Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Making Choices

Kids have all kinds of ways to spend their time. Some of these are good, some better, some best. It's up to each boy, with the counsel of his parents, teachers and leaders to learn how to distinguish which is which.

Scouting, in large part, is about making choices. Where do we want to go camping? What will we eat? Which bandage is best for this sucking chest wound? Do I support my team at the game, or support my patrol on the hike this Saturday? In making these choices, boys learn that you can't have it all. You have to pick and choose, and live with the consequences. Parents, especially, need to understand this fundamental aspect of the program. I sometimes feel that we over-schedule our kids, pack their days full of stuff, and make all the decisions for them, leaving them no opportunity to really exercise agency.

In preparing for an upcoming activity, I had the opportunity to help a parent understand that there are choices that boys have to make. Our patrol has an activity on Saturday. Sports are played on Saturdays, too.  Both have mutually exclusive time constraints - you can't do both, nor can you do either part-way. It's one or the other.  (Not unless we leave for a hike at O-dark-thirty, and besides being stupidly unsafe, I don't even get up at that time to go to work.)

I try to provide the opportunities that boys need to succeed in Scouting, and they're always welcome to attend.  If they decide that it's not an option at this time, that's OK, but their schedules are not my problem, and I'm not interested in competing with every single other time demand. Either I'm providing something that they (and their parents) feel is worthwhile, or it isn't. For those to whom Scouting is just another Church meeting (with no time- or monetary commitment laid out), it's probably not; for those to whom Scouting is a life-development program, it is. Everyone makes their own bed.

On the other hand, I thought we'd do a conservation service project next month, but lamentably I've decided against it. Not because it's not worthwhile, but I will not commit to an organization when I can't guarantee that I can provide bodies to do the work. That's a choice to preserve my sanity and integrity.

1 comment:

Fishgutts said...

Priorities.......sometimes parents and the boys have them all mixed up. And I like you don't do a lot of service for others because like you I won't personally commit to something I can't make sure we can do.

Love the line about the sucking chest wound.