Monday, April 25, 2005

I can't argue with Tommy about this

Roanoke Times Editorial Page editor Tommy Denton's regular column last Sunday mentioned no politics, only details of being a Boy Scout leader. As a pack Cubmaster (only because no one else would take the position), this is a subject close to my heart.

I had not associated with Scouts for over 30 years until my wife and I began taking in foster kids. I've been amazed at how far scouting exceeds my expectations of benefitting these children (Cubs, as opposed to Scouts, are only 7-12 years old). Whether participating in flag etiquette (raising, folding, acting as a color guard), fulfilling achievements promoting religious observance, persistence, or patriotism, the Cubs learn character lessons that schools have long abandoned as "too harsh" or "religious." Given some of Scouting's recent problems, I sometimes wonder if 100 years from now Scouts will be like the Jedi Knights -- scarce flamekeepers of values and ideas considered "superstitious" and impractial.

Sadly, fewer dads participate in Scouting these days. The adult leadership of today's Scouting seems to be about 50% female, or more, from what I've observed. Not that the women don't bring their own valuable perspectives to Scouting, but boys need men as models and as a source of affection, also. It never ceases to amaze me when a small Cub, whose dad I've never seen, approaches me at a meeting and awkwadly hugs me, just dying for male affection.

Too many men aren't there for boys these days. To his credit, Tommy Denton clearly is.