Accepting refugees

AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

If you follow the news at all, there’s no way to avoid hearing about what some are portraying as a grave threat to our country – an “invasion” by a caravan of “dangerous criminals” with plans to “attack our borders”. The claims are that there are “ISIS” “terrorists”  who are “unknown Middle Easterners,” “hardened criminals” and “very tough fighters” who are “bringing smallpox” and have intentions of spreading mayhem. Tens of thousands of military troops have been dispatched to the border to quell this “insurrection.”

Cooler heads realize that the caravan – many hundreds of miles from our border – is composed of, at most, a couple thousand people, mainly from Honduras. For these mostly women and children, many with nothing but the clothes on their back – shoeless, even – things are so bad in their home countries that they are willing to risk the trip Continue reading “Accepting refugees”

Who’s to blame when communication fails?

Have you, or your Scouts, ever played the game of Telephone? A group forms a circle, and the first person thinks of a message. He whispers it to the second person, and the second to the third, and so on, until it reaches the last person. The first person says his original message, and the last person repeats what he heard – usually hilariously different from the way it started. It’s a great illustration in the value of clear, accurate communication.

The need to get a message across clearly is important for any team to function effectively. Whether it’s a patrol, a unit committee or a Key 3 relationship, being on the same page is essential to successful group effort, and communication is the key. Failure of the message recipient to understand what they’re being told can cause the collapse of cross-functionality.

Who is responsible for clear communication? Continue reading “Who’s to blame when communication fails?”

A teaching moment

scout_sign_250“This is America. Go back to Mexico!”

“Build That Wall!”

These words are all too familiar today. You might expect to hear them at a rally for the current Republican presidential candidate. The outrageousness is reported by the news media for all to see and hear.

But, in this case, it wasn’t at a Donald Trump rally where the words were shouted.

It was at a Scout camporee.


Continue reading “A teaching moment”

A proving ground for manhood

manhood_200A lot of pressure is put on boys in our society to develop and exhibit characteristics and behavior that many view as typical masculine traits. Many people would give as examples of such traits toughness, perseverance, determination and confidence. Boys are told to “man up” or “be a man” when faced with confrontation or just everyday situations.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of sports, where winning is the goal and it takes a hundred and ten percent – or more – to realize it. And football seems to rank above all other sports in the perceived toughness factor.

Football in America is not just popular, it’s practically a religion. Continue reading “A proving ground for manhood”

Agreement without argument

megaphone_200It seems like every time you turn on the news or look at the paper, you see a story about how our national elected leaders seem to be incapable of getting any work done. Far worse than what was labeled as the “do-nothing” Congress of the Truman administration, our representatives seem to be constantly in a tug-of-war with each other. Very little gets done as a result, and even issues that make sense for the majority of the people fail because a wrench gets tossed into the works and the gears of governing stall.

Reaching a consensus doesn’t have to be that difficult. It takes the willingness on the part of all parties to settle for less than everything they want, and allow each other to hang on to their key principles.

At times it seems like the discourse at our unit committee meetings sounds a bit like the debate on the floor of Congress, but it really doesn’t have to. Continue reading “Agreement without argument”