Part One (Part 2 immediately follows)
My son is a Webelos Scout and we visited an active Boy Scout troop recently. My oldest brother and grandfather were Eagle Scouts. My son is in a great den with a great leader and so far scouting has seemed a real good thing. My son seems quite motivated by the whole badge and rank-earning thing. I’m glad to have someone teach him “boy” things.
At the presentation there was lots of talk about this being boy-centered and parents not being allowed to accompany on events unless they were for the whole group. Okay. Also the *only *problems they have had with scouts recently has been with “interfering parents”. Dads are encouraged more then Moms but my son’s father lives out of town and is only spuratically available, so this is my responsibility primarily.
The comment was made that it comes time to cut the apron strings, and pass the baton. They seemd to be saying that that time was now and they were there to pick up the baton.
That statement was unsettling. I’m the one to discern when the strings need to be cut.
It was also explained how at campouts parents in attendance (and he really seemed to only put up with, not encourage parental involvement, and seemed far more encouraging of Dad involvement) have their own shelter to eat and commune in and the boys have theirs - and we are to “stay away” – let the boys be boys, its “their” campout. Lots of good talk about leadership skills. How they plan all their own events. And what a schedule they showed us! They have exciting and varied campouts every single month. Plus lots of other things.
One odd thing is they kept the parents outdoors while they talked to us, and the boys went in to sit in on the scout meeting inside. Later, because of cold, we moved into the tiny kitchen. The talk went on and on. Lots of it informative, but it almost felt as if we were being “kept” there tillthe meeting was over, and thats in fact when they stopped talking. So the parents missed the whole scout meeting. We were separated.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not imagining some secret clandestine stuff was going on. Its just that they seemed to be drawing the boundaries, and we parents were decidedly on the outside.
So, I look at this proposed future of growing boy-years of so much parentless boy activity. A long parade of weekend after weekend bonding with the troop boys. The boys plan it, look forward to it, and loyalty to the troop is encouraged.
I see its good for leadershiop skills, but it comes at the cost of so much time of formative years developing this close, close affinity and cooperation with a group of boys.
It seems like it would really form who he becomes as a man. Independant, competant, capable - and a man who really enjoys his buddy time with his guy friends.
Not necessarily a family man. Well these are good skills for a family man to have. I thought of my eagle scout brother, and he is certainly independant, competant, capable. I always looked up to him fo rthese traits. And he really enjoys his time with his guy freinds! He does a lot for his family too; he is no shirker of responsibility. But this summer I was comparing his marriage with that of my youngest brother.
(continued and finished in next post)