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Parents speaking foreign languages at den meetings

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So, when these two moms are, obviously, talking about someone behind their back, why is it that you do not simply walk over to them and state - CLEARLY -


Excuse me, but talking about someone like this is rude, and un-Scoutlike. I would not do that to you. Please stop.


There is plenty of fault to go around here.


The den leader should stop asking others to do what he does not want to do, and nip the bad behavior in the bud AT the meetings, and then talk to the two families.



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I cannot imagine it being anything more than a case of " We don't know what they are saying and we just don't like it!"


Seriously, the most disruptive thing I have seen at Tiger meetings is the Tigers abundant energy levels...which is actually cool in jmy book! They are so eager to learn, you can't hardly speak without them interupting and asking questions.

Again, that's a cool thing since it means they are interested and they are not too scared to participate.


Now as for the CM splitting the pack....does he really have the authority and power to do this? I'm thinking that this is MAYbe something the committee could do, but really thinking that is something only the COR or CO could do.

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I think I would look for ways to make them feel more involved, rather than focusing on what makes them different. They are Tiger parents, have they led any meetings or otherwise contributed?


The whole problem would go away if everyone knew each other better, I think.

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OK so do you speak Polish?


How exactly do you KNOW they're talking about someone there? Sorry, but this sounds a bit silly: "I don't speak the language & don't know what they're saying, but I'm sure they're saying something rude."


Deal with it by becoming more inviting and open to them. Extend a hand of friendship. Don't exclude them. Then, maybe they'll feel more comfortable interacting with the rest of you.


I guess if you were glaring at me all the time and telling me I couldn't speak my own language with my child & friends, I'd have a few things to say, too. The environment you are describing does not sound as though you're setting the tone to be friendly, helpful, courteous, or kind. In fact, it sounds like something that might happen in a Housewives of ____ episode. Is that what you're aiming for?


(This message has been edited by lisabob)

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Thanks for your opinions, Scoutnut, Sasha, Scoutfish, and Lisabob, backhanded insults and all.


My guess would be that most respondants here have not actually had any experience in this particular matter.


Scoutnut, the CM runs everything. The Chairperson refuses to turn over the reigns to anyone else, not that there is anyone to replace her. I'm sure we could find someone, however. But then she disappears again for a few months, leaving everything up to the CM to run. If he says split the den, so let it be written, so let it be done (in my best Yul Brynner)


Sasha, that's very good advice, thanks. All parents have been asked personally to contribute but have never done anything except show up. Really, in a struggling pack, that would otherwise be good enough.


Lisabob, are you Polish? I find your mild criticism of me out of place. Not very courteous or friendly either. Funny how that works, huh? You missed the point entirely about why it's rude therefore disruptive.


Yes, I speak enough Polish to understand bad words, and references to other women. Fortunately no one else in the den does. I wonder what their multilingual kids think of their catty mothers?


A good example of how speaking foreign languages can be rude (as described by my wife) is how the foreign born men and women at the places she gets her hair and nails done switch into their native language when they want to talk about a customer in front of them. I asked how she was sure of this and my wife said that she joked around with some of these small business owners about it and they plainly admitted that it's exactly what they do. They know it's rude, but they also know there's enough of a grey area in any person's mind not to be able to question it rationally.


One remarked that there's no reason to speak anything but english unless you want to communicate something privately. When done in someone "face" as it were, it's rude.


It does sound a bit paranoid, but body language, facial and hand gestures, and laughing at odd times while looking at someone surely isn't innocent. Especially when the unspoken words are seen on more than one person at the same time. So when the non-Polish speaking moms complained and I listened in a bit, I realized they weren't being silly.


Oh yeah, as far as glaring at the Tiger den goes, it's only been after I've asked them all to quiet down more than once during the Promise, Pledge, or during announcements. It had nothing to with any particular language.


And yes, my wife and I have gone out of our way, both before and after this, to try to be open and welcoming to all of our families, especially those who feel unwelcome. I made it my personal duty to go over to greet these unhappy moms when they arrived, and helped their boys at every meeting so they got special attention. I did this at the expense of the time I could have been with my own son. My wife was there with him, though, so I did what I felt was right.


But the two moms have continued to complain that they feel as outsiders all the while acting like it. Sheesh!


On top of all of this, the CM - being personally close to one of the Polish moms - started asking her what was going on during the Tiger den meetings since he was in another part of the building with the Webelos den. All he got were biased reports of all the things that were wrong, not how well things went since the new den leader took over.


He did this before he spoke with me or the den leaders, undermining the relationships between us. So when I'd call him the next day, he'd give me a tongue lashing about anything that he heard that he felt that was wrong. Now he's doing it to the new den leader who doesn't deserve a bit of it.


It's getting uglier every week and I'm sure a few families are ready to bail out, myself included.


I'm at my wit's end with all of this. Yes, it's a freakin' soap opera that needs to wrap it up.




(This message has been edited by buckytom)(This message has been edited by buckytom)

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So, I'll ask again, when you "listened in a bit" and realized that these two moms were talking, and laughing, about someone behind their back, why is it that you did not simply walk over to them and state - CLEARLY -


Excuse me, but talking about someone like this is rude, and un-Scoutlike. I would not do that to you. Please stop.



They are doing this because you are not calling them on it IMMEDIATELY, and they are getting away with it.


For this, and the other issues your Pack seems to be having, I suggest you call your council and find out who your District Commissioner is. Give him/her a call and ask for some Unit Commissioner support for a Pack in trouble. You should even ask if they have someone who speaks Polish. Unit Commissioners are there to give impartial assistance to your Pack. They can give advice, and act as an intermediary between the den leader and the Polish families, and between the CM and the den leader.


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Sorry Scoutnut, you're correct, I didn't answer that.


Bear with me as I explain: when this all began, I had only been involved (back) in scouting as an adult leader for a few weeks. I signed on to just be an assistant or den leader to share this experience with my son, but was immediately asked to become the Assistant Cubmaster because the current Cubmaster wanted to step down at the end of the year and no one else wanted to step up. I did so reluctantly to say the least. I also took over the running of the Tiger den at the time because the chairperson, who was running the den before, just stopped showing up with no excuse a week or two before we joined in November.


It wasn't very long before I tried to make a few suggestions for improvements (such as having the den leaders keep records and collect the weekly dues and turn them in to a treasurer instead of everything going directly to the CM and Chairperson who kept no records afaik) and was scolded several times by the Cubmaster - and over the phone by the absent chairperson - for trying to "run the pack before my time".


Since I was new, all decisions and any actions that affected the membership had to be cleared with the CM first, right down to the weekly den meeting plans.


So in this light, when the problem began with the Polish moms, I went to the Cubmaster for direction as ordered instead of nipping the problem in the bud like an adult would as you quite correctly recommend.


At the time I was glad I did because I caught enough flak from them for even suggesting there was a problem, as heretofore described.


Anyway, thanks for the info about the Unit Commissioner. I was thinking of finding out who to go to with this, but hoping I could just ride out the ridiculous garbage going on until the end of the year when the CM would hand the reins over to me.


Now I find out he's not leaving as promised, but rather he would become the Assistant CM. I'm sure it's so he can still run things from the wings. He's been in scouting a long time and has a lot of "rabbis" high up in the district and council, so bringing in a commissioner might be a bad idea.


That's why I was hoping for a simple policy answer from the scouts.


My wife wants me to pull our son out and find another pack in a neighboring town. I'm sure there are well run packs around that would welcome a new boy and parents who are willing to be volunteers.(This message has been edited by buckytom)

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It occurred to me just now that no matter if you sympathise with me or think I'm a prejudiced jerk, I hope those of you who have packs and troops that are well run by good volunteers appreciate such.


I will certainly do so, someday.

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I can sympathize with you somewhat. But take this into account. The Polish speakers are still in the minority, sure they are irritating to you, but the situation has become alot worse by focusing on it so much. You'd do yourselves a big favor by learning to ignore people more.Just ignore them if you can't engage them. I've experienced this "talking about you" in a foreign language at the work place...how many times? Yeah it's irritating,especially when you begin to understand the language a little bit, but it's also a blessing not to understand it, and not care about it.It's alot worse if you are in the minority and everyone is speaking another language.Too bad it got to this level you are describing.The best thing is to be fair in assigning duties, have the same expectations for participation in Den activites, exchange civilities with people, hello, good evening,good bye, etc..if you have nothing else in common, just stick with that. It is challenging to have to work and live with people from all over the world.But hey, this is America.

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Let me see, to over hear someone talking about me in engish or polish????? I think I chose polish that way I don't have bad feelings toward them.



I have a couple of questions about how your pack functions and meets. You mentioned a couple of weeks and tiger table. Does the entire pack share a common meeting room on a weekly basis????? If it does I would do everything in my power to find seperate meeting times or spaces. The pack is not supposed to meet in the same room every week, just for pack meeting and special events. Problems like you describe pop up as a result.


Rude people are rude people no matter what they speak, Women will be catty right to each others faces, I have found men will be more discrete.


I work at a large institution and we have many immigrants, they speak all sorts of languages in the public spaces. Yes it creates jealousy and trust issues, yes they are talking about you, I recorded a bit and had a friend interpret what they were saying.


I would handle them just as I would any other rude parent. If they are disruptive, ask them to take the conversation to the hallway. They won't be talking about the other moms any more, I guarantee it.

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Darn, I was hoping that the scouts had a clear policy on this so I could just follow the rules and be done with it.


Actually, there is a clear policy. The rule has been around for decades.


The Cub Scout gives goodwill.


That applies to parents and leaders, also.

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It's a colloquial phrase meant to imply that he has a lot of "friends in high places". You can assign other stereotypical attitudes to the comment as well if you'd like. I'm just going to take it at face value. ;)


So the two women are "obviously" making comments about someone. That's disappointing, but just move on -- acknowledge that the two women are jerks and realize that you don't do scouting for "you", you do it for you son. As long as he's happy, the multiple non-Polish speakers can band together comfortable in the fact that they, at least, do not act like jerks and everyone can be frigidly hostile to each other, engendering further bad feelings.


Or you can just go up and talk to the two women in question. Apologize for the earlier comments and tell them that some of the other women are uncomfortable because it seems that Polish is only used to gossip and hide bad feelings. Apologize for those women and suggest an activity that needs a lot of help, asking the Polish speakers if they would please help, because a lot of work needs to be done. Then go talk to the non-Polish speakers, apologize, ask them to help too. Perhaps, in working together, they'll learn to work together. Either that or they'll learn that they can get the job done without actually working together. Either way, "you win" and you can turn your attention back to the boys, where the focus should be anyway.


It doesn't take a language barrier for a clique to form and for someone to be snide, you know. It also happens in groups of men -- it's not unique to women. I've found that getting people to work together and/or enabling people to show off a "special skill" really helps settle bad feelings, usually.

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