Today was the first day of my scout badge program. As some of you may know, either by following along via facebook/blog or those who talked to me personally, I have been worrying about this for quite some time, and rather excessively this past week.
It was a good but bumpy ride for all of us; 8 adults (2 den mothers) , 10 cub scouts and 2 additional siblings. There were segments that were a bit dry for the kids and the program went a little too long, and parts that were chaotic (like figuring out who had to pay admission and who didn't. And why was it so hard to assign partners for activities?) There were segments of the program I omitted on purpose due to lack of interest or they just didn't seem to fit in but worst of all were the segments that I forgot to discuss. Sometimes I caught myself in time and was able to backtrack, but there were pieces of information relevant to their badge that I completely forgot and I can't believe that I forgot and OMG I could just smack myself up the head for forgetting.
Overall the boys were pretty good but there's always that one kid. You know, the one who is never happy with where they are sitting, not happy with the activity at hand, the one who is too hot, too cold, is bored. The one who is probably catered to at home. I had an inkling that this was "that kid" when the following conversation took place. The boys were investigating a "crime scene" in which the victims are several crickets in a garden. The boys needed to figure out who was eating the crickets (not to mention leaving body parts around the garden.) They were provided a "detective kit" which included a magnifying glass, tweezers, baggy (for evidence), notebook, pencil and ruler. I had number cards and when the boys found evidence, they could request a card to take the place of the evidence, or to place next to evidence that could not be removed. I kept my hands on the cards, lest the boys get carried away with putting number cards down, play with the number cards...you get the idea.
"Give me a number card." said That Boy in a demanding tone.
"Give me a number card what?" I asked pleasantly, hoping he would pick up the hint that he needed to say please.
"I need a number card." He replied with a hard stare.
"You need a number card what?" I replied
"Give me a number card."
"Give me a number card what? You need to say something else."
I did NOT care for his tone and I was not going to let him get away with his tone of voice and attitude with no consequences. We both knew he needed to say please. He stared at me and I returned the stare until a den mother interfered. She admonished him until he finally caved and said please.
Oh it gets better. The boys return to the "crime lab" and meet the "suspects" which are a millipede, praying mantis, spider and grasshopper. The spider and grasshopper are both mounts, but the millipede and praying mantis are alive. I brought out the Millipede first and held it in the palm of my hand above the table. The boys were allowed to touch the millipede. As soon as I pulled the millipede out, That Boy wanted me to put it on the table, but given the attention span and activity of the boys, I was not comfortable allowing the bug on the table. I had too many near death or near harm experiences when an animal is allowed off my hand in the presence of children who are overly excited. The other boys chimed that request in as well and I smiled and told them they could touch the millipede but it was to stay in my hands. The other boys accepted the compromise, but That Boy would not let up. Put the millipede down. Why won't you put the millipede on the table. I want to see the millipede on the table.
The Praying Mantis was worse. I was given strict orders to keep the Praying Mantis inside the container at all times due to their tendency to jump and scurry without warning. I barely got the container on the table when That Boy was demanding that I open the lid. I told him and the other boys about this behavior, how they could just jump and run with no warning and because of that nature, I could not open the lid. I said that I would feel terrible if this praying mantis jumped off the table and got lost or someone accidentally stepped on it. I moved on to talk about the other features of mantids. I had just started talking about their grappling hook hands and the "deathly spines" on their arms when he gave me that same attitude and demanded AGAIN that I open the container. I looked him straight in the eye and told him it wasn't going to happen.
"This is stupid and a waste of my time." He fumed at me.
"If you don't like it, you can sit over there with the adults." I said calmly, motioning my head towards the adults who were sitting on the other side of the room against the wall.
He sat back against his chair, crossed his arms and pouted. He sulked for the remainder of the program.
Honestly I don't know how else I could have handled him. When he misbehaved, I was polite and smiled but remained firm. I tried to include him in any observations I made at the crime scene mat and made frequent eye contact with him. I'm not sure what other positive actions I could have taken with him.
I related this story to my husband when I got home. When I finished I said, "Yeah, like he was going to win a brat contest with me. I am the QUEEN of brats."
Wisely, my husband only smiled and laughed.