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When will you be the person you want to be?

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This is a tangent to a current thread by GKlose about a 17 year old who appears to be lawyering his way toward Eagle, rather than just doing what's expected of him to earn the rank without contention.


As lots of you know (because I have probably mentioned it oh, 100 times), I have an 18 year old in the house. He's a great kid. And yet, sometimes I feel like being a parent of a teen has been an up-close anthropological study of an alien culture. :)


In the last year or two there's been a lot of talk in the house and from his social circle of other nearly-adults about "when I'm an adult I'll ..." (certain projected actions, behaviors, freedoms, attitudes toward the world then follow).


Kind of funny, really, but I think my son & his friends & many kids see "adulthood" as something that happens with a flip of the switch. Along with that, they seem to believe that behavioral patterns and reputation are things that magically change when one crosses the invisible line into adulthood.


Kind of like I used to think "oh, I can start worrying about whether I eat a healthy diet when I turn 40." As if, at 40, I would suddenly enjoy eating spinach instead of pizza! Ha!


So anyway - maybe this is a long-winded way to say, one of the things I think scouting is about is trying to instill in our kids patterns of behavior that allow them to start becoming the adults they want to be, **right now**. You don't just wake up one day and become trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent - in other words, a decent and respectable human being - with the flip of a switch, but it is never too soon to start becoming that person.


Now, how to convince the kids of that?


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"Gazing at people, some hand in hand,

Just what I'm going through they can't understand.

Some try to tell me, thoughts they cannot defend,

Just what you want to be, you will be in the end."


The other thread that deteriorated into discussion of the Moody Blues is to blame here.


"...sometimes I feel like being a parent of a teen has been an up-close anthropological study of an alien culture." That blame (as any mother should know) goes to the dad.


I sometimes think scouting is there to help keep them alive long enough until their female counterparts have developed the means and skills to take over and keep them alive as husbands.

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One of the phrases I gave to visiting Webelos parents was that our job was building your son into the man who makes the right decisions when his boss calls him into work while his wife is sick in bed and three kids are crying for breakfast.


But now I have the widom of life and agree with Pack:


""I sometimes think scouting is there to help keep them alive long enough until their female counterparts have developed the means and skills to take over and keep them alive as husbands.""


Yep Yep

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Our 19 yr old had an "opportunity to participate" in a number of activities while in high schoool that were rather stupid.


As parents we explained to him that while he was a minor, he was quickly coming to the age when he did something stupid, he would go to jail. And there was nothing his parents could or would do about that. When he would leave the house we would remind him to "make good choices".


As a youg man of 18-25, I made a number of decisions that seemed like a good idea at that time knowing it was pushing the limits. Fortunately I was able to get thru without getting a police record or injuring anyone.


Watching my son go thru the transition from young man to adult, I have seen times when he was very adult that day. He made good decisions, planned for the future, and made the tough choice. There were times when he was a dumb teenager and did what seemed like the most fun at the time. Like most kids he believes he is getting away with a number of small indiscretions and his parents dont know. Every so often I send him a text reminding him that I saw the evidence of his experients and his parents aren't as dumb or ignorant of what is happening as he may think. No lecture, just something along the lines of make sure you throw your empties away. LNT.


We remind him that he is legally an adult and what he does can affect the rest of his life. Friends and school mates have died, gone to jail, got kicked out of school, and lost scholarships. Fortunatley my son was able to dodge those but learned a few lessons being very close to these boys and seeing the consequences.


We moved him into an apartment last week off campus last week. He is learning to be an adult every day.

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Standard question: "When are you going to start treating me like an adult?"


Standard answer: "When you start acting like one."


So when does the process begin? From the time you are born. Children who are pampered and cared for learn to be pampered and cared for all their lives. Patterns of behavior taught or not taught in the family unit at a very young age will carry forward on into "adulthood". Because of this, there are some 13-14 year-olds that are very mature/adult like in their behaviors and there are some 45 year-olds that act like 3 year-olds.


By the time many of our scouts reach 11 years of age, the process is not as much to help develop them into adults as it is to break bad habits taught in prior years.


Soccer Moms and Helicopter Dads go a long way to retard the development of their children and heaven forbid anyone teach their child to be independent, caring, and focused. Boy-led, patrol-method is designed to develop our young people onto responsible adults, it runs counter to everything a parent wants for their child and thus we have 29 year olds still living at home.



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"Kind of like I used to think "oh, I can start worrying about whether I eat a healthy diet when I turn 40." As if, at 40, I would suddenly enjoy eating spinach instead of pizza! Ha!'


Gee, I get the point and I almost hate to bring it up, but....there's rather some truth to at least part of this. Eating a healthy diet is important throughout life, but there is research out there showing that at about the age of 40, we suddenly start liking things we didn't like earlier - things like broccoli, spinach, carrots, turnips, brussels sprouts. And at about 40, we start to lose our desire to live on pizza all the time - we still enjoy pizza, we just start consuming less of it because our tastes have changed.


" Standard question: "When are you going to start treating me like an adult?"

Standard answer: "When you start acting like one." "


My response would be to turn on the television, tune into one of those ubiquitous reality shows, like one of those courtroom shows, or one of those Kardashian things, point at it, face you, and smirk.


But to answer Lisa's question - you can't convince kids of that, all you can do is lay the groundwork of the journey. We all see the world through the lens of our own experience - we can try to take lessons from other's experiences, but our own experiences will color whatever lessons are being taught. My best friend is turning 40 on Labor Day. 10 years ago, when I was 40 and he was 30, he'd shake his head when I would head home from a club at midnight while he stuck around to the 4am closing - I told him time and again "just wait until you're 40" but he never believed me. Now, he's starting to head home from the clubs at midnight and admitted that, yep, things really do change.


So when will I be the person I want to be? The day I die. You see, with each new experience, each new trip, each passing day, the person I want to be changes. It changes because I'm still experiencing new things all the time. I think the basics are there, but I learned fairly early that regardless of the life you've mapped out for yourself at 18 or 20 or 22 (usually following a prents suggestion to have a plan - I know my father always told us to have a plan), life comes along to obliterate your plans. I know my plans didn't include caring for my parents for 13 years. I know my plans didn't include 3 bouts of cancer and a rare lung disease made even rarer by presenting as chronic. I know that these things have affected the way my life path has gone and the direction it's now taking, and I've learned that something can come along at anytime to change the path yet again so just hang on and enjoy the ride.

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Hang in there, Calico.


As for spinach and pizza, somewhere in my 30s I discovered (to my utter surprise) that asparagus is yummy. But I hold out no hope for spinach, and I still love a good pizza.



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Thanks, Lisa - I will.


After my second bout of cancer, nothing much fazes me anymore - that's certainly changed my viewpoints on a lot of things. Alas, the steroids I take to keep my lungs clear overwhelm the synthroid I take to replace the hormones my severely damaged thyroid no longer produces which keeps my from losing weight and lowers my stamina. My mountain hiking and 15-mile a day backpacking days are pretty much behind me now and those had figured pretty heavily in my plans. C'est la vie.

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I seen this thread yesterday then noticed that HWMBO's Face Book page was open.

On the page was a picture of a good looking Golden Retriever. I'm a real softy when it comes to Goldie's!

The caption read:

I want to become as good a person as my dog thinks I already am.


Many if not not most of the kids we deal with in Scouting come from families where they have some sort of a frame work. They have values and have had the example that their parents have set, followed the rules that their parents have in place.

Without wishing to start any sort of a argument, maybe the most we as Scouter's do is tweak the values they already have and help them shine?

At the jail where I work before an inmate can be paroled he has to submit a "Home Plan".

A written plan saying where he is going to live and what he hopes to be doing.

Some of the younger guys will come and ask me to help them with this.

I admit that I feel pleased and privileged when they ask.

Some of these guys are about the same age as my son (Now 24!!).

They have got their GED while in jail, never had a real job other then selling drugs and because of the vast amounts of money that drug dealers can make are used to having this income, buying expensive toys while at the same time not accepting any real responsibilities.

At times I try and explain what life is like in what I see as the Real World, while admitting that my Real World may not be the same as the world they are returning to.

Still just selling them on the idea that no matter where they live they are going to have to accept responsibility and do things that maybe they have never done before is hard.

Often I will point out the things that they have failed to do while an inmate and highlight that in the Real World they are just not going to be able to get away with that sort of thing.

Of course each and every one of these guys tell me that they are never ever coming back.

I really do hope deep in my heart that they never do.

Still I know that when they do get out things are going to be tough and while some have a clear idea of what they want to do and where they are going in life. One of the biggest obstacles they face is that they don't really know who is the person they want to be, without knowing that? When becomes almost a mute point.


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