When I was a kid, I was that kid that always wanted to know how things worked. I was the kid that took a part toys to see how they were made. I loved trips to museums to see where things came from and I liked to hang out with my dad in the garage to see him tinker around with the car, wood work, or fixing things around the house.
Now, I am not the most mechanically inclined person, but I still maintain a curious nature. I like to know why and how things work. I am a very tactile learner, the more hands on things are, the better I understand them.
I find that kids fall into one of two categories, they are either curious or complacent these days. And unfortunately the latter seems to be more prevalent.
I see it in our Troop all the time. Simple things like menu planning. The guys would rather take the easy way out than discover new menus, different ways to cook, and out side of the box thinking
We see that often times when the Scouts do their annual planning. They like to do the comfortable things. Things that they have done over and over again. This takes less work and a lot less thinking. Now I am not saying that the guys of our Troop do a bad job. I just think it is kids these days. They chose to be complacent rather than curious. They lack the spirit of discovery. I think that society today removes this from them. They are discouraged from discovery.
I’m not saying that I had to walk up hill both ways in the snow wearing flip flops… What I am saying is that when we were kids we were encouraged to play hard and discover.
I see it in the merit badges that our boys select. They want the quick and easy. I understand that the merit badge program is designed to open doors, find occupations, and develop skills, but when we look at the badges most of our Scouts work on… they have less to do with discovery than rubber stamping a piece of cloth on a sash.
Looking at the Merit badges that our council offers it does not take a scientist to see that there is no discovery in action. But hey.. they are giving the Scouts what they want right.. lots of merit badges. Lots of merit badges that I am sure the Scouts got a lot of motivation to seek new horizons.
Now, I am being real critical here, the bottom line is that our boys need to be more curious.
They need to take the harder trail instead of always looking for a short cut. They need to expand their horizons and discover. Parents need to support that effort.
They need to allow them to play. They need to encourage them participate in sports. They need to let them disassemble toys. They need to allow the patrol method to happen. They need to encourage curiosity and not be so over protective.
I was talking with a Scout after the last camp out. He told me that he may not be able to camp again til the summer. I asked why, was there a conflict with sports or school? Nope, his parents don’t want him camping in the rain. WE LIVE IN OREGON… It rains!
They don’t want him to test his skills, they don’t want him to discover the person that he is. They don’t want him to develop confidence and self reliance. They don’t want him to have that bond that comes with tough times and working through adverse conditions. In short, they want him to be complacent. They want him to just float through life, not challenged or tested.
Here is what I know for sure.
Lewis and Clark would not have found the Pacific had it not been for their need for adventure and their lust for discovery. We would never walked on the moon if men and women did not feel the need to push boundaries and test their skills. The Boy Scouts of America would not have been founded if it had not been for Seaton, Boyce, and Powell. They had a vision of discovery and were not willing to sit idle and let boys go unchallenged.
Curious or complacent.. which would we rather have?
Have a Great Scouting Day!