Another milestone on the way to Man hood, Scouts. Recently several of the boys in our cottage decided to take that step into the unknown, secretive world of Cub Scouts. Forget all that you have heard about the Masons or Skull and Bones, this is the real deal.
Unfortunately scouting brings back painful memories of my own chubby child hood. I was a Scout up until the Pine Wood Derby. About two hours before the derby my Dad was able to sit down with me and put the car together. By that time I had already lost the axle wheels and was forced to use a couple of old rusted nails from my Grandfathers basement. We then pound the wheels on and headed for the derby.
I had no hopes of winning, but I had no clue how humiliating my loss would be. As the gate was opened to let all the cars roll down the ramp, my car sat still. On the second run my car stopped halfway down the ramp, much to the amusement of the crowd. And then I ended my Scouting carer by yelling “Son of a #%!$@”. The next thing I remember was sitting in the car with my very embarrassed and very angry parents discussing where they should dump my body (maybe that’s a little dramatic). I was done with Scouts, an outcast. That is until now.
Last night I found myself sitting in a dimly lit church basement with thirty kids and a Den mother that bears a striking resemblance to my old Drill Sergeant, reciting the Scout pledge. The Den mother than covered the Scout handshake and a few other traditions that make Scouts sound dangerous to all young boys.
I also learned that Rodney, the boy most likely to try and kill me, will learn to shoot a shotgun, start fires with a rock and some lint from his belly-button, and how to survive a night out in the wilderness of South Carolina when the temperature drops below 80 degrees. To a nine year old, this is Navy Seal type of stuff. To an old man like me, this is a homeowner insurance nightmare.
Rodney was also charged to go and sell popcorn to all the civilians and raise money for the troop. Just a few minutes ago I received a call from his teacher concerned about the wad of cash Rodney was walking around with in school. I learned he has already hustled $120 in popcorn sales on his first day. I’m guessing he wants the Corvette they promise you win if you sell enough popcorn tins to cover the national debt.
All joking aside, Scouts is a great thing and does more to promote personal and civic duty than any other activity a kid can do. It’s also a great way to get the kind of kids we have in residential childcare involved in the local community and to feel a part of something bigger than themselves. Support your local troops and try to get your kids involved, just don’t let them use any rusty nails for their pinewood derby cars… -Launch