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


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#61 RememberSchiff

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 04:48 AM

TAHAWK, I too have struggled with "Obedient" discussions with my scouts. I think we should teach a Davy Crockett mindset "Make sure you (they, Akela) are right, then go ahead." and the historical lessons of American disobedience from JFK's Profiles in Courage.

 

Our program focuses on character-building, leadership-building but seemingly skirts teaching "doing the right thing" in favor of blind obedience. I would prefer Strong (Courage), Alert, Aware, ...even Hawk-eyed

 

enter Roland Steele, the fictional football captain of Notre Dame


Edited by RememberSchiff, 25 March 2017 - 05:10 AM.

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#62 Eagledad

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 07:51 AM

The scout law is not: A scout is trustworthy or loyal or friendly or.....Like all the traits
In the law, obedience is balance or completion working its single application with all
the applications in the law. The scout is not guided to use one trait of the law at a time. Is a
Scout obedient if they are not being friendly, courteous or kind? Are they being scout like?

Barry
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#63 TAHAWK

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 07:56 AM

The scout law is not: A scout is trustworthy or loyal or friendly or.....Like all the traits
In the law, obedience is balance or completion working its single application with all
the applications in the law. The scout is not guided to use one trait of the law at a time. Is a
Scout obedient if they are not being friendly, courteous or kind? Are they being scout like?

Barry

 

Very good observation, and useful in resolving such dilemmas.  


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#64 Peregrinator

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 08:26 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.

 

"The scout law is sacred and the Holy Bible its perfume. The scout law is our Lord Jesus’ law." --Fr. Jacques Sevin.


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#65 MattR

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 09:49 AM

I'm reading a book on Jewish philosophy and the subject of obedience just came up. Such timing. In a nutshell, this thread is old. Very old. There are a lot of stories in the Bible that talk about just this. Obedience is important, as long as the one being obeyed is also obedient to a higher ideal. This is different from many Greek philosophers that said obedience to the state was a given, no matter what the state did. Both sides say obedience is important to develop society. The problem with simple obedience is when society goes off on an unhealthy tangent, such as equal but separate, or tossing all the male babies into the river and keeping the females for slaves.

 

Rather than replace Obedient with Responsible, just add that the one being obeyed needs to be responsible. I think that's what we probably tell everyone anyway.

 

The bottom line for the scouts: it's still important for a scout to obey his patrol leader when he's asked to help clean up. You know they're just looking for a loop hole. :)


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#66 Stosh

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 07:56 PM

Hebrew philosophy says things are good and bad, the Greek philosophy says things are right and wrong.  The two don't always correlate.


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#67 qwazse

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 12:25 PM

Hebrew philosophy says things are good and bad, the Greek philosophy says things are right and wrong.  The two don't always correlate.

it's not about the philosophy!
It's about ethics, which at times can be about philosophy, but many times is about what the Almighty is telling the people what to value.

Well, values may not have a great philosophical underpinning. I value human life. There's no reason to do so that resides in pure logic. It just seems that I'm called to do so and compell others to do the same. So, obedience must necessarily play out in a direction that perpetuates that value. Heeding commands that stunt virtue (e.g., kindness, helpfulness, bravery, or reverence) reduces obedience to little more than automation.

As to the question regarding the 12 points being enough to carry one through adulthood. Well, a compass in itself, won't get you through the wilderness, but using that in places familiar makes it easier to use other tools (sun, stars, sextants, trigonometry) in strange lands. You never abandon that compass, but the other tools in your navigator's kit mesh nicely because fiddling with that needle and accompanying protractor early in life helps you know when to call on something else later.
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#68 skeptic

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 06:48 PM

I have always made the comparison of the Law with the 10 commandments in that while the Commandments are telling us what we should strive to NOT do, in relation to our interactions with the greater world around us, while the Law, with its 12 points, assumes that we ARE certain things within the bounds of common sense and societal and religious interaction.

 

There is always more than one way to interpret the meanings of philosophical tenets dependent on numerous interactions and situations.  In relation to "obedient", the same dictum applies as to an order in rare instances in the military or similar dogmatic restrictive environments.  IF, the order or expectation is recognizably against greater good or societal norms, then you may possibly or rightfully decide to NOT obey.  That being said, your judgment should be made with strong supportive facts or opinion which you should share before your final decision.  But, these types of occurrences should be rare.

 

Few, even those not integral to the Scouting movement would seriously deny that the Oath and Law are very good and viable guidelines for a civil society.  As most know, one of the symbolic explanations of the Universal Symbol is that it was at the point of the compass needle and that Scouting precepts could be a compass for the voyage through life.

 

One of my biggest frustrations is that too often we are not intellectually or emotionally flexible enough to accept that there are few if any "absolutes" in life other than its finality.  Our constant challenge is to not let our personal opinion be so static that we cannot see other possibilities.  By the same token, if we are to live in a cooperative world society, we do need to agree that our "right" to personal opinion and action stops as soon as it trespasses on similar territory of another, or negatively affects the greater environment.

 

All just opinion and reflection of an old guy who tries to be fair within his life and interactions.

 


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#69 Sentinel947

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 08:18 PM

Not sure about big fish in a little pond. As two of my senior Scouts are leading the school musical. My troop has varsity athletes and kids who would never be caught dead on an athletic field. We have former Scouts who are working for Microsoft, and others who are unemployed living in mom and dads house. Our Scouts are a microcosm of the community they live in. Some will be gifted leaders, and others will not be. That's life.
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#70 Stosh

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 01:22 PM

Not sure about big fish in a little pond. As two of my senior Scouts are leading the school musical. My troop has varsity athletes and kids who would never be caught dead on an athletic field. We have former Scouts who are working for Microsoft, and others who are unemployed living in mom and dads house. Our Scouts are a microcosm of the community they live in. Some will be gifted leaders, and others will not be. That's life.

 

Everyone who's married, has a family, has a job, involved in any group activity is in some sense of the word a leader regardless of their talents, interests, or even motivation.  Some lead towards what would be called the good of society, some lead towards what would be the evils of society.  Only those who are true loners and hermits aren't leaders.


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#71 Stosh

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 01:24 PM

it's not about the philosophy!
It's about ethics, which at times can be about philosophy, but many times is about what the Almighty is telling the people what to value.

Well, values may not have a great philosophical underpinning. I value human life. There's no reason to do so that resides in pure logic. It just seems that I'm called to do so and compell others to do the same. So, obedience must necessarily play out in a direction that perpetuates that value. Heeding commands that stunt virtue (e.g., kindness, helpfulness, bravery, or reverence) reduces obedience to little more than automation.

As to the question regarding the 12 points being enough to carry one through adulthood. Well, a compass in itself, won't get you through the wilderness, but using that in places familiar makes it easier to use other tools (sun, stars, sextants, trigonometry) in strange lands. You never abandon that compass, but the other tools in your navigator's kit mesh nicely because fiddling with that needle and accompanying protractor early in life helps you know when to call on something else later.

 

Of course it is about philosophy.  Going with good/bad, one must take into consideration self-defense, capital punishment and wars when it comes to Thou shall not kill.  If one were to stick to right/wrong, the wicket gets a bit sticky.  :)


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#72 TAHAWK

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 01:26 PM

(Hebrewלֹא תִּרְצָח ‎ lo tirṣaḥ   Thou shalt not murder.


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#73 Stosh

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 01:37 PM

(Hebrewלֹא תִּרְצָח ‎ lo tirṣaḥ   Thou shalt not murder.

 

You are correct, but not many of the modern translations do it correctly.  Thus the idea stuck in everyone's head is not what the original author meant.  There are dedicated Christians out there that take great pride in being a servant for the Lord, when in fact the word really means SLAVE in the original Greek manuscripts.  Try and find anyone that will admit they want to be a slave to the Lord.  They are few and far between.


Edited by Stosh, 27 March 2017 - 01:38 PM.

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#74 DuctTape

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 03:06 PM

Translating differences require an agreed upon definition. The difference between kill and murder really comes down to whether the killing was ethical. This now begs the question and demonstrates the non-absolutism of the commandment itself.
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#75 krikkitbot

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 08:54 AM

I think that the scout law, along with most moral rules and regulations, should not be looked at one word at a time. It is the totality of the words that give it its impact. After all, it is the Scout Law, not the Scout Laws.

 

If your superior (SM, SPL, PL, etc.) tells you to haze a boy and you do, you were obedient but you were not courteous and kind. 

If you are told to steal from the trading post, you were obedient but not trustworthy and helpful.

 

I can think of scores of these combinations where following one point works, but it fails to meet others. 


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#76 NJCubScouter

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 12:59 PM

I meant to say this a few days ago, but in addition to the 12 words themselves, I think we need to look at the descriptions in the Scout Handbook. There is no "Responsible", but here is the description of Trustworthy (actually from the 11th edition as it was the first thing that came up on Google, though I can't imagine it has changed much):

A Scout is Trustworthy.
A Scout tells the truth. He is honest, and he keeps his promises. People can depend on him.


People can depend on him. That takes in at least a portion of "responsible", doesn't it? Trustworthy is not just about not lying, it means being dependable. A Scout does what he says he is going to do, and if you want to extend that a little, a Scout does what he is supposed to do. Sounds responsible to me.
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#77 Stosh

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 03:27 PM

Yeah, it's kinda like how when National is trustworthy one can depend on them......


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