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Parents speaking foreign languages at den meetings

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Am I Polish? Heh - are you Russian?


What the heck does that have to do with anything?


What I am, is astounded at the apparent dislike you are expressing for these women, largely on the basis of their national origin and native language. You didn't frame this as "I have these two parents who talk all the time, how can I better manage this situation?" You framed it as "I have these two women who are not speaking English and it is bugging me."


If the approach you are showing here on this board is at all like the approach your pack leadership and the other parents are using in real life, I am not the least bit surprised that these women don't feel too welcome and have banded together. So far you've accused one of them of having some sort of inappropriate relationship with the CM, you've accused them of talking about you, you've accused them of being rude, insulting, & catty. You've complained that they use their native language to speak to their own children. Now you're insinuating that they must have connections, and you've done so in a way that invokes religious stereotypes as well. Sure, it could also be that these two parents are jerks, themselves, but your pack's approach certainly doesn't seem to be to extend the hand of friendship, either.


People here have suggested multiple ways for you to bridge the divide and work toward a better dynamic, but I don't see you responding at all to any of those good ideas, just adding more complaints about how & why these women are so troublesome. Rather than dealing with people as decent human beings, you run looking for some BSA policy that you can use to enforce your views. It makes me think you don't really want to improve the situation, after all.


You say you want to end the soap opera drama? Well start with your own words and actions.


And that's not a back handed insult, that's my plain-spoken view based on what you've written. Don't ask for input if you really don't want it, you know?








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There's no point in arguing this anymore since a few of you want to make me out to be the bad guy. I was in the middle of a difficult situation and came here for help. What I got was some really good advice, and some people who wanted to try to express interesting albeit inexperienced opinions, trying to make a soap opera here as well. Silly me, I first thought I was just not explaining myself well.


The policy I was hoping for could have gone either way as far as I knew, so in that I was hoping to be able to tell either group of moms very plainly that this is THE scout rule and has to be abided.


Just an fyi, my wife and all of my neighbors that I love like family are Polish, so there goes your theory that I'm prejudiced (it's not a race, so it wouldn't be racist).


I have to say that I'm really surprised at the lack of good will here. Scoutfish and Lisabob, are you two really proud of how nasty you can be? That's un-scout like imo.



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Oh, sorry if offended anyone with the rabbi reference, I work in TV and it's an old expression from the job that means having influential, powerful friends. I realize now that it was a bad word to choose looking back at how some of you are mistakenly judging me.


I'm not upset with those who've attacked me here. I understand it's difficult for some people to find out they have an opinion that is based on little or no experience.

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First off...In your original post, you made plenty of references to the moms being polish. Not just being loud or dissruptive. You plainly stated the problem was that they spoke ina language that the Non Polish speaking COULD NOT UNDERSTAND. Yet you confirmed that they were being talked about hatefully.


The purpose of this?


You say the Polish ( not Poles, by the way anymore than Japanese are Japs!) Are "suddenly a problem this year. You mean since you became an ACM?


As for little experience:


You mean with diverse backgrounds? I have a huge lifetime of the most diverse friends and family you can imagine( Colombian, German, French, Scandinavian, English, Romanianetc..and that's just bloodline, not even accounting for marrage.


Scouting rules? You are the one looking for a rule to squash people from talking because a hsandfull of moms got paranoid.


Or in general? Working with or living around or just plain interactting with people?


Or position? I an a CM who was a ADL who was a volunteer parent before that. I was asked by my pack to become CM as I just happen to get along with EVERYBODY...including the 2 Indian ( from India, not Native Amnericans),the one Jewish,the 3 Asian ( sorry, could be Korea, Japan, or China) one Russian, and one who is from the Phillipines.


Funny, you say that having no idea about us?


Un scoutlike?


Umm? Who is trying to silence people here? Not I or Lisabob.


Nasty? Who called the moms speaking in Polish "rediculous Garbage " ?




And then what? You gonna act very "scoutlike" and kick the moms out because you know "some" Polish? and because they do not speak "the right language"? Are you going to tell them to speak English or else?



"Yes, it's a freakin' soap opera that needs to wrap it up"


WEll, we definantly agree on this one!


Again, just because we didn't agree with - it doesn't make our statemenst any less valid. And as far as attack, you are the one basically saying : "If you do not agree with me, you are idiots who know nothing."


Yes, very scoutlike indeed.


I bet as soon as you become CubMaster and take ahold of "the reigns" things will just become peachy keen at "Pack English only".



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Yep! You got me to rights!


Called me out , plain and simple.


I guess I see the light now. Next leaders meeting, I , as the CubMaster, will tell al leaders that we are going to discipline or remove any parent for speaking anything other than English.


Mater of fact, I will specifically and enthusiastically call out each ethnically differt person, explain how their talking so as I cannot understand it is "rediculous garbage" and I will not stand for it. I do hold the reigns afterall.


So what if we have 3 Indian( that's from India, not Native Americans , by the way) 2 Phillipino, 1 Korean, and 1 German descnded scout in my pack.


And since I am of German, Columbian, English, Romainian , Scandinavian, and Italian bloodlines...I know exactly what I am talking about. I am practically Hexalingual!



So how's that? Would that make me more scoutlike?

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I apologize because I haven't read the other responses but perhaps a rule that parents shouldn't chat in ANY language because it disrupts the boys' concentration could help.


Maybe set the boys up at different stations and require their partner to sit with them and then seat the boys near other boys whose moms aren't friends with their moms.


Maybe learn how to say "Please be quiet, you're disrupting the meeting" in Polish or ask the moms to teach the boys the scout promise or whatever in Polish...


The thing that bothers me is not the chattering in foreign languages. I ride the NYC subway regularly and it's a done deal that many people chat in LOTE. The thing that bothers me is the rudeness of chatting at all during a meeting.

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Ok, my last words on this.


I never once said I wanted to squash, crush, or in any way prevent anyone from being happy in the pack. If you've actually read my responses and what I've done to try to make things better for everyone involved, not incorporating some of the replies into the reality of what's actually happening here, you might see that.


I realize now I should have never mentioned the specific ethnicities involved because it doesn't matter.


As far as mentioning experience goes, I meant that the few who've gone out of their way to try to make it seem like I was the problem, not the disagreeable parents, I would maintain that it appears they have never been in a situation very similar to my particular conundrum. I'm sure you have a wealth of experience in other ways.

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I'd like to apologize for some of the non-advise thrown at you by a few of our board members. Political correctness isn't always so sensitive. There is a lot going on in the world right now that would put a certain mindset in a cranky mood.

(Not meant to be a topic for 'Issues and Politics'. Meant to be a caveat for bad behavior.)


Is your meeting room large enough to separate the Chatty Cathy's from the center of your Tiger meeting? If the separatists want to gab about whatever in the corner, it would be less in the faces of the other parents.


Another tact to consider is having the Cubmaster quietly observe a meeting where the mom's are being disruptive. I really don't think your Cubmaster understands the impact these ladies are having as described in your original post. No Cubmaster wants to lose 6 families in order to keep 2 families, 'friends' or not.


Finally, in a less constructive vein, three or four Tiger helpers could make up a language of your own. (I understand that Klingon is particularly gravelly to learn) Make a point to talk over the Chatty Moms while they're being garrulous in Polish, and laugh.

I can't see them getting upset with you, because you were only doing to them exactly what they were doing to you. At least they'll be in a better position to understand how they were making the rest of you feel.


Good Luck!



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I certainly can imagine the situation you describe, where everyone else is convinced that yes, the mothers are breaking into Polish when they want to make some private critique of someone. It's not a scene that makes for anyone feeling welcome.


Anyone have a smartphone? Record the conversation at a meeting - just set your phone on 'record' before you walk in and leave it that way for the whole meeting. Get someone to translate for you (there must be an app for that :-) That could at least settle the question of what's being said. Or heck, just bring in a big ol' tape recorder, make it obvious to the parents, and see if that settles people down :-) [Yes, I can imagine this going wrong in so many ways...but hey, if you can't have fun messing with people's minds, why did you sign up to be a leader (more smiley faces here)]


The problem here is that both parties feel aggrieved at the moment. Hence my original comment on the need for a skilled arbitrator. Everyone needs to feel like they are being heard. My first suggestion would be to sit with each set of people and listen. Just listen. Maybe ask a few clarifying questions, and listen to their answers. People are so much more likely to look for compromise when they know that someone is listening to their concerns.

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That's a good idea, but make it really obvious, even more obvious than a tape recorder -- bring in a video camera (to record the boys of course). Then burn a DVD for each boy so they have a permanent record of the activity. You can buy a pack of 100 DVD's for only $25-$30 or so. Maybe give one of the separatists the job of videoing the group, so that they're too busy to chat much. ;)

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Anyone have a smartphone? Record the conversation at a meeting - just set your phone on 'record' before you walk in and leave it that way for the whole meeting.

Check your state's wiretapping laws before following advice like this. Some states prohibit such recordings unless all parties to the conversation are informed. Other states only require the consent of one participant.

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