I've read through a lot of these posts, and here's my two cents worth.
I think everything changed, America's beliefs, children's rolls in America, and parents aspirations, when the American people were no longer referred to as citizens, but rather consumers.
There was a time when the large majority of families in America had one bread winner in the family, but not anymore. Does it cost more to live today than it did thirty, forty, fifty years ago? No, we've just lost our vision on importance today, and we are letting sophisticated marketing be our moral compass. Today's America refuses to sacrifice, refuses to be realistic, refuses to go without material things, and refuses to recognize the importance of family like the America of past. I think a large cause of low enrolment, and high drop out rates in scouting is due to time constraints on the two family incomes, and the loss of what is truly important and meaningful in life. Lets use Philmont, the panicle of scouting, as a looking glass into why scouting is on the decline, and where American society is headed.
Just 30 years ago 90% of all scouts going to Philmont either drove or used buses as a means for transportation to New Mexico. Not today. The claim is no one has the time it takes to use those modes of transportations, so flying is now the preferred mode of transportation. Sure, now with most families having dual incomes this is easily obtainable. I think corporate America is allowing more vacation time than ever before in history, but yet we still feel there is still no time for a road trip to New Mexico. Could it be that because we're a dual income family with a higher net disposable income with perceived time constraints we've lost our focus. Since we can afford to fly, we think it's just quicker and less painful to take a plane ride than it is to actually slow down and drive cross country, and give our scouts the ability to actually see America. Why, with using air travel, one doesn't have to sacrifice all their personal vacation to the greater good. Yet we fail to see the true cost of having dual income families, and what it is doing to the core of American society.
Now the scout has arrived at Philmont, and the check-in process has started. The crew sits down with their backcountry ranger, and the group goes through both the troop gear and personal gear. Keep in mind Philmont's terrain has not changed in millions of years, yet we seem to think the gear scouts used just a decade ago, let alone thirty years ago, is no longer adequate for today's scouter's. Why? Why is it so important that we parents feel our children of today must have the absolute best, and the latest gear available? Could it be that we are trying to justify our choice of having a dual income family, and we're feeling guilty of the time lost with our children? Could it be that we've somehow fallen into believing the marketing moral compass, and we can no longer survive unless it's the latest and greatest item? Or, is it truly a desire to ensure our kids have it better than we did? I feel like it is impossible for the kids of today to have it better than the kids of the past generations. Kids of today will never feel the joy of freedom, trust, and faith that past generations of kids enjoyed.
Now it's time for the hike, and one of the last reminders given out before we hit the backcountry is to leave all cell phones turned off to ensure we have batteries during an emergency. Why is it that this generation of authorities, parents and children feel so compelled to be in constant contact? Can this generation not even slow down enough to enjoy the solitude of being in the backcountry? What are we afraid of, or afraid of missing out on that we have to carry our cell phones at all times, even in the backcountry? Has the marketing moral compass created false fears, and false importance? Are both parents away from home so much that they try and make up for it via constant access through cell phones? Humans, like many other species, have family unity instincts. Is this generation feeling a void in family unity, and is this constant ability to communicate now filling this void? The urge for this constant ability to communicate just wasn't there even ten years ago, otherwise Philmont would have had a staff camp phone usage guideline for scouters. Why are we putting such high values on false communication?
We are losing our purpose, we are losing our core beliefs, and we are losing our core reasons for being America. America is being guided by the sophisticated marketing moral compass, and we have become a nation of consumers, and not citizens. We are becoming afraid of saying no, we are afraid of being left out or behind, and we are afraid of saying you failed. We have become a nation of individualism that's only loyalty lies with one's self. We have become a nation that asks not of sacrifice, but asks of entitlement. We've lost trust, and we have built up fears. We have lost faith in others, and we're losing faith in ourselves. We have lost the understanding of needs verses wants, and we have lost the need for thrift. We have lost respect for our selves, so why should we give respect to others. We're full of cynicism, so we've lost our friendliness. We see our heroes on TV, and not on the battlefield, or on our street corner. And lastly we forgetting our reverence in day to day life.
Scouting is one of the very few institutions in America that is still trying to instill the core American values in our children and our teens. Let's follow our true north, and not lose our way like so many other organizations, institutions, and cultures have done by following the sophisticated marketing moral compass.