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Scouting Should Be Cool

This bumper sticker was proudly displayed in the back window of a car parked in front of me yesterday.  It was blocking the driver’s line of sight.  He (or she) must really be proud to sacrifice personal safety just to tell the world about his (or her) Eagle Scout.  I wonder if the eagle scout was as proud as his parents?

I was a scout and as far as I remember, I was OK with it.  I mean, I wasn’t hiding my merit badges from classmates or wearing a trench coat over my uniform on the way to meetings.  I enjoyed the camping, the knot tying, and the hanging out with other guys.  And while I didn’t achieve anything great like Eagle Scout status, I did learn some pretty valuable life skills.

Be prepared.
Help old ladies across the street.
Don’t wipe with poison ivy.

At least that’s what I remember.

Scouts are supposedly recognized by the following principles which, by the way, I can still recite:  Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

I can’t say that I ever got the knack of thrifty or brave but for the most part, I grew up following the other 12.  And they have not only served me well, they’ve made me pretty popular as I got older.  Friendly, courteous, and kind go a long way in this crazy stressed out world.

My son will become an Eagle Scout sometime in the next few months. He’s scrambling to get all the requirements finished before he turns 18.  And yes, I’m very proud of him.  But the sad thing is, scouting is not cool among his circle of friends or even in his high school.

I did a little research and found that some pretty cool people were scouts.  Hank Aaron, Neil Armstrong, Gerald Ford, and Steven Spielberg all became Eagle Scouts.  Not bad role models.  But kids today have different role models who probably weren’t scouts.

Now, I know there is controversy about the Boy Scouts of America and their policies on gay leaders.  But I don’t believe that’s why scouting is not cool.  Instead, I think it’s a problem that has gotten young boys off track since caveman days.  Good values are not as popular as athletic skills, good looks, or hip-ness.  And for what it’s worth, I’m 50 so I’m susceptible to broken hips-ness.

Whether it’s scouting, service organizations, or faith communities, our young people really need to be exposed to good values at an early age.  Otherwise, they make choices that can affect them for years.

If, however, we encourage young people to get involved in organizations that promote good choices over popular choices, we would develop a society of adults that would make us all proud.

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