This morning, while waiting for Little Brother’s basketball game to start, I was talking with his Cub Scout den leader (whose son was on the opposing team). He mentioned that after next weekend’s Blue and Gold Dinner, which will feature the boys’ crossover into Boy Scouting, his son probably will not continue in Scouting.

That’s a shame.

At first I thought that the boy just didn’t feel like Scouting was for him. I told the den leader that my older son had felt that way for a while, and we asked him to just give it a certain amount of time. If he still didn’t like it after that time, he could walk away.

Apparently, though, that wasn’t the case. This young man is having academic difficulties in school. His parents are considering after-school tutoring to help him improve his reading skills. That’s a good course of action to take, and I hope that it helps. But then, the den leader went on, they had decided that if he does go to a tutoring center, he won’t be allowed to go to Scouts until his grades improve.

That’s an even bigger shame. Before the opening buzzer to the game sounded, I tried to convince this dad that Scouting was definitely worth the investment of time, and that his son would learn about managing his time as part of his Scout training.

I probably failed, unfortunately.

In this town (and many towns surrounding mine) the emphasis is ALL on sports. Little Brother is one of the few boys his age who is held to a strict “one sport per season” limit. I’ve known several kids who play on two or more teams for the same sport during the same season, and always wondered what happens when the inevitable schedule conflict comes up. The boy in question here plays multiple sports in a season, sometimes on travel teams whose games are an hour or more away. I’m not against sports–my kids are athletes too–but a steady diet of nothing but sports is awfully limiting for an eleven-year-old.

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.–the Boy Scout Law

Yes, you’ll get some of that in sports. Ultimately, though, the goal in sports is to win. The goal in Scouting is to fulfill that Law. By doing so, it’s not only the Scout who wins.

And when a child’s punishment for poor grades (or poor conduct) is removal from his Scout troop, he definitely loses.

6 thoughts on “Priorities

  1. Scouting is so good for kids! They do learn time management skills and lots of other things that they might not be exposed to otherwise. There is some debate here among my homeschooled, not-sport-fanatic friends whether to keep a child out of scouts for a week or two as punishment while they get their school-act together, or if it's part of the curriculum. I guess that depends on the child.

  2. If the parents dropped all outside activies to focus on academics, then I can see that they would be well intentioned. But not if the only thing dropped is Scouts. I agree, the lessons learner there are for-life and worth the sacrifice.

  3. I agree that Scouting should be the last thing you drop. All three of my boys did both sports and scouts. In their post-high school years, it is the lessons learned from scouting that have made the bigger impact on their lives. To address the proposed changes to scouting, it is important to clarify that the proposed changes do not necessarily mandate that homosexuals be allowed into scouting. It would be up to local units to make that decision. Therefore, a Catholic troop could specify that all leaders must be living according to Catholic principles.

  4. The information I have about the proposed changes in Scouting reflect what Denise says, above. My husband is a Cubmaster (moving back up to Boy Scouts this year as our son moves up) and our troop is sponsored by our Catholic parish. What concerns him is that if an individual troop made such a specification, a lawsuit could be directed at the sponsoring organization as well as the individual leaders.

  5. That's too bad. Our son did Cub Scouts for two years, although the second year he missed many meetings because he had Sacrament class (his scout group was through public school). He was interested in continuing, but we have the one sport per season rule, so he was already doing that, and our family just can't handle additional commitments right now. I wish we could. We are hoping he can join Conquest when he's 11, because he's already expressing an interest in a vocation.

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