If you recall, I have alluded to this subject two times before, here in this attempt at being funny or this change of tune here that only lasted a couple of days.
Drum roll please...
We are talking about nothing other than the Boy Scouts of America program. Hereafter to be referred to as BSA.
Before I begin my
rant writing, I will first remind myself of the conversation I had with my uncle recently. My uncle is someone I admire. I admire his humbleness, his faith and his perseverance in life. So with that admiration intact, I broached the subject of the BSA program with him at a recent family event. I clearly stated my objective in my initial question, "What are your thoughts on the BSA program?" His initial reaction,
"Well first off all, you must remember it is a church (LDS) supported program."
His response struck a slight humbling reaction in me, yet I still spewed forth my BSA rhetoric. (I guess I figured if I spewed my BSA rhetoric once before to a 'high up' BSA/LDS official (who really shall remain nameless) I could again amongst family!)
And so I pose my questions:
What other calling within our faith requires a leader to purchase a $30 +/- piece of clothing?
Why do we from our pulpit encourage our members to pay generously to the leaders that will be coming to our houses to collect money that will be sent to pay BigWigs salaries, overpriced awards, etc? (For the record, I DO NOT pay 'Friends of Scouting'. And in fact, when a member of our bishopric recently said to Mike and me, "Oh, I have the Friends of Scouting envelope to drop by." I replied, "Don't bother. We won't be paying. Have you seen the mark-up of items at the Scout Store recently?"
What other group (youth or adult) in our church requires $50-$60 spent to participate? (Shirts, books, scarves, optional belt, etc.)
What other group in our church spends $1000's dollars each month for some scraps of material/pieces of metal to be sewn on shirts, worn for a couple of years and then stored away in a box in the attic for decades?
What other group in the church takes unnecessary risks in the winter weather to attend winter camp-outs for the sake of maintaining good standing for a BSA award?
When has a YW group gone on a camp for more than 4-5 days. Yet boys AND THEIR LEADERS WHO MAY HAVE LIMITED VACATION DAYS typically stay Monday-Saturday at a BSA camp?
What other calling within the LDS church requires back-ground checks?
What other program (in or out of the LDS church) places so much emphasis on boys receiving one particular award that alone suddenly makes them 'credible, responsible, trustworthy, honest and a man of character'?
Why in the world would parents place demands/conditions/rewards that can not be fulfilled until a particular award is earned? Is that award really what you want the emphasis to be on? And don't give me the 'It will teach them to be responsible, dependable, etc. etc.' Because that just feeds into the whole line of thinking that there is no other way to have honorable, worthy men of character without the BSA program!!!
Aagh-this whole thing is wearing me out.
What about you?
Now, I know enough about extra-curricular activities to know that being a Cub Scout and/or Boy Scout is actually a very good deal (financially) and an extremely beneficial program physically, mentally, spiritually, socially, etc. etc. But extra-curricular activities are chosen based on family situations; be them financial or time-concious. And on a child's personality and interests.
If you have paid any attention to my family or my blog in the past, you know my son Luke, well enough to know he is a prime candidate for the BSA program. He completed his Bobcat requirements in less than a week, his Wolf requirements in less than six months. And so I will admit, that even if we lived somewhere obscure and had no LDS affiliation, I would most certainly look into the BSA program for him to join as an EXTRA-CURRICULAR activity.
Mike and I have both taken our turns as leaders within the BSA program. Besides having brothers involved in the program, my first personal introduction to it was as a leader when I had one six-month old baby girl. Mike has served several times within the BSA since his involvement with it as a youth. I have mixed feelings about serving in the program as leaders. Sometimes I blow steam and say, "We will completely separate from any and all BSA associations as leaders and thus, will have to separate our children from it too." But is that really fair to my boys, in our society? That's a hard question, that probably only Mike and I can answer.
Referring again to my BSA chat to a 'high up' BSA/LDS official, I was told that within the LDS church, there should be far more emphasis on the priesthood within the Young Men Program (Duty to God) than on BSA. Sounds great in theory, but I don't think that is the case...
More often than not when I share my BSA thoughts, I have people agree with me. Even if not entirely, they do partially. Sometimes I wonder if all in the name of being good, faithful, obedient members of our faith, our passiveness is misinterpreted and is not doing anything to cause a little change.
In my humble opinion, I think it is perfectly ok to have and share our opinions.
I'm just sayin'...