Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Did You Really Earn It ?

I work with the Boy Scouts and really love it.  Seeing the boys become young men as they learn and grow and accomplish things they didn't realize they could is very rewarding.  I've been fortunate to see some boys I worked with in Cub Scouts move all the way through Scouting and achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, which I never completed.  It is impressive to see how they have expanded their knowledge and skills to truly earn this award.  At each rank advancement you can literally see the maturity and personal growth.

But there is a dark side to these achievements, which I hate seeing but am powerless to stop.  In fairness, I am also judging without proper knowledge of what has actually transpired.  But the difference is noticeable which supports my concerns at least enough to leave a few open questions.  The dark side is the parents of boys in Scouting who are so supportive of their son's progress, that they may be circumventing the 'Do Your Best' motto in exchange for a 'Get It Marked Off The Checklist For Eagle' approach.
- Boys that come to scout Board of Review meetings with a stack of already signed (by one of their parents) Blue Cards ... but can't tell you much of anything specific about what they did to earn said Merit Badges.
- Young men who begrudgingly stand in front of small crowds to ask for help on their Eagle project ... but then at said Eagle project, demonstrate more typical teenage boy behavior (standing around, sneaking off, pretending to 'work' while actually just carrying things around) than that of the Project Leader they should be acting as - a role filled by one or both parents in this case.
- Boys or young men (who you have worked with for over 3 years), who may have gained some knowledge or experience, but who likely couldn't go camping, or properly plan for a hike (let alone any other outdoor activity), etc.

My only solace, and it is just a perceived one for now, is that these boys (whose parents seemingly did most of the work for them) will one day face an Eagle Scout Board of Review ... alone.  I have never actually observed or been a part of one of these reviews, but from what I have heard, they can be grueling if the young man hasn't really achieved the Eagle Scout rank requirements.  Of course I do not want any young man to have a horrible Board of Review experience, but they need to become aware that true accolades, such as the Eagle Scout award, are but the shiny object atop the real benefit: personal strength and growth.  Perhaps these young men will opt-out themselves from the process and in that exchange with their parents will demonstrate some of that maturation they could have gained during Scouting activities.  That's my hope anyway.

Song Of The Day:
Hard work is essential for growth.  'Do Your Best' is a motto for giving all you can give, not just what your parents say is enough.  This is a lesson that, if learned in childhood, will surely proper that individual to much greater success in 'the real world' but without it the song "Ain't It Fun" by Paramore suggests a much more challenging reality (albeit sarcastically).


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