A Parent's Call to Action

The following is a little long.  This information was released in a study conducted by the Boy Scouts of America about the Values of Americans.  If you have an opportunity to read this page we encourage it.  The information here speaks to the heart of scouting and why you, as a parent, should consider it for your child...

"American values and ethics are believed to be in a state of flux. Today, 
Americans face a bewildering range of lifestyle options, with complex 
and unprecedented decisions to make. With corporate ethics being 
questioned and the media reporting unethical individual acts, one 
wonders what values are important to Americans today. Do they still 
hold the same ethics and values as they did 10 years ago, or have the 
values of our society changed?

America prides itself on being a diverse country. It is a mixture of 
genders, races, ages, cultural backgrounds, and religious beliefs. This 
diversity brings with it a host of values, some that are held very strongly 
and acted upon, and others that are less vital in people’s everyday lives. 
On some value indicators, such as honesty, citizenship, and ethics, 
there are significant differences between the value younger and older 
Americans place on specific traits. There are also gender differences 
most often surrounding values related to family and community service, 
as well as racial and ethnic differences surrounding faith. Yet amid this 
diversity there are commonly held values involving family, country, 
personal responsibility, and ethics that bring us together as Americans.

Overall, American adults are satisfied with their personal lives. Most are 
happy with their current job or occupation and the person they turned 
out to be. They value having close family ties, lifelong friendships, and 
religious faith; this is especially true among women and Hispanics.

However, they are concerned about the state of American society and
the world today, and rightly so. Compared with men 10 years ago, 
fewer men today place a high importance on showing concern for their 
neighbors’ property, keeping their property clean and tidy, or attending 
religious services regularly. Measures of ethical beliefs have also declined 
since 1995. Fewer men today agree that being honest with everyone 
pays off, and that preserving our environment for future generations is 
very important. Fewer men also think it is absolutely wrong under all 
circumstances to smoke marijuana, and slightly more report smoking 
this drug.

American values related to ethical behaviors vary according to the 
perceived degree of the offense. They have a strong opposition to illicit 
use of hard drugs such as heroin or LSD, but have more lenient views 
on taking office supplies for personal use and speeding. Women are 
generally more strongly opposed to any unethical behavior than men.

Like adults, youth are more satisfied with their immediate lives than 
with American society or the world today. They feel safe in their 
immediate environment, such as their school and their neighborhood, 
but much less safe in the larger world. However, the feeling of safety 
varies by race. African Americans are less likely than whites to feel safe in 
their school or their neighborhood.

Also like adults, youth place a great deal of importance on family 
relationships; however, this importance declines with age. Girls are also 
more likely than boys to place a high importance on family relationships.  
However, all youth regardless of age and gender say that their parents are 
the most influential people when it comes to teaching values and ethics.

Youth are also generally honest and ethical. Most would not participate 
in dishonest or destructive acts, and very few report participating in 
acts such as carrying a gun to school, using hard drugs such as LSD, or 
shoplifting. However, like adults, they tend to participate in dishonest 
or unethical acts that they feel carry fewer consequences or that have 
higher peer pressure, such as cheating on homework or tests and 
drinking alcohol. Almost one in five youth has also participated in binge 
drinking or fighting another group of youth. It should also be noted that 
participation in each of these destructive or unethical behaviors increases 
with age.

Comparing youth in 1995 to youth today reveals some encouraging 
trends. Fewer youth today report shoplifting, cheating on homework, 
carrying a gun to school, or being a member of a gang.

Men who were Scouts agree that Scouting has had a positive influence on their lives, as well as on American society as a whole. Scouting has 
positively influenced their character development, self-confidence, 
interpersonal skills, and family relationships. In fact, compared with 
men in 1995, a larger number of men today say that Scouting activities 
improved their family life at the time they were Scouts, had a positive 
effect on their school life in later years, and positively influenced their 
career development and advancement as an adult.

Compared with men who were never Scouts, men who were Scouts 
five or more years as youth are more satisfied with their present lives 
and occupations, have sustained lifelong friendships, and place a higher 
value on family relationships. Men who were Scouts also earn higher 
incomes, achieve higher levels of education, and attend religious services 
more often then men who were never Scouts.

Boys who are or were Scouts also agree that Scouting is a positive 
influence in their life. Scouting has helped them gain self-confidence, 
leadership skills, determination, and social interaction skills. Scouting 
has also impacted their academic skills. Scouting activities have helped 
Scouts improve their reading, science, engineering, physical fitness, and 
emergency preparedness skills. In addition, boys who are Scouts report 
earning higher grades than do boys who were never Scouts.

Current and former Scouts are more active and have a wider range of 
interests than boys who have not been Scouts. They tend to watch less
television than other boys and engage in more extracurricular activities 
such as fine arts, hobbies, and school clubs. 
Scouts are also more likely to make the most ethical decisions, not 
the easiest. Scouts are more likely to volunteer to be a leader, practice 
responsible recycling procedures, and take part in community service.  
They are also more likely to report a classmate with a gun and are less 
likely than non-Scouts to drink alcohol.

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