But this is the time of year where I start asking myself why we choose to put so much effort into scouting. I'm going to start a discussion in my BlogFrog community (check the left sidebar for a link!) about this too, I think...
What Boy Scouts means to my family:
- My boys get to hang out with Godly men, and men-in-training, who aren't necessarily related to them.
- Scouts pushes me into doing many of the things that I mean to do, but don't get around to. Connor having to cook breakfast on his first Boy Scout camping trip pushed me (and made him highly motivated too!) to work on cooking skills at home, for instance.
- Scouts gets the kids doing things in front of a group. Whether that be silly skits, leading the pack/troop in reciting the oath, leading the prayer for the pack, or just being up front being recognized for what they have earned -- all gets them in slightly uncomfortable situations, but not too uncomfortable. And it leads them to doing bigger things -- like giving a 5 minute speech on what to do in the event of lightning, flash floods, or tornadoes. Connor is supposedly doing that on Monday.
- Scouts gives the kids a chance to persevere through lots of people telling them 'no' when doing popcorn sales.
- Scouts gives them a chance to try all kinds of things without a huge commitment. Belt loops in Cub Scouts, for instance, can mostly be earned in a couple of hours. A couple hours to explore geology or table tennis... no need to master anything, just try it out. Boy Scouts is a little more involved, but many of the merit badges can be earned in a week or so, with a bit of effort.
- Scouts gives them a chance to learn from the older kids and to teach each other or the younger kids.
- Scouts gives them the opportunity to mess up in a relatively safe environment. And they can see other people making mistakes too.
- Scouting lets them give back to the community. They can ring bells for the Salvation Army. They can pack Christian materials into boxes for children of prisoners. They can volunteer at the library. They can collect diapers and formula for a homeless shelter. They can put in flower beds in the community. They can ship candy to soldiers. They can hand cards out to veterans. Okay, they can do all these things without scouts. But scouting gives them far more variety in opportunities than their mother is going to come up with herself.
Just rambling off the top of my head here... what did I miss?