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dfolson

a prank, or hazing?

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I find the use of the word "prank" in this thread (by Beavah and others) to be troubling. It is a very vague term, and can be used to refer to a very wide range of behavior, that can have a wide range of results, from the truly harmless to the emotionally damaging to the physically dangerous or even lethal. Saying that there is nothing wrong with a prank, or that pranks are not prohibited, is meaningless without a description of the actual conduct you are talking about.

 

I would say two other things:

 

1, If the SOLE purpose of an act is to trick or deceive or humiliate another person, especially someone who is "new" or younger or smaller or etc., it has no place in Scouting. If you want people to laugh, tell some funny stories around the campfire so everybody can join in. (Although the recently-discussed list of topics you can't deal with in campfire skits kind of cuts down on that. I still want to know whether the "important papers" skit is banned now.)

 

2, If a swim test creates the kind of bad feelings that Beavah describes, I'd say you probably aren't doing it right.

 

By the way, I am happy to see from dfolson that it all turned out to be nothing. Of course, that doesn't really affect this discussion, as this forum has had many, many threads about nothing.(This message has been edited by njcubscouter)

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I am happy to see from dfolson that it all turned out to be nothing. Of course, that doesn't really affect this discussion, as this forum has had many, many threads about nothing.

 

Yah, that's da truth, eh? ;)

 

Once again, our group has started with a situation that was really nothing and turned it into a tale of woe and mayhem which existed only in our own mind. Nobody disagrees that "If the SOLE purpose of an act is to trick or deceive or humiliate another person" with malice of forethought it has no business in Scouting. Honestly, though, incidents like that are quite rare.

 

A good campfire skit often tricks or deceives. So does a challenging orienteering course or a patrol that wins Capture the Flag. Swim checks even "done right" can humiliate a sensitive kid whose estimation of his own ability was higher. Da issue is the thing being done with malice of intent.

 

I just don't think we should assume malice in every case. A few lads talkin' about the evening might bat a lot of things around, eh? What they may really be planning is a wonderful night of camaraderie in the woods that is a true Scouting Kodak moment, as dfolson describes. A comment taken out of context should be taken in the best light, eh? Not in the worst. Folks who see da worst are usually only seein' a reflection of themselves.

 

Even when things don't work out as well, in da overwhelming majority of cases, we have kids learnin' about how to be a better person. Lots of things are appropriate when done to friends, but may be inappropriate when done to younger lads who still view yeh as a stranger. Pranks can be that way, eh? So can other things like "Shut up Joe and just clean the pot!" ;) In such cases the error is simply one of not appreciatin' different perspectives. An older lad treatin' a younger one as a friend and fellow scout might be too gruff for the younger fellow. That's not bullying/hazing/abuse, that's just a chance for both to learn about how to relate to others. It's our bread and butter in Scouting.

 

When I was a young lad at a camp, we had a counselor who was built like a linebacker. One day at a swim activity, the counselor got to throwing lads into the water. It was one of the most amazin, fun things I remember from camp that year. He wasn't one of our Fat Scoutmaster crowd, eh? ;) He had da strength to loft us. It was so much fun. Then up came Patrick O'Malley. A more shy, timid lad. OK swimmer, but not the best. Patrick finally screwed up the courage to join in the fun, and in a moment of enthusiasm or because Pat was a lighter fellow, the counselor really launched him. We all cheered, but it was more than Pat was ready for, and led to fright and tears and humiliation. Yeh could imagine Pat later on tellin' a tale like OGE's about how everyone cheered and hooted at his pain/embarrassment, how he never trusted the boys who talked him into tryin' it or camp counselors ever again. Just like OGE's case, mistakes were made; he was launched too enthusiastically when the counselor should have played it more gently. But it was an innocent mistake, eh? An easy one to make when all da rest of the lads wanted to go higher and farther.

 

Let's not confuse innocent mistakes or words taken out of context for acts of malice. And let's try to avoid silly blanket statements about deceiving always being wrong. Otherwise I'm never goin' to be allowed to bluff my way through the next poker hand. ;)

 

Edited to add...

 

Now Oak Tree, do I get credit for gettin' this one right? ;)

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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LOL. :) Nah, always stayed far away from that political stuff myself. Of course, when talkin' about a third party, I reckon the passive voice is da correct grammatical choice. Leastways my old English teachers used to tell me that. ;).

 

Eh?

 

 

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Ok, I'll put on my best teacher persona and try to hand out credit.

 

The question hasn't been all that clearly asked, as we've demonstrated, so I'll make up my own idea of what the question was.

 

"In the given scenario, is this likely to develop into something that requires Scoutmaster action or are the Scouts likely to have a good result among themselves?"

 

Full credit to Beavah for arguing that the Scouts are fine in this situation.

 

"Provide a general framework for making such distinctions."

 

Full credit to Beavah based on his above post. Hard to argue with anything there.

 

"Provide an argument for this specific case that will be effective at convincing others of your point of view."

 

Partial credit on this one. The ongoing discussion and method of making the points seemed to create a little bit of a backlash.

 

Now, since I'm in teacher mode, and I can hand out passes or not, I'll deal with OGE's request: I find it disquieting that we give someone a pass who totally misrepresented what another person said

 

I'm actually going to hand out passes all around on this one. Forum members have to respond to what they perceive the other person to be saying. All readers are able to read the posts and make their own interpretation. Posters frequently take someone else's point and grab on to a more extreme variety of the point being made. Yes, it would be good to try to assume everyone else is being reasonable, but I'd rather focus on the ideas being discussed rather than whether or not we are accurately capturing what each other has said.

 

And lastly, on Beavah's point that he loves talking about issues, but not about people:

 

Half-credit on that one. Looking back through Beavah's posts to find the quotes I included above, I was struck by how those quotes were a distinct minority. So there is a great majority of the posts that do discuss issues.

 

But I took off forthe fact that there were indeed a number of posts where he did discuss other posters, at least to a small extentthe fact that the claim was insistent that he did not do this.the way the argument was presented in some of the posts on this thread - telling OGE that "Carryin' that type of anger and emotion for decades is not normal or healthy." While strictly speaking, this is talking to someone, and not about someone, it's also not a discussion of the idea being presented; it is a discussion of the person who is presenting the argument.

 

So yes, Beavah, you get credit for getting this one right. It's too bad that someone with your discernment and writing ability didn't get the point across without antagonizing others. Are you really arguing with Twocubdad, one of the most reliably reasonable posters on the board? And do you really want to maintain that you never talk about other people?

 

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Well, thanks there Oak Tree. ;) Of course, I reckon I was joshin' about gettin' the issue right, not the discourse. And was joshin' in a rhetorical way, eh?

 

I get that yeh enjoy talkin' about me. Who wouldn't? I'm a cute furry critter. :) Ordinarily, though, I'd take a pass on that because I just don't think it's good for da forums. Better if yeh have personal feedback to approach me privately on any of the issues yeh mention. In the very few cases yeh found where I offered personal criticism in a public post, I assure yeh I offered it in private first. But for just this once, I'll bite and offer my perspective.

 

Let's wander back toward the start of da thread, eh?

 

My first post was to support jblake and Scoutfish. My claim was "There are lots of ways to do pranks right, to make 'em fun experiences and learn all about the Oath and Law and each other. There are [also] a few ways to do 'em wrong,". OGE posted his story at the same time, and it popped in just before my response. My guess is that odd timing made folks like TwoCubDad feel like I was respondin' to OGE when in fact I hadn't seen his post.

 

OGE's response to me was a set of snide remarks and potshots. Yep, I did spend a short line or two suggestin' that carryin' that kind of emotion around for so long isn't healthy, before goin' on to clarify the point I was tryin' to make. I have made da same suggestion to OGE in the past in private messages. It is da best advice I could give him given da emotionally laden pot-shot response, and I gave it to him. It amounted to less than a tenth of my message, and I did not "love" it at all. After he came back 'round again, I just opted to squelch his responses because they weren't value-added.

 

Now, I don't reckon that I said that I never mention other posters, eh? That would be silly. I declined an invitation to talk about others behind their backs, so to speak, or to make that da topic of a thread as you are doin' here. In fact, if yeh did this to anybody else besides me, I can't imagine not jumpin' in on the person's behalf in some way or another. Most of my responses that yeh flagged as me talkin' about others were in actuality me respondin' to one of those "talk about others" conversations to try to tamp 'em down a bit. Hence comments like "Yah, yah, we also have Merlyn, of course, but he's our pet troll." Many were efforts to lighten the moment or respond in defense of others.

 

But sure, I'll occasionally mention others. All I suggested was that talkin' about others behind their backs wasn't my style or somethin' I loved. There's nuthin' "insistent" about that, it's just a shrugging statement of personal preference.

 

So, in terms of your three points,

 

1) Yep, I did, but I never claimed I didn't.

2) Nope, yeh misread or misinterpreted the claim.

3) Whatever. To my way of thinkin', I was respondin' as best as I could to the person's needs, and had done so in private first. It was not a criticism of da person, it was addressin' an issue that was affectin' the person. Sayin' that this isn't normal and yeh can get help for it to my mind is very different than callin' someone a liar.

 

In terms of your questions,

 

Are you really arguing with Twocubdad, one of the most reliably reasonable posters on the board?

 

I thought I was mostly arguin' with BPDT00 and Second Class, actually. ;) But yah, sure, I don't mind arguin' with TwoCubDad, and I'm sure he doesn't mind arguin' with me. That's how we all learn from each other.

 

And do you really want to maintain that you never talk about other people?

 

Nope. Never claimed that, have no intention of "maintaining" it. Just said I'd pass on your invitation because it wasn't really my style or somethin' I enjoyed.

 

It's too bad that someone with your discernment and writing ability didn't get the point across without antagonizing others.

 

Yep, I'm not perfect. Just a fellow who whips off a few responses on da fly while takin' a break from doin' other things. Don't let da fact that I'm just an ordinary fellow get yeh down. Like everybody, I trust in da good will of others to read my musings with kindness, eh? Takin' what's worthwhile, discardin' the rest.

 

Beavah

 

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"I still want to know whether the "important papers" skit is banned now.) ". Supposedly this no longer meets the "standard"; but I continue to see it done, so either the judges do not know, or simply look the other way because it is an old favorite.

 

As far as swim checks are concerned, it is a safety issue. As such it is important to do correctly. Still, those giving the checks, and other scouts should not use failure, or falling short of "swimmer" as a reason to belittle another scout. Rather, they should use it as a reason to encourage the scout to work to pass by week's end, if at summer camp, or in the next few weeks if on a short term or troop level.

 

Frankly, I have seen far too many scouts passed that really only got to the beginner level, but the persons in charge chose to let them struggle to completion. These are the boys who refuse to put their faces in the water, flounder or dog paddle for the most part, and cannot float. Part of it also can be cold water and altitude in some cases. I try to get my boys to be prepared for the shock of the cold at most camps, and if at altitude, since we live on the beach, understand they need to take it easy. It is not a race.

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Thanks, skeptic, for bringin' it back around.

 

I think da issue for swim checks at camp is the industrial, impersonal, run-em-through approach, especially since da staff doesn't know the boys. I just don't think yeh can ever make that work for all the young fellas, especially when yeh add cold or murky water or altitude like yeh suggest.

 

I'm much more fond of lettin' units do the swim checks at home with their unit. If we're really worried that the unit won't do 'em well, post a few videos of what each level should look like. Honestly, though, I think on average da units are a bit stricter than most camps. The camps tend to allow the "drowning in a forward direction" thing for the most part.

 

Beavah

 

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We do both since the camp makes us redo them anyway. I have seen pretty good swimmers fail under the camp system. Stress or the venue it is a lot of pressure. We never tease the guys that fail and will keep re-trying until they pass.

 

Last year we had a ring of fellow scouts and scouters swimming along with a guy to help him out.

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