Discipline and By-Laws
Cliff Golden wrote on Scouts-L
I think the ideal we want to achieve is each Scout being responsible for
his own behavior. They act in accordance with what they believe is right.
We don't have by-laws our my troop. I prefer it that way.
We use the Scout Oath and Law as our model of behavior. Ideals are one
of the methods of Scouting.
If a Scout betrays those ideals in a significant way, then it is time for
a Scoutmaster's Conference. That is the way I deal with major problems. I
don't use a formula approach to dealing with those types of situations
because I have found that each boy is unique as is each situation also
I try very hard to be fair in my dealings with each and every Scout in my
troop. I have a solemn obligation to be fair.
Too often I have found that rules and regulations tend to be too general
in relation to situations and their inflexibility might not always be
I also feel it is somewhat irresponsible for me to point to a piece of
paper and say, "Well, the by-laws say I must react in this way." Suddenly
it's not my responsibility, it is the by-laws that require this to happen.
I think what we want is for boys to understand that they are responsible
for what they do. With that in mind I become responsible for how I react
to that Scout and that situation. I do what I believe is fair and just
based on my conscience and feeling of responsiblity, not based on what a
set of by-laws tells me to do.
I am a unit leader. I am responsible for what happens within my unit.
Things happen because I make them happen, or because I allow them to
happen, positive or negative.
Every problem that occurs presents a learning experience and an
opportunity for growth. I believe the Scoutmaster Conference is an
appropriate tool or medium for managing/implementing that opportunity
based on the merits of the situation, the intricate nature of the
relationship between the Scoutmaster and Scout, and the individual traits
of the Scout in question.
Parents and Scouts will have to put more trust in me and my abilities to
deal with problems than they do in a piece of paper. If they lack that
level of trust in me, then either they or I am in the wrong troop.
Those are just my thoughts.
I realize many other people hold opposite views.
Scoutmaster Troop 33