Now you all know that cliché’s drive me a little nuts and I really hate most sayings like.. “Boys will be boys”.. but in this case I want to write about boys not being able to be boys.
I am no expert in all things boy, but I know what right looks like. I will not say that the my childhood represents the “Good ‘Ol days” either.. they were fun times and days that shaped the person I am today… but to say that they were better than any other time would be disingenuous.
And I am not going to jump right on the band wagon and say that all of our boys are growing up to soft.. well, I am sort of saying that and I agree with many of the popular arguments for the reasons why.
This last Saturday I was trapped in a car full of teen agers. In that car was one young man coming into his Freshman year at our High School, he is also a Scout in my Troop. Everyone else in the car plays a sport or two at the High School, so I asked if he was going to play Football this year. His answer was” no.. are you kidding me! I am going to play water polo.” That’s great I said, water polo is a pretty tough sport. I know this young man is a strong swimmer and he will do well.
He asked why I asked about Football. Well, I told him it doesn’t really matter what sport you play, you should just play a sport in High School.
Sports in High School expand your social circles, they instill in the student athlete a pride in their school and in their fellow class mates. It breaks down barriers between upper and lower classmen, it ensures that good grades are maintained, and finally it keeps the young person physically fit. I told the young man that to play football, you don’t really have to be big and strong, you just need to be tough. You need to be able to hit and take a hit.. the rest can be coached.
My point to him was that he should never shy away from something because he thinks its to hard.
I truly believe that every student should play a sport. No matter what that sport is, Tennis, Rugby, Volleyball.. what ever, there are so many choices out there and they are all good.
Then last night at our Troop meeting a group of parents and I were talking about how kids are raised these days in that to a certain degree (and those degrees vary) they are over protected. And to me this is terrible. Now don’t get me wrong.. I don’t want anything to happen to my three kids, but at the same time a skinned knee is not going to kill them if they are out there playing football in the drive way. We were joking about bee stings on camp outs one night.. it seemed that whenever our Troop found bees I would always get stung.
We were backpacking one weekend up to a lake. One of the Scouts disturbed a bee hive and the route was one. Scouts took off running in every direction, screaming and shedding gear. One Scout just fell to his belly and started crying as he got stung on the ankle. I ran up to him and told him he needed to get out of there.. 9 stings later on me.. I grabbed the young man by the backpack, lifted him and forced him up the trail and out of the way of the stinging bees. We all reached the lake and counted our stings.. then started laughing about how funny so in so was as he ran or how so in so was throwing his gear all over the place. It made for a great laugh. Having said that I know who the Scouts are that have bee sting reactions and none were effected. The point is, a bee sting generally is not going to kill you and certainly not a reason to not play! I think in total now my Troop has got me stung about 25 times.
I say all of this because of the reactions that we get from parents when we share the stories… “Oh my goodness.. you can’t get my little precious hurt” and we would never place a Scout in harms way, we are going to let them get dirty, skinned knees, and a few bee stings. We are going to let them challenge themselves by getting out on the edge and pushing the limits a bit.
We always talk about getting out of our comfort zones.. then taking one more step. I think that sums up my child hood a bit.
Our curfew was when the street lights came on. We rode our bikes everywhere and did everything. We played in the woods, we ran in the fields, and we threw mud clots at each other. No one really got hurt and we all turned out ok. We all played sports and did Scouting and we pushed each other to exceed our limits. We did not know that at the time, but a good old fashioned dare was enough to make you jump off the swing set or ride your bike into a lake.
Boys need to be able to be boys. They were designed to be rough and tumble and they were built with knees just waiting to be skinned.
I am not sure where this is all going, but it was a great topic last night at our Troop meeting while the Scouts were doing what ever they were doing. I believe it was a class on Leave no Trace and then a game of capture the flag.
Have a Great Scouting Day!