Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

If I Had a Son

My Brother was an Eagle Scout. His son is a scout. My nephew is a scout. I know the scouts have been controversial in past years - but I'm about to give them a ringing endorsement... I freakin' LOVE the scouts. How could you NOT love an organization that is cranking out the future business leaders, boyfriends, co-workers, good friends, and maybe even husbands for your daughters who prescribe to the following code?


A Scout tells the truth. He keeps his promises. Honesty is part of his code of conduct. People can depend on him.
A Scout is true to his family, Scout leaders, friends, school, and nation.
A Scout is concerned about other people. He does things willingly for others without pay or reward.
A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He seeks to understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs other than his own.
A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows good manners make it easier for people to get along together.
A Scout understands there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. He does not hurt or kill harmless things without reason.
A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them.
A Scout looks for the bright side of things. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.
A Scout works to pay his way and to help others. He saves for unforeseen needs. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property.
A Scout can face danger even if he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at or threaten him.
A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He goes around with those who believe in living by these same ideals. He helps keep his home and community clean.
A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.

A few years ago, my brother asked me to go come and read stories to his scout troop. Before I read, I listened as my brother (who isn't always the KINDEST, FRIENDLIEST, or MOST COURTEOUS), delivered the following to his littles: "You know, boys, I was very very proud of you for the way you behaved at our dinner last week. You were all very POLITE and I was very pleased with you. However, I am very disappointed with you - because of the way you've all been treating (the assistant scout leader, a teen) - She has just as much authority as I do - and you are to treat her with the same respect.

That kind of blew my mind in the best kind of way- because this was not the way I view my cranky brother (sorry, bro, but the truth is the truth!) - It was actually really good for me to see him in this capacity - because it kind of reminded me of my relationship with him when we were young... about the time he got his Eagle Scout... (funny memories of that dinner include a lot of long-winded, well-meaning community leaders, and my sister - who unknowingly told my father a hot pepper was a cherry...)

Fast forward a million and a half years - I was invited to a friend's son's Eagle Dinner.... One. My friend Elizabeth and I sat at dinner with two 17-year old Eagle Scouts. And we actually had a great conversation with them. Previously, both Liz and I both worked with teens - and we were not accustomed to this kind of chatting with that age group - we were used to the following code of conduct: A TEEN IS:

MANIPULATIVE: Teens tell the truth that best suits them
LOYAL: Teens are loyal - but not necessarily to the right people at the right times... I know I'm not telling the whole story here - but that is another blog entirely.
NEED LOTS OF HELP: But deny this until they want someone to write their term paper.
FRIENDLY: Selectively, and not across the board.
COURTEOUS: Selectively - when they want something.
CHEERFUL: When receiving something.
NOT-SO-THRIFTY: I can honestly understand this - because when you don't make your own money, you have no idea of the VALUE of that money.
BRAVE: without understanding of consequences (This is proven - it's not me making a stuffy, 37-year old bitch... This is science. Ability to predict/consider consequences don't develop until early to mid twenties....)um. Cross-reference with the fine line between BRAVE and FOOLHARDY.
CLEAN: Mostly, not an issue -
REVERENT - I can't even comment on this...

Ok. Fast-forward to yesterday. I was doing a project that involved videotaping the Pinewood Derby. Picture about 200 people in an auditorium... Lines of kids having their Pine Wood Cars measured and weighed by older scouts... Fathers bragging about the cars "THEIR CHILDREN" designed (honestly - some of these cars took multiple engineering degrees to develop)... The thing is - all the boys - were active and excited - but none of them got out of hand. No one broke anything - they all listened to their leaders, they all paid attention, they interacted with the adults... It was kind of mind blowing.

So. Viva La Scouts... If for no other reason, when their human nature does kick in, we can always remind them of their code: Um, Jimmy? A scout is CHEERFUL. I'm going to have a long chat with my step-daughter this week - about what to look for in a man... Here's the list:

1) Must speak well of his parents
2) Must be straight
3) Must have career goals
4) And Please, please please... make sure he was a scout.


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