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Bald Eagle

My son wants to quit Scouts

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SR540Beaver,

I can see your points. I just passionately believe that Scouting is the absolute best program for boys and nothing else even comes close as a total package for their development. While I agree that Scouting is not all there is to growing up it was, in my personal case, one of the most important defining programs that set my azimuths and attitudes as I progressed into manhood. I try to convey that fact to my boys.

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This whole discussion about forcing a boy to do something or using some notion of "tough love" is, I think, way off base as it relates to Scouting. Force someone to go to school? Sure, but Scouting, as much as we all might like and support it, is still an extracurricular activity, one of many available. My sons can leave Scouts if they want, as long as they have some other meaningful activity to replace it. I will try to cajole them into staying, but if it's clear that they are not enjoying the experience, it's not a good idea to make them stay.

 

My advice to Bald Eagle...

I think all boys go through periods when they consider leaving Scouting, for a variety of reasons. I don't think it's our job, as parents, to force them to stay in Scouting. We may like them to, but it should be their decision. Try to guide your son as best you can, point out the really cool things you can do in Scouting that would be really difficult to do anywhere else, etc., but the final choice should really be up to him. Some compromise might be available to take some time off, the same as we know some Scouts will miss meetings in order to participate in some seasonal activity, like a sport. Learning how to think through these kinds of decisions and the consequences of making those decisions, is an important point in maturing into a successful adult. Forcing your son to stay will only make him resist, enjoy it even less, and tell him that his decisions, and the thought process that went into it, don't matter. Not a good thing.

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Mark,

Those are some excellent questions (perhaps deserving of their own thread). I see a wide range of variability between troops in how the advancement method is applied. In some troops ("merit badge mills"), it is probably overly stressed. This may be a reflection of our resume-driven society. Other troops are more laid-back about advancement and there is considerably less emphasis.

 

It's the same with the other methods, most notably in uniforming, but to some degree in leadership, outdoors experience, and others. I guess each troop seeks a natural balance between all the methods. This provides the prospective Scout with a variety of troops from which to choose.

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