fabric off of severe burns...

I watched a work first aid seminar once with a role play before the training.  I just had to shake my head and walk away when one group of ladies insisted on lifting the unconscious person's head up to put a small folded up blanket under it for comfort before they immobilized the head and neck.

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6 hours ago, David CO said:

If your kids will generally do as their told, I wouldn't mess with it.  An occasional mishap is a small price to pay for having respectful and obedient children.

We all know now that this demeanor -- while essential for elementary education, religious sensibility, functioning families, and long term personal growth  -- has boundaries and will backfire in certain contexts. Specifically when an abuser takes advantage of a culture's willingness to think "an occasional mishap is a small price to pay", the youth in his/her sights no longer becomes a charge and becomes a victim.

Some in the medical field (especially here in the US where healthcare is under strain) describe a situation called "moral injury" where pressures are put upon a doctor or nurse to become so efficient that they feel their prime responsibility to their patient is undermined. In lifesaving scenarios, having to cede authority to someone less competent is heart-wrenching. When we teach the next generation how they may forestall death, but don't teach them how to stand up to someone who may abuse their age or some other false authority to undermine a rescuer's ability to spare loss of life and limb, we put that generation at risk of moral injury. What happens to a morally injured first-responder? Well, in @Eagle94-A1's case, he chewed on it and made sure to never let that happen again.  Others will commit to never putting themselves in such a position again -- pass on the other side of the road, leave it up to the professionals, never take next level training, or do enough to pass the test and never engage the lessons, etc .... Folks, that becomes a whole lot of training for naught.

On the positive side, teaching first aid students crowd control -- or teaching a life guard to not suffer fools at the waterfront, also has the side effect of giving them a tool that may defend them against abuse.

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55 minutes ago, qwazse said:

"moral injury" 

I don't think you are accurately describing moral injury.  Moral injury is said to occur when someone is required to cede control to some other person who has the legitimate authority to make the decision.  A better example of this would be if a scout is required to cede control of an accident scene to a paramedic or police officer.  A key element of moral injury is that the other person actually has the legitimate authority to take charge.

The term, moral injury, does not imply that a person should not give way to someone with legitimate authority.  It simply describes the emotional reaction that can happen in such a situation, particularly if there is a negative outcome.  In extreme cases, people might need psychological counseling for moral injury.

It is wrong to equate moral injury with abuse.  A person who suffers a moral injury has not been abused.  Not all injuries are the result of abuse.

 

Edited by David CO

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15 hours ago, Cambridgeskip said:

I was curious how that would compare to your side of the pond. Would a 14 year old in the state find it hard to do that?

That was a natural response.  Scouts (and all youth) learn very quick to give deference to adults.  I can't speak for your troop, but most scout programs emphasize the difference.  I'm betting each and every scout can tell multiple stories of where an adult used his position (or age) to put a scout in his place.  

I know that "adult interaction" is a method in scouts, but I really think we need to be more careful of when and how that occurs.  In fact, we need to interact in such a way that the program grows the backbone of the scouts to stand up for what is right.  I remember our first scoutmaster did the best.  I swear he rarely told the scouts what to do.  It was always a question.  What's next?  What's your plan?  How did that work out for you?  How do you think the other scout felt?  Or it was an atta-boy.  Nice job.  That worked out well.  Good job getting their attention.  :)  In addition, the scout-adult interaction was minimized.  SM represented the adults.  A few ASMs.  Beyond that, adults mixed with adults.  Scouts with scouts.

Edited by fred8033
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6 hours ago, David CO said:

I don't think you are accurately describing moral injury.  Moral injury is said to occur when someone is required to cede control to some other person who has the legitimate authority to make the decision.  ...

In its original application of attempting to understand PTSD in veterans, I believe you are correct, the authority was deemed to be legitimate. Applied to healthcare in this decade, I think "legitimate" is in play. The legitimate authority in the past had been medical boards, but in currently physicians are perplexed my mandates from third party payers, and even the new electronic medical record which some of my physician friends find constraining to the point that patients are harmed. The moral injury comes when actors whose interests aren't always aligned with the Doctor-patient relationship. (Mrs Q and I are dealing with some elder-care issues that smack of this sort of thing.)

Obviously, we train scouts to cede control to trained EMTs and physicians, but that's not merely because we think they have legitimacy in terms of chain of command. It's because we expect their training to complement the care the scout would have given up to that point. In the unlikely event that the person the scout gives control to is a malpractionor and leads to the patient's unnecessary death, that could be a kind of moral injury. But the common scenario is somebody using their age (sometimes sex), absent any other credentials as justification to interfere in effective patient care. So the moral injury in this context comes from a misapplied legitimacy.

So, the term is not a perfect application to the civilian scenario, but I think it comes close.

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22 hours ago, T2Eagle said:

Strongly disagree, I've raised my kids to do what they're told if it's a good thing, the right thing, and the smart thing.  Neither rules nor authority are self justifying, they're means to accomplish ends, and if they're not accomplishing those ends they're due no great deference.

We're kind of in a weird place in this organization when it comes to obedience. In some ways we're sort of military-adjacent when it comes to rules and procedures. If a leader tells you to do something, you do it. In the military, the logic is that orders are followed without question so that the unit runs smoothly and without hesitation in potentially life and death situations. And in the BSA we include "obedient" right in the law.

But we're not the military, and we pride ourselves on being a youth organization that develops leadership abilities, making kids into solid leaders and critical decision-makers.

Using the broken leg example, if a soldier is ordered by his superior to move another soldier with a broken leg, they do so without question, regardless of whether they are in a dangerous situation or not, because they are taught to obey orders and assume that their superior is giving them orders based on their knowledge of the situation, their understanding of what is happening and the information that a superior would have. In scouts, we teach them to proceed as they feel is correct and safe, and to potentially question an "order" from an adult if they believe it is not the best course of action. A scout can and should defy an adult if they feel the injured party should not be moved.

I've often wondered if the "A Scout is Obedient" part of the law still fits with modern norms, even in the context of scouting itself and teaching kids to be leaders (and potentially people who can and should question if what they are told is right). I wouldn't suggest removing it, but I wonder if maybe there's just a better word that says "smartly obedient" or something to that effect.

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37 minutes ago, FireStone said:

We're kind of in a weird place in this organization when it comes to obedience.

Yes we are.  

I am not surprised that you equate obedience with military discipline.  Many people do.  I get that all the time in school.  When we tell kids to obey their teacher, they respond with a statement that they are not in the military.  We have somehow developed this attitude that obedience belongs only in the military.  If you teach obedience, you're being militaristic.

BSA used to understand that a scout needs to be a good subordinate before he can learn to be a good leader.  

 

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Even in the military there is a distinction drawn between lawful and unlawful orders, and my understanding from close relatives who are officers is that there is a lot more questioning and give and take than you would expect if your image is the drill sergeant from boot camp or OCS. 

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20 minutes ago, David CO said:

Yes we are.  

I am not surprised that you equate obedience with military discipline.  Many people do.  I get that all the time in school.  When we tell kids to obey their teacher, they respond with a statement that they are not in the military.  We have somehow developed this attitude that obedience belongs only in the military.  If you teach obedience, you're being militaristic.

BSA used to understand that a scout needs to be a good subordinate before he can learn to be a good leader.  

 

@David CO, the scenario you describe with your teachers is precisely the one we are preparing our scouts for in case they are the first to respond to an emergency. In your teachers' case, students are attempting to use their "rank" as a civilian or fellow citizen to justify their petulance.

It's a different side of the same coin.

'Skip's scenario is being practiced by 14 year-olds. However, they might not encounter an actual scene for years, and they are adults in 4 years (well, in the UK, I think that's  the case ... the US has these bizarre stages of arrested development: 18 for cigarrettes, 20 for alcohol, 26 for no longer being on parents' insurance). So, the issue is not really "facing down unqualified adults" when you are just a kid ... it is facing down peers when you know what's right. I.e., Be prepared ... for life.

 

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1 hour ago, T2Eagle said:

Even in the military there is a distinction drawn between lawful and unlawful orders, and my understanding from close relatives who are officers is that there is a lot more questioning and give and take than you would expect if your image is the drill sergeant from boot camp or OCS. 

This is true.  The basic training experience is one thing.  Out in the "real Air Force" or "real Army", etc., there are opportunities for give/take at the officer and noncommissioned officer levels.  However, when the decision is made, one must execute the orders promptly, professionally, without reservation, to the utmost of ones ability.  Regardless of personal feelings or obstacles.  Caveats:

- All military members have an obligation to not obey unlawful orders.  "I was only following orders" is not a get-out-of-jail free card.   If you know something is morally or legally wrong, you must have the courage to say "no sir/no ma'am" regardless of the immediate consequences. 

- Much gray area in military operations.  It's nothing like the movies.  If it's not obviously wrong, it's best to execute the orders and then question afterwards.  Much more leeway is granted for discussion in this scenario.  Example:  quibbling over timing and technique.   Just get the job done and talk about it later.

- There is a time and a place for everything.  Immediate action may be required.  Order received, order understood, execute.  

- Knowledge of professional and personal subtleties is vital.  There are many times when questioning is inappropriate or not welcome.  The tone and demeanor used makes a huge difference.

As you know, much of this is true in the civilian community as well.

It requires courage and humility.  Unfortunately, many young people have no sense of decorum or decision making ability because they haven't been taught.  Factor in society's negative attitude towards these qualities, and it's even more of a challenge.  I taught school after I retired from the military.  Interesting days. 

Edited by desertrat77

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I pulled out the Handbook on my shelf (12th edition).  It had this definition of Obedient:

Quote

A Scout is obedient. A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He
obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are
unfair, he seeks to have them changed in an orderly way.

Later, there was a quote on a Scout being Chivalrous.  It had this passage which was a quote from the 1914 handbook:

Quote

He should be obedient to his parents, and show respect to those who are his superiors.

There are other quotes around obey that I could find - mostly having to do with either obeying the Scout Oath & Law or obeying laws.

My take away is that even our printed materials don't make the case that a Scout should obey all adults.  He should respect those who are "superior" - but that's as far as it goes.  If an adult comes along and tells the Scout to do something different on first aid, the Scout needs to show that he/she respectfully considered it, but made a different decision.  This is the lesson I think we teach - we need to respect adults - but not necessarily obey them.

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6 hours ago, T2Eagle said:

Even in the military there is a distinction drawn between lawful and unlawful orders, and my understanding from close relatives who are officers is that there is a lot more questioning and give and take than you would expect if your image is the drill sergeant from boot camp or OCS. 

I've not been in the military but I have many friends who have been or currently are. One thing that is consistent whether they went in as recruits or officers is they tell me that new officers, fresh out of training, may technically be superior in rank to their sergeant (or equivalent)  but in reality especially for that first 6 months (but also after) when they are in it for real they look to that sergeant who is their deputy and who probably has 15 years in both age and experience on them for guidance on how things are really done. And if they don't they are a fool! 

Edited by Cambridgeskip
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On 1/19/2020 at 1:17 PM, qwazse said:

Not to promote stereotypes, but ...

Throughout my life, I've noticed average British youth tend to be a little more reserved than other youth. Simple example: at World Jambo, I struck up a conversation with two young women from Kent who were watching me hang a flag. They had heard that the Indians were giving henna tattoos. I showed them the one they gave me and pointed to their camp, encouraging them to pay a visit. They looked at me sheepishly, and asked me if I would make introductions for them, which I gladly did, and soon they had called to their mates two campsites down, and soon Mumbai's lawn was full of English scouts having a henna party. As the week wore on, these girls became bolder. It's a rare American youth who would feel that  they needed my assistance.

But even our lifesaving instruction usually involves training youth to be firm and directive. It doesn't come naturally.

Not a totally unfair observation! I know that my lot, while quite good natured, can take a little prodding to break the ice. At our last summer camp we were invited by a neighbouring troop for a 1 August breakfast and promise renewal to mark the Brownsea Island aniversary (is this a thing in the USA? It's become quite popular here since 2007), it took a little bit of prodding to get them to mix and mingle a bit.

An interesting observation a friend here made was whether it might be a class thing. Fact is my lot are unashamedly quite middle class given the area we draw from. If you look at sport in the UK the more traditionally working class football (soccer) has a culture of players arguing with the referee. The more middle class games of rugby and cricket you just simply do not argue. To the point in cricket a batsman who is out, and the umpire didn't see it (typically is the slightest contact with the edge of the bat before being caught out) will sometimes walk off the pitch as a point of sportsmanship. Traditionally anyway. You don't see it as much these days!

Personally I'm not convinced its a class thing but thought I'd throw it out there anyway.

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23 minutes ago, Cambridgeskip said:

... Personally I'm not convinced its a class thing but thought I'd throw it out there anyway.

Definitely there are cultural differences. In this town our urban youth tend to be more outgoing than suburban youth. And that is almost to the point where they undermine their own education ... talking back to teachers, treating homework as a suggestion instead of a demand, etc ... On my side of town, the suburbs do represent some flight of the upper classes. But it's not entirely a class difference. There seems to be more of a "children should be (barely) seen and not heard" attitude among suburbanites, where as the urbanites have more of a tradition of kids out on the streets patronizing businesses, etc ...until the streetlights come on.

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1 hour ago, Cambridgeskip said:

I've not been in the military but I have many friends who have been or currently are. One thing that is consistent whether they went in as recruits or officers is they tell me that new officers, fresh out of training, may technically be superior in rank to their sergeant (or equivalent)  but in reality especially for that first 6 months (but also after) when they are in it for real they look to that sergeant who is their deputy and who probably has 15 years in both age and experience on them for guidance on how things are really done. And if they don't they are a fool! 

The best officers I ever served under understood this truth.  Their NCOs were their best teachers and resources for success.

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