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Beavah

What is hazing?

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Beavah possibly you would have laughed with me, except I wasnt laughing and no one was cheering me in a good way, just the cheers you get when a tray is dumped in a crowded cafeteria and comments as to how absolutely stupid I was

 

I may have had a singular event. Not all people may have reacted I did. I did not fare well as a youth. I took my fathers advice and popped the neighborhood bully in the nose and got the stuffing knocked out of me. Drives me crazy when I hear about the best way to deal with a bully is to stand up to him. Didnt work for me, I would never give that advice. I was the target of abuse and humiliation until I got big enough to beat the tormentors. I promised to protect others, I could just as well have said the only way to get along to inflict the same amount of pain others have inflicted on me.

 

You take your chances and see what happens

 

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OGE,

 

I was tormented as well and the one time I did pop the bully in the mouth he got 3 friends (all 2 years older and had 30 pounds more me) and beat me up. Dean of boys dragged us all in and I was lectured for not getting along and they got away with it. All I learned was to acquire friends who were big and hoodlums. Traded helping with school work for protection I guess. So yeah I hate bullies to this day and have stood up at work and got fired for it. So I have no tolerance for physical bullying; however by no means I do not have other blind-spots.

 

I am aghast that they left you for more than 10 or 15 minutes much less all night. That was a pretty bad story.

 

 

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I alsways thought telling a kid to stand up to a bully was more about teaching him not to let anybody push around even if you end up getting a beating and less to do with gettin the other kid to stop, cause honestly the bully ain't stopping with out a serious beating.

 

 

Hazing is going o be tough to pin down and some people are overly dramatic about the whole thing.

 

For instance the Don Imus thing a couple years ago, he screwed up no question but one of the women said that what he said was "The worst thing that had ever happen to her" and there were other comments like that. Look I get it hurt but it wasn't the worst thing she had ever eperianced. She was just being overly dramatic cause she got attention for it.(This message has been edited by Renax127)

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OGE, old friend, I am in no way condoning what was foisted upon you as a young Scout. I was only speaking to my own experience, and believe me, when I joined scouting, I was a fat, bookworm mamma's boy and had already had endured 11 years of bullying and ridicule. Through Scouting, I achieved three 50-milers and became an expert canoeist, swimmer and Lifesaving instructor, much to my Dad's amazement who didn't think I was capable of becoming a "real man". Now, I'm a 57 year old fat bookworm, and still endure daily comments from the ignorant (like the gate guard who calls me "big guy" every morning...wonder if he would be offended if I called him "black guy" or "ugly guy"?). I've learned to ignore and more recently, pray for them, but the faint sting is still there. For what you experienced, I blame the SM for a)not enforcing the buddy system (even in the 60's we knew about it) and b)going to bed without making sure all of his Scouts were in their tents and accounted for. During my unit scouting career as an adult, we didn't propagate those "traditions", although I will confess to being a ruthless "swim checker" (since I view it as a critical safety issue).

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PappaDaddy you said:

 

"Personally, I thought snipe hunts were great fun...on both sides of the burlap sack."

 

My story is about a snipe hunt that was decidely not fun "on both sides", that was the reason I posted it.

 

I have been thinking about this topic, and if upfront the prospective troop members and parents/guardians are told, if you lose stuff and we find it, you will be singing to get it back and they join. Then I expect they will be singing for lost items. They knew the rules when they joined. If a troop says hey, we have some real pranksters in the group so watch your step because you may end up with your shorts up the flag pole or something like that and they join, then they should not be surpised to find themselves duct taped to their cot some morning

 

If you accept the terms of the group, then you accepted them, but they should be known

 

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Fair enough.

 

In our Troop the singing thing seems a vestige of the older smaller Troop and the older guys do it sometimes. I guess it would be the SPL's call with the SM approval and would abide by that. OGE is right that it is wrong to just spring it on them and inconsistently apply them. As to "pranks" I find them a pain and notice a few boys (usually the bullies, even if cheerful bullies) tend to do most of them and tend to target the same boys so I view it as bullying.

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While I personally feel we overreact to much of this stuff, and call it something it really isn't, we still need to be careful. And part of that comes down to us as leaders knowing a boy well enough "before" subjecting him to possible embarrassment and emotional or physical discomfort. This is especially true of new boys. "If" you decide to do a snipe hunt, you need to try to assure that the joke recipient(s) will not be overly upset with the possible outcomes. You also need to make sure that the final resolution "does not" result in the type of thing noted by OGE. That really was on the adult leaders, as they either used poor judgment, or worse, somehow lost track of a scout.

 

The last snipe hunt we had, I made sure that all participants, those that knew, and those that did not, or thought they did, understood this might lead to some embarrassment, and also let them know they did not "have" to participate. One opted out, so he just sat and watched. Later, he was disappointed he had not joined in.

 

Always that fine line. And we, as leaders, need to be particularly aware of what is going on so we can interject ourselves if necessary to tone it down, making sure it stays within common sense bounds.

 

JMHO as an "Old Guy"

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Hazing can have a lifelong impact.

 

Beavah I believe you are totally missing the mark here. This isn't about character building or team building or even toughening somebody up. OGE's experience, as I read it, is about singling somebody out for a particular prank, and laughing not WITH him, but AT him.

 

If that were to happen to OGE today I suspect his response would be quite different. But as a boy it is also quite different.

 

I was the first kid in my class to reach 100 pounds. I endured hazing as a youth because of my weight even though looking back I was not fat by any means. Yet I was always the "fat kid" and, as one quick to get emotional about things...well, let's just say it did not go well. More than 30 years later I still see the "fat kid" in the mirror even though I am 6' tall and 165 pounds.

 

Get the point? What constitutes hazing is defined by the victim of hazing. This is not super-sensitivity or "getting offended" about different things people do as a natural course to their lives. Hazing arises out of actions on the part of the perpertrator that are NOT necessary for the social interactions in which they occur.

 

There may be cases where you know the subject of a prank or hazing will be a good sport about it. But unless and until you know that, it is best to avoid it and for adults to prohibit it.

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Jumping to statements of felony, accusations and reprehensible is not what this discussion is about. Abuse is a description of an action. Not of scope or legal interpretation.

 

...

 

A good example is a 30 year friend of mine. He's fun to be around and will bend over backwards to help a friend. I remember taking a job 1600 miles away with two days notice. He dropped everything so that he could help me drive the moving can cross country. He was a real life saver. But as I tell my wife, I feel sorry for women he dates and employees under his leadership. He plays mind games with people that belittle and disrespect the other person to make his point. Guess what, it's abusive behavior. I've told him. Others have too. It's not criminal. It's just a big character flaw. He's generally a great guy if you can deal with it. But, it's absolutely abuse.

 

And, if anything ever happened to my wife and me, I would definitely not trust him to raise my kids. He might be able to show them the world and keep them safe, but I fear I would not like the type of people they might become.

 

I have another 25 year friend who greets everyone with a smile and a handshake. He's kind, friendly and helpful. People naturally go to him because of the example he sets. I trust him implicitly and I would be very proud if my kids grew up to be like him.

 

...

 

If it is "known in advance and consistently applied", then I agree it's not as bad. But it's only effective if the person is successfully humiliated. So they know in advance they would be humiliated as a punishment.... I'm not sure there's a difference. I just don't want that taught as leadership in any of my units.

 

And it's hard to keep it fair and balanced. The SPL who hands stuff back to a friend but grabs early the stuff of a scout he regularily picks on. (seen that happen)

 

I agree scouts can be filtered through and damage can be mitigated. But why go that direction at all? There's other things you can do.

 

...

 

Yes, "singing as punishment" is not a huge issue. It's small. I would never suggest revoking unit charters or banning people from scouting because of it. In my mind, it's a small example that reflects a larger style of what we teach in our scouts. I just don't think leaders should play mind games with those trusting them. And yes, it's abuse. Very small, but abuse.

 

As a manager, that's the hardest lesson to learn. The manager doesn't have to be the alpha-dog or the subject matter expert. His role is to build trust and relationships so that the team can be successful.

 

...

 

If you want to toughen and challenge a kid, try a two day canoe trip in 40 degree weather where it rains the whole trip. Getting thru that builds character. No humiliation or tricks needed. A few good fire starters help though.

 

 

 

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"We are building men, kind, honest, courteous men, but still men in all its unpolished forms."

 

I agree. DO that. There are good ways to build men. Singing, hazing, or whatever euphemism you want to call it doesn't build kind, honest or courteous men.

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FScouter we will have to agree to disagree. I will ask my wife the great arbiter of moral wisdom for her opinion. And I will ask the other Scouters and SPL as well.

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Fred the difference between that friend of yours and other people is the intent.

 

Your friend purposely and intentionally acts that way because he gets off on it or seeing others in anguish makes him feel god.

 

He does it with malicious intent.

 

Now, I can tell you a story about one of my freinds:

 

Way , way back in the day, we went to a bar on the beach to play a game of pool and possibly sample a alcoholic beverage or two. So we walk in the bar, and my friend says: "Hey, there is Brandy."

He then walks up behind her, puts his hands on her waist and say something along the lines of " Hey baby - how about we go get a room?"

 

And I swear to you, it looked like Brandy from behind. No, not favor her, not seem like her, but loooked exactly like her in the color of her hair, hair style, height, weight ( as far as I can tell) style of clotinmg and the stance she had.

 

It was soooo not Brandy. Naturally, she was offended, took insult and felt she was being sexually hit on.

 

And I don't blame her. But even though it appeared that way from her standpoint, my friend was only warmly and jokingly greeting a friend of ours in a sincere and funny way.

 

His only crime was just being dumb enough to do sometinmg like that without being sure of who he was talking to.

 

Now suppose we had 100 scouts gather around and took a survey. IF the survey asked how they felt about being the victem in a snipe hunt, and what emotions they felt afterward.

 

Suppose 99 of the 100 boys said it did not bother them and they had no negative feelings....would it still be hazing?

 

And vice versa, if 99 felt it was hazing, can we say the one scout is mentally flip flopped?

 

I say it depends on who the victem is, who the perpetrators were, and what the intentions were behind it.

 

Back when I was on the fire dept, after a new person joined, we had themm stand up on a chair and sing ( to the best of their ability) "I'm a fireman, that's my name" by ...ummm..whoever it was that sang it.

 

WE all cheered and clapped afterward, patted the guy on the back and would always say : "Don't quit youyr day job."

 

WEre we hazing> Nope!

 

And zI will tell you why: Because we did not do it to embarass or humiliate. We did not do it to cause hurt feelings . We were not malicious in our intent.

 

Simply put, we wrer just a little bit ( well , alot) to redneck to get all dressed in uniform or suit and tie and hold a formal joining ceremony.

 

It also showed the casual atmosphere of a bunch of people who felt like family.

 

 

Again, the intent means everything. And we also did not make yoistand on a chair, but encouraged in a friendly way.

One lady said she could stand on a chair in front of us because she might puke! WE said thanks for warning us and clapped her on the back ansd welcomed her just as much as we welcomed anybody - even though she didn't do it.

 

And that's the difference between hazing and just a fun initiation : We didn't requiore or force it, and it wasn't for malicious reasons.

 

 

OGE, I am not saying that you should get over, or feel different about what happened to you. Never implied it either. Personally, I look at what it is we want to do, why we want to do it (meaning what we expect out of it) and who it is being done to.

 

I do not make it a one size fits all definition because peoiple are not a one size fits all group.

 

Each person veiws, and takes things differently.

 

 

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One more thing.....APO defines a scavenger hunt as hazing also.

 

REALLY? A scavenger hunt?

I call that out as a mislabeling of what something is: If I send a new employee out to find a board stretcher, a sky hook, a (insert term here) to play a joke on him m- I can see where it might be considered hazing based on the intent of sending him out ( again - was it to embarass or welcome ).

 

But a real scavenger hunt isn't hazing,. It's about fun and adventure and discovery and sometimes teamwork. It';s about meeting a challenge and sometimes discovering yourself and your ability.

 

But I suppose that there is the person who just sucks at scavenger hunts. Maybe they feel embarsees that they aren'ty good at scavenger hunts.

 

Then that person decides that they are hazing. Because it's all about them and nobody else.

 

Shoot! I bet if that person can't successfully earn rank in scouting or doesn't do well in a BOR or EBOR...they might just call that hazing too. And then the ever vigilant pre lawsuit deflecting action team can convince BSA to drop the whole notion of rank, BOR's of any time or even having requirements that must be met.

 

Uniform inspection ? I don't think so! You might embarass somebody who isn't in full uniform .

 

Rank requirements? Uh-uh! Somebody might get mad or upset that they didn't meet all of them or fell just short! Now they are feeling singled out and humiliated when they don't have the same rank patch as the rest or when they don't get recognized at a COH.

 

Where does it stop?

 

Just saying, don't try to include every instance or use a blanket statement.

 

 

 

 

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Tampa Turtle, I learned a different lesson and it works with adults as well. You don't just pop someone in the mouth. If you are going to do something, first there can be absolutely no threats up front. Second, you can give absolutely no warning that something is about to happen. And finally, if you really ARE going to do this, you cannot hesitate or think twice - no measured response. You have to 'unload the entire clip', so-to-speak, and leave the person unable to respond. Make sure that in the future they will wonder if and when something like that could happen again.

And as a followup, most persons who do get bullied or picked on have trouble dealing with the guilt, afterwards, for what they have done to a fellow human being. You have to be ready to deal with this and as well to prepare for whatever further consequences are going to occur. Remember, in taking this action you have decided that there are no other alternatives and this is a last resort. You'll only get one chance to 'express' yourself. Do it as completely and devastatingly as possible. Or don't do it at all. But I guess you learned that already.

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