Monday, September 11, 2006

Cub Scouts stole my free time

We just came back from the first official Cub Scout pack meeting of the year. We've been involved for about a month and I'm already wondering "how the hell did THAT happen?" My boys are the perfect age and I personally believe in what Scouting has to offer. But now, after just a few weeks of associating myself with this group, I am more involved than my sons are.

A week ago I volunteered to be Assistant Den Leader for my son's den. The Den Leader was grateful because they normally try to keep the dens around 6-8 boys in size, but because of new kids and transfers, this den is bursting at 12. When she informed the Pack Leader (the leader of the dens), I saw a gleam in his eye that left me just a little frightened. That gleam smacked of "he's one of US now!" And tonight I stepped up and volunteered to take over the pack's monthly newsletter.

Actually, I'm looking forward to it. I haven't had an outlet for community service for a long time. Last year I volunteered in my sons' school one morning a week, but, even though I felt like I was able to influence a few young minds and help out an overworked teacher, it wasn't enough. And I admit that I've always wanted to become involved in scouting as an adult. My own time as a boy scout was cut short by my parent's divorce. But the lessons I learned in that short, stunted year held on. It never occurred to me to get involved BEFORE I had kids of my own. Who knows, if I'd done that, I might not have chosen to have children.

Sorry. I digress. Scouting is like a cult. They draw you in and give you meaning. Luckily, this cult trains their members to be productive and caring members of society. The only bad thing about it is the one or two parents who are there to prove how good they are as parents and how good their child is. Almost all of the parents involved are there because they want to help make a difference in the lives of the children. In fact, it's that atmosphere that has pulled me in so hard and fast. But there's always one or two who want to use their children's success as a merit badge of their own. Not because they are proud of their child...there's not a thing wrong with that. But because they are proud of themselves.

Today as part of his homework, my youngest had to search the house for items that started with specific letters: C, F, H, W, and a few others. When he hit W, he was stumped. The rest of us started offering suggestions: Watch, Wheel, Loudon Wainwright III. The one that he grasped was "Wife." My wife suggested he write something like "My father's wife blah blah blah." He wrote "Wife. 39 years old. She is fun to have around."

Needless to say, I'm freaked. I mean, hey, he's 6 years old. I read Oedipus Rex. I have a degree in Psychology. I'm watching my back. And if he starts working on his Assassin Badge at the next Den meeting...I'm moving out.

Playing on XM: Kodo

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