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WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Badges vs. Badgering

Ideas from the field: Promote advancement without being pushy.

Some parents in Scouter J.T.’s troop push their sons toward the Eagle Scout rank from day one; others give no thought to advancement. He asked for advice on helping parents find a healthy balance between the two extremes.

NO FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE The key is a lot of communi- cation with parents, especially at the beginning. They (and their Scouts) may not under- stand the differences between Cub Scouts, where an adult plans meetings that lead to advancement, and Boy Scouts, where the PLC plans meet- ings that may or may not contribute to advancement goals. When parents seem too

eager, remind them that the process of advancement is as important as the checked-


We have a couple of boys that occasionally use inappropriate or crude language. How do I help these boys

understand the importance of using appropriate language? W.W.W. MORGAN, UTAH

WE WANT YOUR SOLUTIONS! Send your answer to What Would You Do?, Scouting magazine, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079. Responses will appear in Scouting’s next issue. We also solicit new questions and pay $50 for each one used in this column. Submit responses or a new question electronically, or view selected responses from past columns, at

off boxes. For some Scouts, calling an unknown merit badge counselor and setting up meetings may be as much a learning experience as the actual requirements of the badge.

Committee Chair L.R. YOKOSUKA, JAPAN

HAVE A FIRESIDE CHAT Have quiet, informal talks with groups of parents. Discuss the aims of Scouting and the methods of Boy Scouting. Talk about the opportunities along the trail, including the Order of the

Arrow and high adventure. Tell them Boy Scouting is a journey, not a race.

Unit Commissioner J.P. PARKVILLE, MO.

ALL ABOUT THE BOYS Explain that the Eagle rank is for the kids, not the parents. My son had some learning problems and needed to be pushed, but I kept asking him if he still wanted Eagle. As long as he said yes, I would remind him what he needed to do. He received his Eagle 10 years ago!

Scoutmaster S.J. MIDDLE RIVER, MD.

USE ASSISTANT SCOUTMASTERS When I was Scoutmaster, I assigned an assistant Scoutmaster to each patrol. The ASM could monitor Scouts’ advancement and mentor them. Parents could ask the ASM how they could help at home without being a nag.



THROW THE BOOK AT THEM I encourage new parents to pick up their son’s Scout handbook and see how it is different from Cub Scouts. We explain how merit badges work. In Scouts, the boys get the ranks and merit badges, not the adults. Parents need to let the boy think for himself.

Committee Member K.H. POPLAR GROVE, ILL.

SUPPORT YOUR SCOUTS We have helped some boys approach their parents to ask them to back off a bit, which is hard for any child to do for fear of disappointment. It goes well when we sit down as a group with the Scout and parents and explain what’s going on and what could be done differently.

Committee Chair D.H. DOUGLASVILLE, GA.

PLAN YOUR WORK, WORK YOUR PLAN The best thing for our troop has been to have Scouts come up with a timeline on their own without their parents.


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