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Boy Scout Court of Honor ... or a degradation in manners in modern society (vent)


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I just returned from a very frustrating Boy Scout Court of Honor. I am the refreshment mom, which means I order cakes, serve them along with beverages. It is a family affair as dh, ds14 and dd10 help out. I must be getting crotchety in my old age. I nearly went "volcano-mom" on a couple of kids tonight over the lack of manners.

 

There were two younger siblings who were not being supervised by their parents. I was somewhat annoyed with this because there were leaving the room where we were and venturing into areas we are not allowed to use. Second, they kept coming over by the cake and telling me which piece they were "going to have" and wanted me to save those pieces for them. Now, there were over 100 people at this ceremony, so I had 2 sheet cakes to cut and serve (but only had room to put one out at a time.) Once that cake is gone, I have to rush to get the other cake cut. I certainly didn't have time to select make sure they had their piece.

 

Then, the little girl (maybe 4 or 5) told me she wanted to help. Well, this kind of help means me babysitting them. BTDT - the last time I allowed kids to help, they made a huge mess in the bathroom when I sent them in to wash their hands. Not the way to keep your chartering org. happy.

 

They have a rule that parents and siblings get served first while the scouts put the room back together. No scouts get any refreshments until their job is done and no seconds until everyone has had firsts. Sounds reasonable, eh? Well, the greedy little children just came up and tried to take seconds and said their mom said it was OK. Then, some younger scouts came up and just took seconds while the older scouts were finishing up. I told them that they were ineligible for seconds until further notice and made a few people mad. Then the little girl who "wanted to help" told me that her mom said she could have a half-piece for seconds. Um. NO. I think I made her cry. This was as I was furiously cutting cake to serve to keep up with demand (and so we can get out of there.)

 

I didn't even get to explain to the younger scouts my rule for seconds ... basically, it is a stalling technique where they have to count to 10 in 3 other languages and only after people have had firsts. I always feel bad if any of our hard working scoutmaster or ASMs, who may have been busy answering parent questions or taking care of business, don't get cake after all the hard work they do for the troop.

 

I am just so tired of a lack of manners and parents not supervising their children. I have a job to do and I don't have time to do their job for them.

 

So, after venting to a mom on committee, we came up with this solution. Any child helpers must have one of their parents helping me and supervising the young helper - so I don't end up being a babysitter. I talked to the new SPL who will loudly reiterate the refreshment policy of no cake for scouts until the work is done and anyone wanting seconds needs to go around and ask the guests if they have had their cake yet.

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I would make a sign up to have next to the refreshment area. On it put that you will not reserve certain pieces for people, you will not have children other than those previously assigned (ie. your kids) helping, you will not give out seconds until everyone has been served etc. If they ask you in the future, point to the sign.

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I would make a sign up to have next to the refreshment area. On it put that you will not reserve certain pieces for people, you will not have children other than those previously assigned (ie. your kids) helping, you will not give out seconds until everyone has been served etc. If they ask you in the future, point to the sign.

 

 

:iagree: It is hard enough trying to serve 100 people. You don't need the aggravation of having to explain the rules to people over and over, nor having to babysit other children.

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We attended a Court of Honor this past summer. The Cub Scouts there were horrible! The event was on a large boat that cruised along the river. The younger boys kept jumping trying to touch a dangling belt from one of the life jackets stored in the ceiling of the interior section and knocked the support out so the whole pile of life jackets came tumbling down onto the table bearing gifts, snacks, and the cake. None of the Scout leaders or Scout parents said anything to the boys while they were jumping around. I am proud to say that it was the quick reflexes of my dh (I'm slow as molasses) that saved the cake, as he dove over the table to protect it from the shower of PFDs. No one even thanked him.

 

My dd had to threaten the sister of the new Eagle Scout with tales of exorbitant fines for littering along the waterway to keep her from throwing aluminum drink cans overboard to see if she could hit ducks. The sister was 12yo. The Cubs were running all over the deck and one collided head on with the captain of the boat. No appology.

 

Because we care about the young man who was honored, we attended the ceremony. Unfortunately we left with a rather bad feeling about the future of Scouting in our area.

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Actually, Boy Scouts has been a positive experience for us. However, the younger siblings at this court of honor were the ones who were pains in the butt - their parents weren't watching them. Most of the time, I have handled things well. There were 2 or 3 rude younger scouts. I was able to "train" some of these greedy grabbers in the past through humor. I just didn't have the patience tonight. I talked to a committee member and she said they will be discussing the issue tonight and it will be addressed. They don't want to lose me as the "cake lady."

 

Scouts can be great if you have good leadership. It can be terrible if you don't. While they are supposed to be boy-led troops, good adult leaders know that leadership isn't learned in a vacuum and mentoring is necessary. But, it isn't for everyone. My middle son hated it. He doesn't particularly like outdoors stuff and he really has no patience for squirrel-ly boys (so basically, he has almost no friends his age;)) or loud situations (troop meetings are like organized chaos - lots of boys in one room doing different things.)

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I'm so sorry about your experience! I just went to my first Court of Honor last month and it went rather well. It was Very Crowded but the scouts were pretty well-behaved and not too many littles were about. Most of the littles were being closely supervised by parents. Maybe the difference is this is an all-homeschool troop where they expect parental (i.e. Dad's) participation.

 

I'm glad to hear the leaders are backing you up. I do recall, now, that the "no seconds until everyone has been served" rule was announced at the beginning. Maybe your troop just needs to be reminded at each event.

 

Cinder

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I don't see anything abnormal about the kids asking what they asked (and would have heard much the same thing when I was a kid, which was a long, long, time ago) though I understand the annoyance factor when you are very busy. I do see some of the actions as rude, but I view bringing up children to have manners as something that a community of adults contributes to.

 

I also don't see anything wrong with the adult simply stating the expectations: "I'm sorry, sweetie. It's not possible for you to help tonight.' "Sorry, we aren't able to save certain pieces for people." "Sorry, guys, the rule is no seconds until....." etc. A reminder of the "no seconds" rule would be in order. Generally, kids are much more likely to do what they are expected to do when it is spelled out for them proactively like that--before there are transgressions.

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I think it's selfish for kids to already plan which piece is "theirs" and asking someone to hold it for them. It's normal for kids to have moments of selfishness, but it's just as normal and necessary for an adult to say "NO" to them. How about adults teaching kids to think of others first? (not talking to OP, speaking to the parents of the children with selfish requests.)

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We're heavily entrenched in Scouts.....

 

We also have the 'scouts last' rule. If there would be pushy little ones, I would simply take them to their parents and tell them to keep them with them. It would also be an issue at the next Committee mtg and Scout mtg. You can count on that!!

 

We had an incident this summer on a canoeing trip. One father broke the 'no swimming rule' at a particular dangerous spot and also allowed his bratty, uncontrolled son to break other rules. The Scoutmaster in charge of that event brought it up at the next Scout meeting, without mentioning names- just how it broke the line of authority and put people at risk of danger. That father got irate that he was 'singled out'- mind you, no names were mentioned, just that it was disrespectful and broke authority. The father then went to the Head Scoutmaster and then to the District commander- both of whom supported the other scoutmaster. I now can see WHY this man's son is disresptful and can't control himself- he's not made to at home and his father breaks the rules.

All organizations can have behaviour problems with children- even in Scouts and at church. The leadership must stress to the parents what EXACTLY is expected and what consequences would be if those guidelines are not followed. Encourage your committee to grow a spine and follow through, if they won't. One of the main reasons we love our troop is just because of the great leadership coming down from the top. It has been perpetuated through the 13 years we've been associated with it- all the new leaders are expected to hold to the 'company line'.

I hope the next meeting will be better managed for you.

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JVA, I am very impressed that the council backed up the leader! It seems like too often these days that doesn't happen. (not speaking of scouting here, just life in general.) Too often it seems like "those who complain are viewed as right" and the matter is dropped to appease the wrong-doer. How sad.

 

Happy that the right thing was done in that instance, though!

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Interesting timing of this post. I have been wondering if my boy was missing out by not being involved with scouts. Guess not. When he was little and we were involved it was pretty crazy. I am sticking with Civil Air Patrol for him, thank you very much. Eagle Scout or no....

I wouldn't be so quick to condemn. Scouts is wonderful. Eagle Scout is a great achievement and this troop is NOT the norm. Smaller troops tend to have better behavior from my experience.

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I was shocked by the poor order and discipline at the first CofH I went to. We have a new Scoutmaster who has set higher standards since then. I have had to enforce rules about portions and 'helping' at parties and at the snack stand I used to run during Pine Car Derbies, and I'm sure I offended some.

 

It sounds like you handled things as well as possible in the circumstances. But there are rude and thoughtless people who made it much harder than it should have been. The Scoutmaster should set out expectations in advance before the next meeting at which families will be present. We face the same issues, and often it's the parents who are surprised by the rules. Grrrr.:glare:

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Interesting timing of this post. I have been wondering if my boy was missing out by not being involved with scouts. Guess not. When he was little and we were involved it was pretty crazy. I am sticking with Civil Air Patrol for him, thank you very much. Eagle Scout or no....

 

I think there are problems in whatever group one attends. We also do Boy Scouts and have issues with parenting/siblings/friends. But I'll take that any day to the issues we had when doing a combined venture with one of our Civil Air Patrol sections. I seldom go ballistic, but that weekend I shot to Mars! We had a CAP leader (not adult leader) showing lewd pictures of his girlfriend at their prom as well as telling the younger boys exactly *what* she does for him. Well let's just say he didn't quite get to the telling part because I was all over it like a...well, let's just say there were some sad fellas that afternoon.

 

So...don't think that one organization is better than another. They are only as good as the people who are involved. If you have found a wonderful CAP group, stick with it, but don't be fearful of the Boy Scouts - they, too, have wonderful programs.

Edited by CynthiaOK
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I used to be afraid to reprimand other people's children, but after a few instances similar to the one you described I go for it now. Even if their parents are around. If the parents were not supervising, I would have told them (in a nice voice), "This is work for a grownup and kids are not allowed to help and you may either sit in that chair over there or stay with your mother." And flat out said, "the rule is that we do not save pieces."

 

I think that if you are nice but firm that most kids will listen. Even if their parents are around I think it is ok to say something like that. Maybe it will clue the parents in that they should supervise their kids more closely.

 

I, too, am fed up with parents who do not supervise their children. They seem to have this mentality that "kids need to learn to figure things out and work things out among each other." And I just cringe when I hear that because little kids need GUIDANCE to learn to work things out properly. Their silly philosophy creates bullies and rulebreakers.

 

I feel for you- that is so frustrating!

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My DD went to her first Court of Honor for Scouts last spring. We also had the cake problem. By the time DD got to the cake there wasn't any left. Many of the scouts had gone back for seconds before some people got firsts. Nobody in our family received a piece and DD started to cry. She is 5 and it was bedtime for her and it was a big night for her, so the disappointment about the cake sent her over the edge. :glare:

 

This year I am an assistant leader, one thing I plan to do is suggest that the cake server only allows one per person until everyone has had cake!

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I think it's selfish for kids to already plan which piece is "theirs" and asking someone to hold it for them. It's normal for kids to have moments of selfishness, but it's just as normal and necessary for an adult to say "NO" to them. How about adults teaching kids to think of others first? (not talking to OP, speaking to the parents of the children with selfish requests.)

 

Well sure it's selfish. But wasn't this a pretty young child? It's not like kids are born noble and slowly ruined by society (despite what my former ed profs seemed to think).

 

I'm not surprised by hearing the question was asked. I do agree that the op isn't obliged to accept "helpers", especially with food service. I think you just look at the seconds requester and say that there are still people who haven't had a serving and that you'll announce when seconds are available.

 

Our Courts of Honor have been pretty good. It's the pack meetings that leave me sad and speechless. Here you've got grades school aged boys up singing, doing skits and receiving hard earned awards. And the parents won't sit up front, won't stop talking with their friends and won't keep their younger kids quiet or at least under control.

 

I long ago lost my reluctance to correct other people's kids. There are too many people who don't care how much their kids' behavior is disrupting an event. My kids have had their moments, but I'm usually there correcting them when they do. (Maybe those parents never quite grew out of their own selfish phase.)

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Interesting timing of this post. I have been wondering if my boy was missing out by not being involved with scouts. Guess not. When he was little and we were involved it was pretty crazy. I am sticking with Civil Air Patrol for him, thank you very much. Eagle Scout or no....

 

This is an isolated case, no program, CAP or Scouts is without it's challenges....but the Eagle program is excellent and well worth the effort if you have a troop that holds up the ideals of scouting..CAP is awesome and I would find it hard to do both well...feel very proud that he's in a great program...but I wouldn't dismiss the value of scouting...

 

Tara

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"Sorry, guys, the rule is no seconds until....." etc. A reminder of the "no seconds" rule would be in order. Generally, kids are much more likely to do what they are expected to do when it is spelled out for them proactively like that--before there are transgressions.

 

It sounded to me like this is exactly the sort of thing she did, but the little darlings didn't want to take no for an answer. In some cases, they were egged on by their parents. Hence the exasperation.

 

Barb

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I don't see anything abnormal about the kids asking what they asked (and would have heard much the same thing when I was a kid, which was a long, long, time ago) though I understand the annoyance factor when you are very busy. I do see some of the actions as rude, but I view bringing up children to have manners as something that a community of adults contributes to.

 

I also don't see anything wrong with the adult simply stating the expectations: "I'm sorry, sweetie. It's not possible for you to help tonight.' "Sorry, we aren't able to save certain pieces for people." "Sorry, guys, the rule is no seconds until....." etc. A reminder of the "no seconds" rule would be in order. Generally, kids are much more likely to do what they are expected to do when it is spelled out for them proactively like that--before there are transgressions.

:iagree: I agree with this to a point and that is my big question:D Where were their parents???? It sounds like their parents were not doing their jobs:( IMHO.

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:iagree: I agree with this to a point and that is my big question:D Where were their parents???? It sounds like their parents were not doing their jobs:( IMHO.

 

THAT'S MY POINT. This little girl (maybe 5 or 6) and the boy (maybe 7 or 8) were a problem - leaving the room we are allowed to have despite being warned by leaders to pestering me several times to demanding a 2nd piece because "mom said it was OK." The parents did not parent them all night and they were both there.

 

It is not my job to teach manners all night long. Where is THEIR shame?

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