Thursday, January 03, 2008


I was at my son’s Pack Meeting last night and as with all scouting activities, Cub Scouts included, they began with a flag ceremony, the pledge of allegiance, and an invocation. It was the responsibility of the Wolf Den, of whom my son is a part, to do the flag ceremony and such. There are about 10 boys in the Wolf Den and so they lined up just outside the room and one of them came to the front and asked everyone to stand, then the flags were brought in, my boy was holding the US flag, they posted the flag and we recited the pledge, and were then told that we could sit.
Afterward, my 13-year-old daughter… in 13-year-old girl fashion... leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, “They didn’t do it right.”
“What didn’t they do right?” I asked. After all, if done in the proper spirit and with respect, almost anything goes… Right?
So she proceeded to tell me what the Wolf’s did wrong, and I proceeded to tell her that she was looking at the thing all wrong. The fact that an 8-year-old little boy stood up there in front of his den leaders, and all of the parents, and ran the flag ceremony all by himself was the important part of the whole thing. The Cub Master was there to help if he needed him, but he didn’t need him… and as a Scout Master that impressed the heck out of me, because I have teenage scouts who can’t do that. When I explained that to my daughter, she conceded the point that it did not matter a hill of beans that that little Wolf said, “You all can sit down… now,” instead of, “The audience may be seated.”
That, my friends, is the true purpose of scouting. I once heard an AM radio talk show guy say that Scouting was all about boys and patches, and that’s it. (He’s a local guy and generally has his head in a dark, unsanitary place, so I won’t tell you his name.) Personally, I believe him to be 100% wrong on this one. Scouting is not about the patches. The way some troops are run, you’d think that was the case, but it’s not. Take away the patches (please), take away the uniform (pretty please), take away the songs, and the skits, and all the rest, and what do you have? The boys. Our future leaders. Little guys who have the confidence to stand up in front of his parents and other adults and lead them in the Pledge of Allegiance.
That… my friends is Scouting.

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