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Tripped Up Tips for teaching your Scouts how not to help a friend.

SOME BOY SCOUTS and Venturers, like many adults, live highly compartmen- talized lives. Their behavior in some set- tings—at the mall or at a party, for example—seems at odds with their behavior in others, say at church or at Scouts. What they often fail to realize is that their different worlds can easily collide, exposing them as inconsistent at best or hypocritical at worst. That’s why each Boy Scout rank

requires a Scout to demonstrate that he lives the values of the Scout Oath and Law in his everyday life, not just at troop events.

One way to highlight character inconsistencies, though, is to lead ethical discussions that explore what happens when one area of a Scout’s life negatively affects another. Here’s an example.

The Dilemma It’s noon on a Saturday, and Crew 641’s president, Austin McFarland, is late—very late—for the crew’s annual tobogganing trip. As members of the crew and adults pace the church parking lot, Vice President Bailey Jenkins tries again to reach Austin on his cell phone. Finally, he answers.

“You sound awful,” Bailey says after he grunts a hello. “Yeah, I feel awful. My head hurts.” “Do you have the flu or some- thing? It’s been going around.” “More or less. I went to Will’s party

last night. We played beer pong, and I won—or so I thought.” He groaned. Bailey is more than disappointed in her friend. “But you promised …” “I know,” Austin says. “So about the

trip, there’s no way I can come.” “And what am I supposed to tell

Mr. Simpson?” “Just tell him I have the flu. That’s

more or less true.” Before Bailey can respond, Mr.

Simpson, the crew Advisor, walks over. “What’s up with Austin?” Bailey pauses, then says, “He’s, uh … he can’t come. He’s not feeling well.”

For Discussion Like many ethical dilemmas, this one puts two positive values in opposition: honesty and loyalty. To help Scouts or Venturers explore this dilemma, discuss these questions together: Both the Venturing Oath and the Venturing Code talk about fair- ness. Is Austin being fair to Bailey? Is Bailey being fair to Austin? To Mr. Simpson? To the crew?

Instead of telling Mr. Simpson that Austin has the flu, she tells him he isn’t feeling well. Is that answer true? Is it honest? Is there a differ- ence between the two?

What Austin did at the party was illegal and self-destructive. Should

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