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Scoutmaster Minute

posted Apr 9, 2010, 5:14 PM by Ralph Heredia
Stand up for what you believe! Speak your mind! If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything!

These are all things we want our kids to remember. After all, our forefathers came to the new world looking for religious freedom and freedom from the rule of a monarchy. We believe in our right to speak our minds and celebrate our ability to voice our opinions. We fight for the underdog, help the needy, comfort the afflicted, and enjoy our society and its privileges.

We also have the most powerful and efficient communication tools that have ever been employed. We are in constant touch with each other through our e-mail, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, you name it! We can status our daily lives through chronicles of words and wisdom.

I have a college friend that posts on Facebook a daily quote from some famous person that really makes you think about your life’s situation and its relevance in this world. I also get status messages from many of our youth that, quite frankly, I believe have forgotten that I am their “friend”. This can lead to some interesting “teaching moments” as we interact through Scouts or Church Youth group. I dare not reveal myself on the social network media for the concern that I may violate the trust I try very hard to build with these youth. The point is that you can really learn a lot about a person by “listening” to what they say. But that, is another article…

So, the subject of this Scoutmaster Minute is Crusaders. I find it humorous how we sometimes become Crusaders through our communication media. I know that we become Crusaders in our vehicles. Just read about the “road rage” incidents that occur on our highways. Some of us can get very aggressive and very bold when we climb behind the wheel of our vehicles. Many times, we may do things, (or people may do things to us) that otherwise we would never do if forced to interact face-to-face. Some of the same behaviors can be observed through our communication media. Some folks say some things that you know they wound not say in one-on-one conversation.

This brings me to a recent example that occurred over e-mail. In Scouting there are three “Aims” to the program: to build Character, Citizenship and Fitness. Many of you know (and probably some don’t) that there are eight “Methods” used in Scouting to achieve these Aims. Among the “Methods” of Scouting are the Patrol Method, Outdoor Program, and Uniforming. Yes, Uniforming is used as a method to achieve Character, Citizenship and Fitness! After all, what Sports Team can you think of that doesn’t require a uniform for the team on game day? What military doesn’t require a uniform for its troops? A uniform is a source of pride and belonging; an identity with a group or cause. “Well, what happened over e-mail, you ask?” The Blue Ridge Council, Jamboree Troops have decided that for the 100th Anniversary of Scouting, we want to present ourselves in the Centennial Uniform. This uniform was introduced in 2008 and has been optional for Scouting units since it’s inception. Now comes the point. Because the Jamboree Troops have made this uniform decision, some participants (parents), have become “Crusaders” against the cause! I’m not attempting to debate the issue here.

My Scoutmaster Minute is focused on the Crusader behavior. One Dad wrote in e-mail, “Seems to me that the goal of Scouting seems to take a back seat to the moneymaking game.” Well, I was offended by this comment and I will tell you why. The goal of Scouting is to teach Character, Citizenship and Fitness. This e-mail was sent to all of the participants of our Jamboree Troop. Wow, every kid and every parent was influenced by this “Crusader” style e-mail. As a matter of fact, this e-mail was not even the instigator to the discussion. So, more emails, more Crusader behavior, was exchanged for all to read! And you know what? I know this Dad fairly well. I believe he would never say these things in a one-on-one conversation.

Have we lost our ability to communicate? What are we teaching our kids? Are we demonstrating Character and Citizenship in our communication? Have the communication tools we have grown to love made us lazy? Inappropriately aggressive and bold? Are we using our communication tools to promote our common goals or for rhetoric against the “opposition” of our opinions?

Scouting is a great program. My face-to-face with this Dad will include a discussion of our common goals and the use of our “communication tools” to build upon those goals as opposed to “Crusading” against the cause because it is easy!

Stand up for what you believe! Speak your mind! If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything! Yes, these are things we want our kids to do. But our actions should demonstrate how to do it right in every situation, even when we have the desire to “Crusade” against the cause.

Bill Edge is the Scoutmaster for Powdersville Troop 210.
Here is where you can see this article at the Powdersville Post site.
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