Back in September Maxfield joined Cub Scouts. My wife and I discussed this issue back and forth for several months. At first I was against it, she was for it. Then I was for him joining scouts and she was against it. Then she was for it and I was not listening. Then I was for it and she was trying to decorate the powder room. We discussed the time commitments, the financial commitments, the volunteer time needed over and over again.
During our many discussions my wife made a very valid point, not just about scouts, but about many other group activities. She said, "This is the time where Max may be forming the bonds of life long friendships. Shouldn't we expose him to scouts and what the scouts teach? Don't you want him to grow up with his friends being a good influence?"
Now I have known many kids in my life that I grew up with who were part of scouts and turned out to be "bad" kids. These bad kids usually never continued with scouts past 3rd or 4th grade. But I have also known a few other kids who went through Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and turned out to be incredible people. I am not saying that all the kids who stopped scouting were bad kids*. I am also not saying that kids who do not join scouts are bad kids. I just know that the kids who continued with Scouts into Boy Scouts all turned out to be exceptional people. I would like for Max, and my other boys, to be surrounded by exceptional people.
So we signed Max up for Scouts.
We are seven months into scouting and it seems like Max likes it. I have attended every meeting. There is a bit of a "insiders club" feel to the pack and the people who run it but you get that with every organization. Little League, Home and School Association, Soccer Clubs you name it, they all have their own inner circles of leadership, I get that, I understand it.
I enjoy going to Scouts with Max and watching from the outside. I get to participate as a parent.
And that right there is the one thing that I see different about the Scouts than other club type organization or sports team. Everyone is involved. Everyone participates. I have yet to see (as I have with coaching) a parent drop off their kid and leave as if the den leader is a babysitter. All the parents stay. Some take a more active roll during the meeting than others but for the most part all the parents are involved. No parents are complaining that their kid is not getting enough playing time. No kid is upset that they did not get to play short stop. No parent is mad that their kid is second chair in the trumpet section of the band. The parents are spending time with their kids at Scouts. Good quality time.
The Scouts, so far, have been a good idea. Max is surrounded by good kids and I am surrounded by good parents. Both of which are good influences.
*For the record I stopped Scouts in 3rd grade. I am not a pot head, gangster, thug, hooligan, goon, ruffian or troublemaker...
Okay maybe a troublemaker.