Advice Needed: Living the Scout Law

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Advice Needed: Living the Scout Law

Postby AquilaNegra2 » Thu Jul 02, 2009 5:00 pm

I'm our troop's Advancement Chair. Earlier this week, we held a BOR for an 11-y.o. Scout hoping to move to 2nd class. They are an outdoorsy family whose ASM father is competitive and works with the son to quickly fulfill requirements (his T BOR was 30 days ago, and he is well on the way to requirements for 1st.) Requirements 1-8 were well-satisfied and many done beyond that which was required.

I'm having difficulty with the child's attitude. He appears to have a problem with authority, except for his father's (which is immediately obeyed). He's a constant headache to his young (but intelligent) patrol leader -- not actively disobedient, but grumbling (often to others) as he obeys, and challenging anything he doesn't completely agree with, from menus to the order in which they line up. His comments about his mother during his BOR were something that would never have been allowed in my household (she's stupid, crazy, can't keep a thought in her head, etc -- untrue statements, but even if they were, disrespectful). When called on it, he rolled his eyes, then tried to backtrack. Before his BOR (while we were discussing the previous BOR and the Scout was waiting), several people were standing outside the door. Concerned with privacy, the Committee Chair (female) asked them to move around the corner. He did not comply, but waited for his father to restate the request before acting. He bypassed his Patrol Advisor (an incredibly wonderful, but strict and fair man) for the SM conference, and had it signed off by another ASM -- a much more gentle soul with considerably less experience. When asked about that, he said it didn't matter, that an ASM was an ASM (for expediency, the SM allows ASMs to conduct SM reviews when his schedule is full).

Realizing that he is only 11 and hasn't been with the troop but four months, and because none of us was certain about things, we passed him to 2nd class. I have asked for a meeting with the SM and his Patrol Advisor to discuss it.

The BOR is *not* a retest; that's completely understood. But have any of you ever failed to pass a Scout due to failure to live up to the Scout Law? None of our boys is perfect, and I'm completely certain that every one of them will violate a portion of that law between BORs. Where is the line between success and failure? And, if he fails to advance, what is the best way to explain to his father what he needs to do to progress?

Complete disclosure: I don't particularly care for either the father or the son, but I do try to remain objective. I checked my observations with the other two sitting on the BOR, and they completely agreed.
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Re: Advice Needed: Living the Scout Law

Postby FrankJ » Thu Jul 02, 2009 6:13 pm

As for as the SM conference goes, discuss it with the SM. He is can be as specific as he wants to be about whom he delegates advancement sign offs to. If he is ok with any ASM doing conferences then that it. If he wants patrol adviser ASMs only, then that's it as well. Feedback to the SM is one the purposes of the BOR. Do it in a positive way.

His attitude indicates that he has issues with the scout law. Questions about that is perfectly ok in the BOR. Big issues with not following the scout law is worth delaying advancement. You do not want to be dealing with this at his EBOR.
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Re: Advice Needed: Living the Scout Law

Postby evmori » Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:00 am

My take is this kid get no latitude at home & is looking for some in Scouting. I'd bet if you check you would find out he is the same way in other group settings. I'd even bet he is a saint at school!

Not passing a kid on a BOR for not living the Scout Law in his everyday life is a valid reason not to advance a Scout. He would not be demonstrating Scout Spirit! Now some will tell you this requirement only applies to when the boy is not in a Scouting setting but the requirement state "in his everyday life". Everyday is everyday regardless of what you are doing.
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Re: Advice Needed: Living the Scout Law

Postby Cowboy » Sat Jul 04, 2009 9:53 am

I do often take things to an extreme, but here is my view:
A Scout is:
Loyal: Not just to friends, but family also. Even if his mother was a complete airhead, he should show loyalty to her, and NOT denegrate her to others. He should instead be defending her good points.

Friendly: That means being nice to everyone, including his mother.

Courteous: Once again, this prohibits denegration of others.

Kind: Blah, blah......

Obedient: It does not matter what adult gives instruction, he should obey the instructions. Waiting until Dad tells him to do something shows not only disobedience, but also disrespect. If he has been assigned to a patrol leader that is the individual that he should be dealing with. If he has a problem with that individual he needs to address it to the SM, not just make his own rules.

Reverent: This is where some people say that I jump off the boat. Websters indicates that reverence is not strictly a matter of religious attitude. Reverence is also the act of showing respect toward others. When he is not being obedient and respectful toward his mother or other leaders he is not showing reverence.

I would definitely NOT consider this child to be living the Scout Law. It is our job to guide and teach these boys to be the best of the best. We are here to shape them and train them to lead our community allowing them to continue in this type of behavior is a dis-service to them and the program.
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Re: Advice Needed: Living the Scout Law

Postby jr56 » Sat Jul 04, 2009 3:42 pm

Yes, I have held up advancement on boys for the very reason you stated. Not living up to the scout oath and law. I might have let him advance to 2nd class with those issues, but definately not to first class.
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Re: Advice Needed: Living the Scout Law

Postby FrankJ » Sat Jul 04, 2009 4:21 pm

Of course this should be an ongoing with the scout & SM about how to live the scout law & not just discussed at advancement time.
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Re: Advice Needed: Living the Scout Law

Postby SMTroop240 » Sun Jul 05, 2009 9:05 pm

We recently failed a scout on his Tenderfoot for almost the exact same reason. His father is also a new ASM, and had a proper fit over it. The scout admitted that he disobeyed his parents, and also that he liked bulling smaller boys (he is almost as big as my 14 year old and he just turned 11).

The board told him that he was not living the scout law, and to come back later, after he had figured out how to better live it.
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Re: Advice Needed: Living the Scout Law

Postby Nuts4Scouts » Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:34 pm

I am sure it was because of problems like this that BSA has changed, as of 2010, the requirements for Tenderfoot thru 1st Class to include the requirement, for each rank, that the Scout provide 4 specific examples of how he has lived the Scout Law in his everyday life.
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Re: Advice Needed: Living the Scout Law

Postby alex gregory » Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:05 pm

If Meanie Scout is up for his BOR then apparently his SM or delegate has already signed off on the Scout Law requirement. I think BOR is a little late to "retest" whether or not Meanie Scout is sufficiently righteous to advance to the next rank.

At best the BOR can identify a festering problem that needs to be addressed in the future for this particular scout, and other scouts who are being recommended for advancement when they are not living up to the Scout Law.

Contempt of women has no business in scouting, and I doubt I would want my son to spend a lot of time with Junior of his father (as we know the apple does not fall far from the tree). An honest discussion with dad may shed light on where Junior is getting his attitude; either dad agrees that it is a problem that needs to be resolved, or dad thinks misogyny is just dandy and he does not need to be invited back as ASM.
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Re: Advice Needed: Living the Scout Law

Postby FrankJ » Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:07 pm

Scouty is espousing unscout like view points in a BOR is hardly a retest. If the BOR ignores it, they not doing any body any favors. The best course is to provide feedback to the scout in the BOR & to the SM so he is aware of the issue. It is reasonable to expect a higher level of behavior as the scout goes up in rank.
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Re: Advice Needed: Living the Scout Law

Postby VenturingL » Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:28 pm

I may be reading more into the original post than is there, but a few things jumped out at me. You may be seeing a boy who's learning verbal abuse/poor attitude toward women and others. If he says these things about his mother, he may be repeating what he's heard. Obeys father instantly, but not others? What happens if Mom doesn't obey immediately? Didn't obey female leader who asked those outside door to move - didn't obey because didn't want to or because person asking was a woman?
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Re: Advice Needed: Living the Scout Law

Postby wagionvigil » Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:30 pm

Teacher kicking in here. Yep abusive household. Probably Dad. In My former vocation this is reportable to Guidance and Admin. for follow up. :(
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Re: Advice Needed: Living the Scout Law

Postby Cowboy » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:42 pm

I would not consider it a "Retest". There is a reason that we have SMC & BOR. There is a reason that the BOR is composed of 3 people (minimum) and that they must have a unanimous decision to pass a boy on. This is to back check and make sure that all areas are seen. A boy will act differently in front of the SM than he does in front of another adult. I have seen boys be very respectful whenever SM was around, but then be rude and crude when the SM walks away. I can then call him on it, and address it in BOR of things continue. Our SM tries to use what he sees and knows, and then let the BOR do thier job too.
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