Every six months or so it seems that the discussion on knots come up. Now you all know that I am not talking about the bowline or two half hitches, or even a well placed figure 8. No I am talking about the knots that we wear on our uniforms, awards and recognition’s for training, service, and achievement.. primarily for adults.
The discussions vary in what to wear, how many to wear, why we should wear them and of course why not wear them? I have heard thoughts on the knots and been the recipient of many comments for the knots that I wear. I am not going to convince you what, where, when, and why you should or should not wear Scouting knots.. I am going to share my go to answer and talk about my knots.
First, Why wear them? Well, the basic answer is that I either earned them or they were awarded (presented) to me. I figure that if someone took the time to recommend me for an award, I should respect that and wear it. Mostly it humbles me to think that someone thinks enough of me to go through all the work or at least paper work to recommend the award or recognition.
Second, I wear the knots as a visible resume’. When meeting with new parents it shows a level of dedication, service, training, and experience in our program. Even if they are unaware of the meaning of the knots, it shows that I have been there and done that. Kind of like looking at a Scout with a full merit badge sash. Never mind that Finger Printing takes 10 minutes to earn.. it’s on the sash and adds to the visual list of what the Scout has done in Scouting. So I wear them to show what I have done and that I am dedicated to their son and the program.
What knots do I have and what do I wear? Well, as you can see in the picture I have a few knots. Starting with training, I have the Scoutmaster Training (Green knot), The Scoutmaster Key. I still wear on some uniforms my Cub Scout knots, the Cubmaster award, Den leader, and Webelos Den leader knots. Knots that were awarded are the Scoutmaster Award of Merit, The District Award of Merit, and The Silver Beaver Award. I also wear my Arrow of Light award. I also wear the James E. West recognition and William D. Boyce New Unit Organizer award. I take pride in what I have on my shirt. It is all about the program and how active I am within it.
I wear all of my knots on some shirts and just a few on others. It totally depends on the shirt and what I put on it when I purchased it. There really is no rhyme or reason, it is whatever I got when I went to the Scout shop that day. I try to wear them all though. I like consistency and think it is important to demonstrate that to our Scouts. I believe that everything that we do is modeling to our Scouts.
What does the BSA say I can or can not wear? It used to be a general rule that one only wore three rows of knots. That has since changed and there is no restriction or limit to the knots that you can wear. So it is up to you.
When people ask what the most important knot I have is I tend to struggle a bit. I am extremely proud to be a recipient of the Silver Beaver. I am honored to have been recommended and selected. I value that award as I know the people that submitted me for it and I am thankful that the Council committee saw fit to award it to me. The same goes for the Scoutmaster Award of Merit. It is no longer an award that can be presented. At the time it was awarded by the National Eagle Scout Association. That made it special to me as I never earned the Eagle Award. I don’t know, some sort of way I can associate with that honor… I know it’s a stretch, but hey.. it’s my mind and the way I think at times.
Clearly there is not one award that is great than the others, after all, it is what they represent and why I have them that matters.
Arguments against knots. I have heard most of them. The number one argument is typically that it is just vanity and the program is for the boys.
Yeah, the program is for the boys, but without adults it would just be a huge version of Lord of the Flies. We can’t have that can we. Vanity? I am not vain in any stretch of the imagination. I am proud and honored, but vain.. nah.
Regardless of the argument what I have observed is that those that argue about the wearing of knots by and large do not wear the uniform properly if at all. Now I am going to sound like the uniform police here, but, they typically do not wear their patches in the right positions and have rarely done anything to warrant the earning or presentation of the knots. Now I am not suggesting that they are bad people, but the uniform is a method of Scouting that should be executed properly. You all should know where I stand on that if you have read the blog for more than a year.
Wearing knots is not mandatory nor is it discouraged. I like to see Scouters wear their knots. It says something about their active Scouting life. They take the time to put them on their uniforms, and they show that they are grateful for someone thinking enough about them to put them in for the award. I like to see that they are trained and they value our program.
What is your feeling when it comes to knots? Do you wear them? What do you have? If you don’t wear them.. why not?
Leave a Comment and lets discuss this.. it won’t come up again for at least six months.
I am not sure how old or up to date this site is, I know it still lists discontinued knots, but it still gives you a good idea of the knots available and downloads for application or recommendation. Check out BSA Square Knot Guide. You can learn more about BSA Awards at the National BSA Awards Center site.
Have a Great Scouting Day!