More than Teaching Manners
By: Mike Walton (blackeagle)
Posted On: 2019-10-28
It is great to know that the Boy Scouts of America -- an organization which I do NOT work for but have a strong affinity toward -- is upping their game. Our volunteers -- ALL of them, not just the ones interacting with youth on a regular basis -- are being asked to authorize the BSA to check their "personal behavioral records." Some looked at the form distributed and raised holy heck (*smiling*) at the "consumer reporting agency" lines and thought, "Oh NO, they aren't!! They're not gonna look at my credit report!!" to which the BSA had to send out releases and tell their local Councils to please say to their volunteers and employees to "step back from the edge, please!! We're NOT interested in your credit standing...but rather your personal behavioral stances!"
At the very same time, the BSA has returned to the television and radio airwaves and included "online" with that too. A 30 second and 60-second ad has been running on the TV and radio, both commercial and cable, explaining that the BSA is indeed a safe place to participate in as a family or to just to bring your child -- male or female -- to. The ad features a lot of Scouting families, lots of female faces in addition to the male faces that hung around BSA ads of the past. A lot of saluting, hand gestures in the Sign of the Scout, and in the back of your head, you're getting that message that "there's a lot of people involved in this...it's gotta be a safe hangout for my family and me..."
I wished, however, that the BSA would spend some money; however, on explaining the positive values which sink in AFTER, they become Scouts. After they attend the first meetings and the first campouts in the cases of Scouts, Venturers, and Sea Scouts. After they are explained that the "rules of Scouting" -- things they promise or swear by, the Scout Oath and Law -- aren't just "nice things to say during ceremonies at the Scout building" -- but things they are supposed to LIVE BY EVERY DAY.
A little bit more than just "teaching manners" and the mode of positive behavior.
I asked a Scouter, who tearfully shared with her fellow Scouters yesterday, to share an account dealing with her son. Amy tells the story a lot better than I can, so in her own words, here's what happened -- with photos. It is an example, one of many, of why Scouting is so critical and why we need both more youth and their families to not only "buy into" but "support and defend" the programs of the BSA. It has a reason for being.
"We are selling popcorn inside the entryway at Kroger this evening, my ten-year-old, son Jacob spotted this older gentleman standing behind his car, the cars were just driving by not stopping for him to walk across to enter into the grocery store.
Jacob took it upon himself to walk up to the gentleman & stop the cars & walk him to the entrance.
I must say, I teared up & I am SO PROUD OF HIM. That's my SCOUT!"
"On the way out... For Jacob's helping this gentleman, with tears in his eyes, he shook Jacob's hand and gave him $10. He said NO ONE, has ever done for him what Jacob has ever done 💖.
Another passerby, seen Jacob helping & bought Jacob 2 packs of skittles. Another gentleman leaving Kroger shook Jacob's hand & said: "what you did was so amazing!" "
While Scouts are not supposed to accept "rewards" for doing Good Turns, I'm turning my head away at the $10 and the boxes of candy because, well, it was cute. The fact that Jacob did a Good Turn -- no prompting, no "go over there and help that man..." just an exercise of what Scouts are SUPPOSED TO DO, what we "promised to do" ("Do a Good Turn Daily", "helpful....kind...courteous..." "...to help other people at all times...")...THAT is why Scouting is important.
This is why Amy has her son in Scouting. This is why so many other parents place their faith and confidence in the few volunteers we have coaching and mentoring their youth into applying those skills every single day.
Oh, by the way, we could use a lot more Scouts like Jacob...and those other volunteers to help Scouts like him understand that Scouting is more than just "saying some words" and "learning some manners."
(thanks to Scouter Amy and her son Jacob for the explanation, the images, and the example...)