Thursday, September 9, 2010

So Long, Scouting!

It’s been a tough week in Arbyville. That’s why new posts have been missing. This past week I came to the inescapable conclusion that I hate scouting. “Hate” may be too strong of a word. Loathe? Detest? Despise? Abhor? I’m sure that if I thoroughly search a thesaurus I’ll find the right word. Suffice it to say that while I think the theory of scouting is wonderful, in practice it stinks. And the problem is with the adults. The kids are great.

I haven’t written much about scouting. The few posts dedicated to the subject have centered around my learning to camp and the realization that I enjoy cold weather camping far more than I enjoy warm weather camping. Besides being a fan of cold, snowy days and not being a fan of hot sweaty, bug filled nights, I learned right away that most parents will not camp in the cold. Winter camping means fewer adults to deal with.

Last Monday, I had the rare opportunity to take my sons shooting. We fired a variety of weapons in a safe, supervised environment. I wrote that last line for all the knee-jerk reactionaries who believe that all guns are evil and that I needlessly put my sons' lives in danger. At one point in the day I was kneeling next to Major Havoc, helping him steady a rifle. I had my arms around him while he fired his first real gun. It happened to be an 1897 pump-action Winchester .22 caliber rifle. It was an excellent weapon, one of many that we fired. The Major enjoyed firing a long bow and practicing throwing knives, a skill at which he is getting better. Both of my boys showed their proficiency with our pellet gun. They hit what they aim at.

Yes, ladies, I will give these same opportunities to my daughter when she is a bit older and calmer.

While holding my son I wished that I had had these opportunities with my dad. There was a time in this country when fathers taught their children how to handle and shoot a weapon. There were times in this country when eight year old boys carried rifles every day and no one was calling DCFS unless they were short of targets. It occurred to me that scouting is an attempt to artificially create experiences for boys that they should be getting at home, like how to safely carry and use a pocket knife, how to strike a match, how to start a fire. The list is endless. I enjoy teaching these skills to my sons, and I get to do far more of it because I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling dad.

Last week I experienced troubles with both the boy scout troop that my older son is in and with the cub scout pack where I was cub master. These troubles were the straws that broke the camel’s back. The camel has been suffering from scoliosis for three years. I took off my scout shirt late Tuesday night for the last time. While there are adults in scouting I truly like and respect, and with whom I enjoy working and camping, there are too many more adult scouting Dementors sucking the soul out of anyone who comes near them. I learned through all of this that I do not have the right temperament to deal with the diverse personalities of the adults in scouting. I do not have the patience for the politics brought to the table by adults who are emotionally stuck in junior high.

I stepped down from my leadership position, and I feel like I’ve had a piano lifted off my back.

14 comments:

Brownie said...

Bravo!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Linda said...

This comes just as we're about to sign Jimmy up for scouting?!?! Maybe Chicago folks are less political than Kansas folks?? Yeah. Right. :-/

L. said...

BRAVO is right!!

Subvet said...

Well said. Too many folk rely on surrogate parents in organizations like the Scouts. You know whats best for your kids, their memories of your time and involvement will be more precious than the same thing from a stranger.

And the Scouts DO suffer from the same problem as other organizations such as Little League, Sea Cadets, etc. There are too many "adults" who do it for their own ego gratification.

TobyBo said...

I am sorry about your camel's back. And I am LOL about "older and calmer."

Oklahoma Granny said...

Glad your boys are learning to use and care for guns and such from their dad. A group of us were talking about guns one day over lunch. One of the men who is just about my age said he grew up on a farm and went to a small school. He took his .22 to school everyday and during recess the Ag teacher would take the boys out to practice their shooting skills. Mind you, he said he was in 1st grade when he started doing that.

Papa Bear said...

Bummer when "adults" act like that. Enjoy your time away from the organization and with your kids!

I enjoy Civil Air Patrol, and have made some friends there, but the cadets are the real reason I joined.

Eat, Fart and Bark said...

I'm glad you have lifted to load off your back. Did you just gain an inch in height?

The_Kid said...

That is sad about the scouts being in such a state that you'd quit. Well, what I enoyeyed the most about scouting was:
-shooting 22 rifle
-bow and arrow
-canoeing
-hiking and navigation
-survival skills.

Sounds like you can do all that for your kids on your own.

Mama Bear said...

I think all boys should learn to fire a weapon properly. I think it's great that you take the time to do that. And yes, girls too if she interested, but as you said older is better.

Opus #6 said...

I have been struggling with the idea of signing my boys up for scouting. I guess I can give the troop a look-see and change my mind later. I will probably do that. I have heard tales of oddness in the upper levels of scouting administration. Like demanding bribes (donations) for getting awards at dinners and such. Not impressive. But I am hoping at the grass-roots level, hiking and camping and all, it will help me to organize these activities with my boys, especially as I am a single mother now.

Marlis said...

Aside from the fact that Missy is too allergic to 'scout' I've seen the other mothers and there just isn't enough Pecid AC to get me through a day with those ladies....

Arby said...

Marlis...BINGO!