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OldGrayOwl

I Have More Important Things to Do

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Yah, part of our Scoutin' ministry often is ministering to da parents, eh?

 

I've certainly known plenty of dads like Ohio_Scouter; guys who worked construction and were sometimes gone from their family for months. Those have a different attitude. They're apologetic and supportive, and almost never a problem. They're grateful, and if they can help or you need something short-term, they move mountains.

 

I agree with Calico. This guy is perhaps more a "sad, little man." But yeh don't know. Financial stresses, family tensions, care of an ill relative, etc. can really impact people and make 'em into people they would never want to be.

 

Yeh say he's a Sunday School teacher? Is the church your CO? I'd consider callin' up the COR or IH or youth ministry director, and lettin' him/her know that there's tension in that family, and there might be an opportunity to reach out. You probably can't do that as SM, eh? It's too much high-stakes poker. But a well-respected pastor/rabbi/imam can.

 

In the meantime, may the Great Master of all Scouts be with you for da care of His Children.

 

Beavah

 

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OGO,

 

Still trying not to judge the father yet, although it's becoming more and more difficult with each bit of new information you proffer...maybe he doesn't know how to camp, who knows?

 

Anyway, does this scout have any other adults in his family (older brother, uncle, etc.) who could accompany him on a troop campout?

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Yeah, I just had one of those. Dad's a rgg (really good guy) to hang out with. He just doesn't want to spend time with his kids. I don't know why, and I'm not going to try and guess. He felt obligated to go camping (self-imposed, we didn't force the issue on him), but really didn't want to take the time out of his life to do it. Just before Christmas, his son came to a troop meeting in tears telling us that he had to quit. Very frustrating! And very, very sad.

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"For those that responded with comments like "too many mommies and daddies on a campout undercut the program", I agree, but when the son comes to me and asks if it would be OK for his dad to join us on a camping trip, is how this got started in the first place. "

 

OGO, in that context I can understand your frustration abit more. We've had our share scouts that have had parents that basically drop them off and pick them up. Sometimes not even that. For those of us involved with our kids, it's hard to even fathom how some of the other parents think.

 

SA

 

 

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"How about a bit of both, GW?

 

"I think it is also good for the boys to see their parent(s) being a bit more kid like than alwas to 'adult'."

 

I just read a column in the paper in which the columnist commented on how when we were kids, the kids did kid things and the adults did adult things. The subject was sports but it can be applied to Scouting or ballet or drama club.

 

 

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Looking back to when I was a Scout.

My parents were not involved with the Troop or any of the Scouting activities that I participated in.

Of course this was in a different time in a different country. At that time in that place parents were not feel very welcome.

But to be honest as a kid, I didn't want them there.

My time with the Scouts was my time!

The last thing I wanted was to be under the watchful eye of a parent.

My Dad was a very busy man, he owned several businesses, never camped a day in his life. He was happy to support my Scouting by providing the funds I needed, when asked he would help the Troop with cash.

I loved both my parents very dearly but when it came to Scouting I Had More Important Things to Do! And didn't want them there.

Ea.

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Well said E! My dad would always volunteer to provide transportation to and from campouts (we had a station wagon which I called 'the hearse'), but with 5 other kids at home, that's all he could do. And I was fine with that.

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As I mentioned earlier you have to make sure that the things you ask parents to do are within their whelm of understanding and comfort level.

 

Something I would also note concerning the scout asking if his dad could come is that, diffently if this is a younger scout, maybe there are issues that the scout is not fully aware of.

 

We have 1 scout in our troop who currently refuses to go camping without his dad. He assumes that any campout that he wants to go on his dad will be able to attend and informs the adult leadership of that. However, sometimes dad is actually busy and doesn't have a full weekend to dedicate to a campout or activity.

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I have a corollary that I have found very annoying. Parents rarely, if ever, read e-mail or website updates done days in advance of my den or troop meeting. So I could expect this interruption:

 

Parent: "I didn't have time to read you e-mail. {CAN YOU STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR SCOUT MEETING AND} Tell me what you wrote."

 

Me: Sorry, no. { I have more important things to do }

 

 

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As a 70's Scout, I really don't remember parents being involved in our Troop, except a SM whose son was in the Troop. Most of the adults leadership were former Scxouts from the troop, the SM who just finished his hitch in the military, thr ASM, several CM's. No real parents. Some of the aprents would help when asked, but I don't remember most of them even driving on campouts. Usually the SM was a late 30-50'sh person. The Council people seemed to be 40-60's.

 

The one dad that I remember being involved in a Troop at a leader level had a blind Eagle son. The dad was also involved in OA and took us to NOAC '75.

 

I remember my father helping by mapping out a 50 miler for the Troop, but not being real active otherwise.

 

Sometimes now, I feel it is better with less parent involvement as leaders, especially SM's and ASM's. I would rather have either the young go getting late 20-30 married childless set that can associate with the kids, or the late 40-50 crowd whose kids have run through and are out of the program. At least they are usually impartial to all the Scouts and are not there with the objective of making sure their own Scout is taken care of. The above mention, if they are Scouts that are now Scouters because they want to be, I'm fine with that.

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Hello,

part of our program is to let the scout do things away from the supervision, observation or whatever of his parents.

The parents drop their boy off and put them in the care of the SM (or ASM) and that's it.

 

best regards,

Volker

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OGO,

It sounds like to me that the parent in question wants you and the scouting movement to be a babysitter for him.

 

Has he ever said "I appreciate the work that you are doing with my son, and he seems to be coming along fine" or something to that effect?

 

 

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Well the phrasing of this parent's response seems a bit unfortunate. There are plenty of potential reasons to give the guy the benefit of the doubt and suppose it just came out wrong.

 

But then some people are just jerks and/or should never have had kids. I feel really badly for their children. To be honest, you and the boy might be better off without him there, if he fits in this category. He won't know what to do with himself and he won't be interested in figuring it out if he does come along. He'll be checking his text messages the whole time, except perhaps when he's berating his kid for something he (rightly or wrongly) supposes the boy is doing wrong. The boy may want him to come out of a yearning for a better father-son relationship like he sees some of the other boys and their dads modeling at scout events, but reality might be that it wouldn't work that way for this boy and father, and he could end up feeling far worse if dad did get guilt-tripped into coming along against his will. If "dad" fits this model, maybe the best thing you can do for the boy is help him learn to be ok about the fact that dad isn't there at the camp outs. Help him maintain respect for his dad even if the man isn't doing an ideal job and is better off left at home (he's still "dad" to this boy after all). And help him develop close mentoring relationships with another special adult or two in the troop as well.

 

 

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