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A scout is Obedient....or should that be Responsible?


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#1 blw2

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 12:21 PM

Reading "Rocks In My Backpack".  In the chapter I was reading today at lunch, the author said, and I'm paraphrasing...

that if he had anything to do with it, he'd change Obedient to Responsible

and then he goes on to make a pretty good case that there are times when being obedient isn't really the best path.  The revolution and forming of the U.S., and the Civil Rights movement were given as examples....  His point being that a responsible person will be obedient.... except when it wouldn't make the best sense to be

    and these were followed by a very funny scout story...

 

By the way.....It's a good book in my opinion, and I suggest it if you haven't read it.

 

Anyway, i just thought this might make for an interesting discussion....


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#2 RememberSchiff

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 12:55 PM

I was more a Question Authority than Follow Akela scout.

 

IMO, Intelligent and Aware should be there.


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#3 David CO

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 01:11 PM

I haven't read the book.

 

Yes, a scout is obedient.  He is obedient to his parents.  He is obedient to his teachers.  He is obedient to his scout leaders.  He is obedient to the people he is supposed to be obedient to.

 

This doesn't mean a scout must be obedient to any Tom, Dick, or Harry who happens to cross his path.

 

It may sound like blasphemy to some scouters, but the scout law is not a universal declaration of principles. It doesn't apply to every person and every situation. 


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#4 David CO

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 01:59 PM

Scouting is a game for boys.  The scout law is part of that game.  Scouting was never intended to be a religion, and the scout law was never intended to be a dogma.

 

Anyone who tries to make the scout law into a dogma will quickly find out that it falls short.  The scout law simply doesn't apply to most of the adult world.

 

The fact that the scout law doesn't fit well into the adult world doesn't necessarily disqualify it for use in a game for boys. 


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#5 Eagledad

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 02:21 PM

 

It may sound like blasphemy to some scouters, but the scout law is not a universal declaration of principles. It doesn't apply to every person and every situation. 

Blasphemy? Is't it like saying the Ten Commandments don't apply to everybody. Or "Do unto "most" others, but not all." 

 

When we start to RE-define principles with our personal exceptions, then we put ourselves in the grey area of judgmental. Once we do that, the compass of moral integrity starts to sway back and forth as the young person finds himself in places of difficult decisions. Even your explanation says a scout is obedient to those he is supposed to be obedient to. Who picks and chooses who we are supposed to be obedient to? Yah, try to explain that little side bar to a scout. 

 

I was advised when I was young to read the bible to understand life, and live life to understand bible. That is, without a doubt, one of the wisest words of advice I was given in my lifetime. And lucky for me, I was young. How about "Obey the Scout Law to understand life. Live life to understand the Scout law". It's simple and it works because you don't have to provide your personal exceptions to fill in the other person's grey area. 

 

Barry


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#6 David CO

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 03:05 PM

No Barry, the scout law is not at all like the Ten Commandments.  I take my religion very seriously, and I would never compare the scout law to the Ten Commandments.  There is no comparison.

 

I totally agree with your views on the Bible, but I don't think it applies to a scouting program.  Apples and oranges.  Scouting isn't a religion.

 

I do explain that "little side-bar" to scouts.  We all do.  It is OK to undress and be examined by your doctor, but not by the weird guy down the street.  

 

Children need to be able to distinguish between the people they should obey, and those that they shouldn't.  It is a basic survival skill that every child needs to learn.


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#7 NJCubScouter

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 03:38 PM

The Scout Law is a pretty good set of principles, but they vary in how "absolutely" they can or should be applied.

 

For example, both "Obedient" and "Loyal" can produce bad results, even evil results, if one is obedient and/or loyal to the wrong person or persons.

 

On the other hand, I am having a difficult time thinking of situations when it is bad to be "Cheerful" or "Kind" or "Courteous", even to someone who does not deserve it.  Maybe the difference is that these three merely involve words and demeanor, while "Obedient" and "Loyal" involve actions.


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#8 qwazse

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 05:02 PM

The Scout Law is a pretty good set of principles, but they vary in how "absolutely" they can or should be applied.
 
For example, both "Obedient" and "Loyal" can produce bad results, even evil results, if one is obedient and/or loyal to the wrong person or persons.
 
On the other hand, I am having a difficult time thinking of situations when it is bad to be "Cheerful" or "Kind" or "Courteous", even to someone who does not deserve it.  Maybe the difference is that these three merely involve words and demeanor, while "Obedient" and "Loyal" involve actions.

One could argue that lacking, the ethical tone of the last four points (thrift, bravery, cleanliness, and reverence), the first eight will fall flat.
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#9 WAKWIB

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:34 PM

I think being Responsible is a natural outcome of following all 12 points of the Scout Law. Most folks that I would consider responsible people are those that demonstrate most of those 12 characteristics most of the time. 

In the context of Scouting, I think our emphasis on Obedient is simply aimed at encouraging the youth to follow directions from those in formal authority over you. To be a good leader, one must first be a good follower. 


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#10 Eagledad

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 06:50 AM

No Barry, the scout law is not at all like the Ten Commandments.  I take my religion very seriously, and I would never compare the scout law to the Ten Commandments.  There is no comparison.

 

I totally agree with your views on the Bible, but I don't think it applies to a scouting program.  Apples and oranges.  Scouting isn't a religion.

 

I do explain that "little side-bar" to scouts.  We all do.  It is OK to undress and be examined by your doctor, but not by the weird guy down the street.  

 

Children need to be able to distinguish between the people they should obey, and those that they shouldn't.  It is a basic survival skill that every child needs to learn.

Yea, maybe the Ten Commandments was a wrong example, but I disagree with the rest of your posts. The law It's not and apples or oranges analogy. The traits of the law don't have exceptions. Exception are excuses to not be trustworthy, loyal, friendly or courteous. We are the scout law and servants of the scout law. Once we pick and choose which laws we don't have to apply, then our egos become masters. And we are nolonger scout like. 

 

Barry


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#11 blw2

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 09:00 AM

I suppose there's a context question to the author's statement, that might make this whole thing more meaningful.  I won't get into repeating them, but the statement was made as a precursor to some funny stories.... 

but what caught my eye about it was the underpinned philosophical chicken vs egg question.... that @WAKWIB picked up on....

I think being Responsible is a natural outcome of following all 12 points of the Scout Law. Most folks that I would consider responsible people are those that demonstrate most of those 12 characteristics most of the time. 

In the context of Scouting, I think our emphasis on Obedient is simply aimed at encouraging the youth to follow directions from those in formal authority over you. To be a good leader, one must first be a good follower. 

"Responsible" can very well be looked at as a result of following these ideals

but it could also be looked at as the umbrella over the ideals...as the author indicated


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#12 David CO

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 09:52 AM

Yea, maybe the Ten Commandments was a wrong example, but I disagree with the rest of your posts. The law It's not and apples or oranges analogy. The traits of the law don't have exceptions. Exception are excuses to not be trustworthy, loyal, friendly or courteous. We are the scout law and servants of the scout law. Once we pick and choose which laws we don't have to apply, then our egos become masters. And we are nolonger scout like. 

 

Barry

 

Of course we are no longer scout like.  We are adults.  We grew up.

 

There are many adult things that don't fit into the scout law.  War is one of them.  It is not possible to wage war in a scout like manner.  

 

The historical fact that the American colonies rebelled against Great Britain has nothing to do with the scout law.  This doesn't make the Revolutionary War wrong, nor does it mean we should change the scout law.

 

The scout law is fine within the context of a game for boys.  It just needs to be understood that the scout law doesn't apply everywhere.

 

I think the scouts of my father's generation understood this while they were conducting scrap drives to collect war materials to make bombs to drop on the boys scouts of enemy countries.


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#13 Eagledad

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 09:53 AM

One could argue that lacking, the ethical tone of the last four points (thrift, bravery, cleanliness, and reverence), the first eight will fall flat.

That's quite good!

 

Barry


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#14 jjlash

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 09:58 AM

Despite being named "The Scout Law", I consider them guiding principles.  As in "... I will do my best ... to obey the Scout Law".  That doesnt mean I pick and choose willy-nilly when to obey and when to ignore.  It just recognizes that there are situations where I cannot; should not; or am not willing to follow the SL.  

 

In addition to @NJCubScouter's generic example of being trustworthy and obedient to the wrong people (or ideals) what about when there is a conflict?  You want to be trustworthy and loyal to a friend who is doing the wrong thing, versus obedient and (big picture) helpful in telling someone that he is headed down a bad path?  Being helpful to the guy stealing a car is clearly not what is intended.  There is certainly a point where I stop showing reverence toward a person spewing vile, hateful things in the name of religion - they can believe it but I dont have to respect it.


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#15 NJCubScouter

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 10:31 AM

In addition to @NJCubScouter's generic example of being trustworthy and obedient to the wrong people (or ideals) what about when there is a conflict?  You want to be trustworthy and loyal to a friend who is doing the wrong thing, versus obedient and (big picture) helpful in telling someone that he is headed down a bad path?  Being helpful to the guy stealing a car is clearly not what is intended.  There is certainly a point where I stop showing reverence toward a person spewing vile, hateful things in the name of religion - they can believe it but I dont have to respect it.

 

That's right.  As I said, most of them are not absolutes.  You aren't going to be "helpful" to someone who is doing something wrong. 

 

For whatever it's worth, one of the examples I used was loyal, not trustworthy.  I had difficulty coming up with a good example of when it's ok not to be trustworthy.  I suppose if you agree to do something but then find out that your work is going to be used for evil purposes, and you decline to do whatever it is, you're not really being untrustworthy.  When you agreed, you did not have all of the relevant information, so your agreement was invalid.  


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#16 Eagledad

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 10:34 AM

Of course we are no longer scout like.  We are adults.  We grew up.

 

There are many adult things that don't fit into the scout law.  War is one of them.  It is not possible to wage war in a scout like manner.  

 

The historical fact that the American colonies rebelled against Great Britain has nothing to do with the scout law.  This doesn't make the Revolutionary War wrong, nor does it mean we should change the scout law.

 

The scout law is fine within the context of a game for boys.  It just needs to be understood that the scout law doesn't apply everywhere.

 

I think the scouts of my father's generation understood this while they were conducting scrap drives to collect war materials to make bombs to drop on the boys scouts of enemy countries.

I've never heard anyone reference the Scout Law as only juvenile actions. I encourage  scouts to learn their adult behavior by measuring all their decisions against the scout law during their younger years. Every decisional situation, no matter how small, has a moral right or wrong fate. The 12 points of the law are life long value traits that guide every decision toward a moral outcome.

 

I learned in my life that integrity is directly related to ones ingrained principles. Rarely are an individual's principles developed after their young adult years. No situation is without applying principled values during any decision. Every decision has different possible outcomes that are directly related to how we apply our values. What adult wouldn't want the integrity of a scout?

 

Barry


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#17 David CO

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 10:55 AM

I've never heard anyone reference the Scout Law as only juvenile actions. I encourage  scouts to learn their adult behavior by measuring all their decisions against the scout law during their younger years. Every decisional situation, no matter how small, has a moral right or wrong fate. The 12 points of the law are life long value traits that guide every decision toward a moral outcome.

 

I learned in my life that integrity is directly related to ones ingrained principles. Rarely are an individual's principles developed after their young adult years. No situation is without applying principled values during any decision. Every decision has different possible outcomes that are directly related to how we apply our values. What adult wouldn't want the integrity of a scout?

 

Barry

 

The scout law is simplistic.  As such, it is well suited for use in a game for boys.  It is too simplistic to serve as a code of behavior for adults.


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#18 Eagledad

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 10:58 AM

The scout law is simplistic.  As such, it is well suited for use in a game for boys.  It is too simplistic to serve as a code of behavior for adults.

Based from my experiences of life, we will have to agree to disagree.

 

Barry


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#19 jjlash

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 11:42 AM

For whatever it's worth, one of the examples I used was loyal, not trustworthy.  I had difficulty coming up with a good example of when it's ok not to be trustworthy.  I suppose if you agree to do something but then find out that your work is going to be used for evil purposes, and you decline to do whatever it is, you're not really being untrustworthy.  When you agreed, you did not have all of the relevant information, so your agreement was invalid.  

 

Of course, my apologies...


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#20 wdfa89

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 01:27 PM


"There are many adult things that don't fit into the scout law.  War is one of them.  It is not possible to wage war in a scout like manner. "

 

 

Not sure how much war you have waged, but in my 25 years of military experience, to include command in combat, it is possible to do so and trying to do so to the best of our abilities is what has separated us from our enemies in the conduct of the most ugly of human endeavors.  Have we done so perfectly, of course not,  and many times we have paid a price for that failure but the Scout Law was as good a guidance as any orders, regulations, or training I have been given.   But I guess I am just simple.


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