“You’re going to go on a 15-mile hiking camp out this weekend and you want me to make you a turkey sandwich today?” I ask sarcastically, already knowing the answer.
“Yes,” my son will plead unsuccessfully. He knows perfectly well how to make his own sandwich. But, hey, who doesn’t like having someone else do all the work?
Scouts, that’s who. The longer my son is in the Scouting program, the more thankful I become to the men and women who make it all possible. Visit any troop around Dallas (and there are hundreds on any given day of the week) and you will find a room full of boys/young men and see another whole group of parent volunteers standing behind them.
Some guide the boy leaders, while others hold merit badge classes, or even drive the troop’s trailer to campouts. Everyone seems to pitch in when needed and the results are reflected in the faces and achievements of the young scouts.
I know, I know. I’m sounding like a sickly-sweet Scouting cheerleader right about now. Trust me, I had my reservations about Scouting in the beginning. The Boy Scouts have suffered over the years from predator pedophiles and misguided homophobes. And I wasn’t sure about the whole uniform thing. But the organization has survived all its internal and external problems and, today, as far as I’m concerned, stands out as one of the leading groups dedicated to making sure young boys become “prepared” adults.
Not only do I now know my son can make his own turkey sandwich at home, I know he can make his own fire on a campout. I also know he understands his history homework because he has his Citizen in the Nations merit badge. And I know that, if he can bury his poop on a campout, he can pick up his dirty clothes from the bathroom floor.
Ah, the power of Scouting. Gone are the days of my son thinking he can get away with slacking off or pretending he can’t do something. “Never do for a boy… ,” I remind my young Scout often these days. He acts outwardly disappointed when he hears it. But we both know in our hearts that he’s better for it. Thank you, Mr. Baden-Powell.