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RandyPrice

Does Scouting sometimes cause problems at Home?

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I recently completed my pratical phase of WB. Without going into too many details my Wife wasn't too happy with the entire process. I spoke frankly with all the members of my patrol (go Beavers) and we all were experiencing similar problems (both men and women). It appeared that unless your spouse is involved with Scouting, Scouting cam cause problems at home. What are your experiences. Any remedies? Regards, Randy Price

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I'm about ready to embark on the practical phase (that is, I'm writing my ticket now). While I keep getting drawn to lofty goals, I have to constantly remind myself to not be so ambitious, and keep things reasonable. No single item seems to be too overwhelming, and I think I want to space them out over a full year and a half. Some individual "projects" are projects that I was hoping to do with the troop anyway. I've just now codified them into the ticket.

 

I think my wife understands me -- she knows that this is important for me, and that I would like to Do My Best. At the same time, she is very supportive of the troop and scouting in general (she was a stand-in Cubmaster this last year, for my younger son's pack -- but so far no official involvement with my older son's troop). It helps that she had two brothers that are Eagles.

 

Guy

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Yah, da "one hour a week" can be hard on a spouse.

 

I always tell younger fellas a few things.

 

First is to be sure to share with your wife/husband why you care about scoutin' and working with young people. Talk a lot about your kid, but also about da other kids and your vision and why you think it's worth da sacrifice. Do it often. Share your frustrations and struggles and victories. Your spouse needs to see your scoutin' time as a charity/mission thing rather than as a fishin' trip with da guys.

 

Involve her/him in a few things. Let 'em help out in town, or just have all da other scouters and spouses in your unit over for a BBQ occasionally. If your spouse knows and socializes with da other folks, it's easier. Especially if it gives 'em some buddies to hit da town with when the guys are out in the woods.

 

Save at least as much special, focused time for spouse and family as yeh do for scoutin' - which means to think a bit before sayin' "yes" to any scoutin' thing. Make sure it's really goin' to be a good use of your time and what yeh care about.

 

And every now and then do somethin' to tell da person you're leavin' at home for the weekend that you're thinkin' of 'em. Have flowers delivered while you're backpackin'. Arrange for a romantic Sunday night when yeh get back.

 

Finally, if yeh have both male and female scouters, be alert to those issues, eh? It can be a bit rough for someone at home to imagine their spouse bein' out in da woods regularly with a person of the opposite gender. Especially that person's spouse isn't campin'.

 

Like everything about marriage, it takes work, eh? :) But I've seen some folks wind up on da rocky shoals because of their scoutin', and yeh don't want to be there.

 

Beavah

 

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YES! Over the past 10 years of marriage my wife and I have had our share of "discussions" about Scouting. And she has known how involved I am since we dated as I was a lowly DE when we met.

 

The key is you MUST have balance. You got to say NO from time to time, and you must step away at times, which can be the hardest thing to do.

 

What has helped tremendously is the fact that now my oldest is a Tiger, and at the moment about 1/3 of the scouting stuff I do, he does too. Once I am completely doen with my OA duties, this Dec if not sooner, it will be alot better. But I'm still doing alot of stuff without him, i.e. CS NCS to serve on DC staff, council's CS outdoor committee, etc.

 

On the flip side, she knows the importance of Scouting. She was a Exploring/Venturing leader (at the time of the switchover), has served on a troop committee, and is resigned to the fact that she WILL be a den leader for son #2, she wanted and got a 1950s Den Mother's Uniform for her B-day this past year. ;)

 

EDITED: Beavah give some great advice.(This message has been edited by eagle92)

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What Eagle92 said, you just have to say "no" sometimes. Scouting can get overwhelming, fun, but overwhelming. Skip a campout, or two, or three. Delegate tasks. You don't have to go to every cub meeting, every troop event, every OA event (I have kids in all those). Keep it simple, it benefits you, your family, and the scouts.

 

Balance is the key.

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Balance is truly the key...

 

I cringe every time I have to do something involving scouting that does not involve my children. In your case, Wood Badge is a great example. When I did WB, my wife did not understand the scouting program and my motivation, which led to the sense that she was competing for my time with my ticket item time.

 

When I recently took Powderhorn, I took Beavah's track on things. I carefully explained what I was doing and why I was doing it. I also told her what the program was, and how much time it would take. This worked very well. I got her blessing and encouragement; something I never got during the WB process.

 

That being said, I strictly limit myself to activities that do not include my children regarding scouting. As an example, my son is not in OA, and I do no OA activities though I am a lodge member. I constantly remind myself that my children are the scouts, not me. It is very easy to get caught up in the Scouter activities.

 

I also limit myself to one major event (WB, Powderhorn, PTC, Jambo, etc.) per year. Remember, this is a lifetime activity and there is no reason to overload.

 

good luck

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I learned to say no before Woodbadge.

 

I also planned time before Woodbadge (2006) to keep peace with my family (wife and two sons)

 

We took a long weekend vacation two weeks before, and I missed a few unit meetings to get stuff done around the house. It was a good compromise.

 

I was asked to be on staff in 2008, when I learned what the time committment was I said no. I'd be happy to help one day of one weekend, but didn't want to schedule six months of life around being on the team. Some people thought I was being selfish, but being married 25 years has been great and I want the next 25!

 

The WB SM said a one day worker was not allowed in our Council, so I won't be helping.

 

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I also had that Come to Momma meeting and knew if I didnt change a few things, our family scouting expereince wasnt going to be pleasant. Even my kids didnt want to hear scouting come out of my mouth 24 hours day. They set up rules that I wasnt allowed to talk ANY scouting at the dinner table. I was only allowed one hour on the phone per night. I turned down all training staff positions with a promise that I would get involved after I gave up the SM gig as well as being OA representative for our district. I only skipped one campout a year, but I had to pick either Summer Camp or High Adventure every summer. I had to make sure I left a week every summer for our family vacation. That was harder than it sounds for a SM with an active outdoor program. Once I set these rules for myself, Tamara was supportive and we are still married.

 

Watch out with the promises, the week I handed my SM hat over to the other guy, I had a dozen calls to volunteer for staffs and chairmanships. I think I was more busy then than when I was as a SM, but I spent less time on the phone.

 

Barry

 

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Hi All!

 

Even IF your spouse is involved in scouting with you, it still can drag on your family! Both my husband and I are leaders and WB trained. We both spent several years on staff at WB. He is a Scoutmaster, I am (was) an associate leader in a Venture Crew. Our son just made Eagle and we are both sensing that it is Time to take a step down.

 

What we struggled with as a scout family is that the only family time we had was with whatever activity was going on with the Troop! We didn't have plan family events because there was so much going on with the troop, as this is a very active troop! The other big issue was seeing how the politics that happen within the organization (like every organization) take a heavy emotional toll on our whole family.

 

When it starts to become something that is resented, then it is time to re-evaluate. I heard that there was a survey that said between 3-4 years volunteers start to hit that burn-out phase in what ever they are doing.

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Get your wife to sit on a BOR. My wife has been very supportive of our Scouting activities, which have taken a lot of time from home, but she hadn't actually gotten involved in the Troop. We had a big group of boys needing BORs, so I asked her if she would help out. She reluctantly agreed. When we got home that night, she couldn't stop talking about it. When she finally ran out of steam, I asked if she would be willing to do it again - absolutely, any time! She really enjoyed hearing what the boys had to say, and I think she finally sees the real purpose of the program, and that we aren't just out camping. Granted, she taught most of these boys when they were in 3rd grade, so it might have meant a little more to her than it would to other moms. I still think it would be worth the effort to ask her to participate and see that side of Scouting. I think it will help her see some of your motivations for devoting so much time to Scouting.

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Know your wife. If she's a clinger and rarely lets you out of her sight, any activity that takes you away from her is going to be difficult.

 

If she loves you and supports you, then the right compromises as Beavah described will happen.

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My best advice is to listen to your spouse. My wife knows how much Scouting means to me. She sees the smile that comes to my face when I am with "my boys". She has listened to me.

 

In turn, I do my best to listen to her. I know right now she would not be happy if I took on another job in Scouting. I was recently asked to be Family FOS Chairman for my District. I politely, but firmly, turned it down. Not because it would make my wife mad, but because I promised her I wouldn't. It would have been putting a strain on my family if I were to be gone more than I already am.

 

I always tell my Scouts to prioritize in this order: Faith, Family, School, then Scouts. If we all do that, everything will work out.

 

Ken

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It depends on how you and your spouse view not only the activities and time commitments involved in scouting, but also the other people in your scouting circle. I know that for a while, my husband was really burned out about scouting because he had met and been forced to deal with some real drama queens and kings. He has little patience for idiots and control freaks, even less than I do, and got disgusted with the whole business. He liked the program and the kids - it was the adults he couldn't stand. When we were both leaders (in a dysfunctional pack) it seemed like all we ever talked about was how to handle various problems related to scouting. The same began to be true for a while when I was doing certain district jobs under less than ideal conditions. Sometimes I just wanted to vent or was looking for a neutral sounding board for ideas, but he got pretty sick of hearing it and we both got tired of having all our conversation revolve around scouting. So we don't do that anymore, to the benefit of our marriage I think.

 

Also, just because you have kids in scouts doesn't mean they want to talk or hear about it all the time, either. Barry had good advice there. I've learned to keep my thoughts about scouting (including the many cool opportunities available, which can become overwhelming to kids) to myself most of the time, especially as my son has gotten more into leadership positions in his troop. I'll occasionally share resources, but I am much more choosy about how I do it now, than I was a few years back. Sometimes that means containing my enthusiasm a bit, but that's what it takes to maintain the peace in my house.

 

 

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Between troop, OA, District Committee and training staff, and Church Council, there was a time I was gone 3 nights a week and most Saturdays. Even I didn't enjoy that much. Mostly though, SWMBO was glad to get rid of me and the boys one weekend a month. (yeah, yeah, I hear it..."we can understand that!!!") She was never involved in our Scouting, with the exception of doing a handwashing demonstration with her UV light box (she's a school nurse) for Cooking MB, or cooking brownies for our illegal Pack bake sale raffles. She always said, "that's a male thing."

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being on the other side of things as being the wife involved in the world of scouting and my husband being the one that stays home - it really does depend on your family values and view of scouting.

 

with girl scouts I'm service unit manager and troop leader... with boy scouts I'm a committee member and over see the quartermaster to make sure all supplies are refilled as needed.

 

my husband HATES camping so he's happy that I'm the one out doing that. I would've really rather been coaching my daughter in softball and cheering my son on with wrestling or soccer, but my kids fell in love with scouting. I look at it this way - had I been coaching or having my kids in a sport my time would actually be more stretched.

 

our biggest problem is that I have another activity that also takes a couple of nights of the week away - so I'm basically home wednesday night and then the weekend it just depends on who's camping as to if I'm around.

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