Thursday, November 11, 2010

Boys and Boy Scouts

I was dragged into Boy Scouts kicking and screaming.  “Boy Scouts is something a boy does with his father”, I said.  “Boy Scouts is about bonding between a boy and his father”, I explained.  “I’m a girl for goodness sake!  I was a Girl Scout, but I know nothing about Boy Scouts except that they always teased us about smelling like Brownies” I argued.  But, my husband, who not only signed Teen Boy up for Cub Scouts (with my support) when he was in First Grade, but signed himself up as a Den Leader (without my knowledge), worked 70 miles from home and needed a Thanksgiving craft for the meeting that night.   Couldn’t I please come up with something “just this once”, bring it to the meeting and get them started?  He would go right there from the road, and, “the Assistant Den Leader will be there.”  Hold on.  Stop the train.  There’s an “Assistant Den Leader”??  Why isn’t HE doing this then?  “Well, I couldn’t get a hold of him.”  Great.  Fine, I can’t let all those little faces down.  $30 and a couple of hours later, I had all the makings for those Thanksgiving Turkeys you can make out of cookies, candies and frosting.  I had paper plates for them to work on, plastic knives for the spreading of frosting, and wipes.  LOTS of wipes.  Not my first time at the rodeo, no siree.  Boys and frosting, candy and cookies equals mess.  I was not about to send these boys home with sticky frosting everywhere and have their mothers call me the next day to scold me.

I fed the boys dinner, packed activities for the toddler, packed the craft items, and got the everything and everyone loaded up in the car.  There was no turning back now.  I’d made a promise to my husband, and I was going to keep it.  Moreover, I promised my son, my beaming, cherubic Tiger Cub, that we would have lots of fun at Scouts tonight.  He was thrilled.
We got to school early, and I got everything set up.  I got the tables covered with brown paper, had everything lined up.  I had managed to get a hold of  the Assistant Den Leader’s wife (who, upon hearing the situation, immediately filled her voice with relief that it was me, not her, in this predicament), and she promised me that she would tell her husband that he was in charge of everything else that went on at the meeting (whatever that was) if my husband ended up being late.

Thirty minutes later, the gym was filled with 1,000 screaming, crazy Tiger Cubs.  Okay, it was really only 7 or 8, but it seemed like 1,000.  And Dads.  There were 7 or 8 Dads, and me.  Feeling just a bit overwhelmed, and trying not to run out of there as quickly as I could to the Ladies Room, and then my husband walked in.  He took off his coat, and having stopped to change into his Scout Shirt, took charge.

My husband is a formidable man when you first see him.  He’s 6’10” tall, and about 240 pounds.  When you’re 6, I’m sure that’s even more formidable.  Instead of whistling to get their attention, or yelling “Hey!”, I watched in amazement as he quietly held up his right hand in the “peace” sign.  Almost instantly, that crowd of 1,000 crazy, loud boys stopped, ran over to where he was, stopped all noise, and copied his sign.  It was a miracle!

The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance, the Cub Scout Motto, and Law.  The boys worked on several things in their books with my husband, and then it was my turn.

After the Dads (most of them begrudgingly) had the boys wash their hands (I’m not only a Mom, I’m a nurse…so I’m REALLY a stickler for hand washing), I explained the craft.  I let the boys make two each; one to eat now (Sugar high, anyone?  Not one of my brighter moments), and one to bring home to show Mom.  They could eat the second one when Mom said they could.

And then in happened.  As those boys frosted and pieced their wobbly turkeys together, I got hooked.  I drank the Kool-Aid as we Scouters call it.  Heck, I had a damned IV of the stuff.  There was no way I couldn’t do this again.

Boy Scouts is the single best activity outside of Church you can get your sons involved in, I believe.  Boy Scouts is NOT about father-son bonding, it’s about family bonding.  Our best family memories have been around Scouting.  Camping, hiking, biking, fishing, you name it.  I firmly believe that I would not have the relationship I have today with my boys if I had not become a Scouter.

As a woman, and the mother of two boys, it is very important to me to show the boys that women can do anything men can do (sometimes even better).  Through Scouting, I have showed them that women can lead successfully, and have men listen to them, respect them, follow them, and treat them as equals.  What greater gift could I give them as their mother?

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