08/10/2010: Faith

posted Aug 25, 2010, 11:37 AM by Paul Diming
There’s a talk we have with the Scouts every now and then that most parents don’t get to hear. It centers around faith.

When a very young boy, Tiger age, is a Scout, everything is pretty cool. It’s fun, not too hard, camping is involved and it’s very exciting. Even with the many wonderful attributes of Scouting, boys find their interest in other activities and the Scouting enrolment ranks dwindle as they progress to Webelos. Even fewer make it to Boy Scouting.

There’s a lot of pressure on a youth to not do Scouting, mostly from their peers who haven’t a clue what they are talking about, but seem to find pleasure in demeaning Scouting. Sometimes it comes from an adult in authority at school (or an elected official) who doesn’t value or understand the program and omits encouraging a youth to continue his Scouting career. Demanding mandatory attendance of a youth at after school events is one example. A public educational system that fails to value parental teaching that takes place outside school hours is another. Weekend homework is my favorite pet peeve.

All this leads to where we started. Faith. To stay in Scouting, those involved must have faith that the program is worthwhile. You may have heard the phrase, “I believe in Scouting”. It took me years to decipher what was behind the intent of those words. I thought, of course I believe in the program, what, are you crazy? This is a great program! The best ever! Step outside Scouting circles, as our sons do every day, however, and you’ll find the doubt that gives rise to the phrase.

As we tell the Scouts at camp, they are doing the right thing, involved in a great program, developing themselves through their involvement in the program in the right way. They may have faith in what they are doing.

And then along comes the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree. Tens of thousands of Scouts from around the world gathered together. Their faith in the program affirmed on an epic scale. The heart of our nation resides at Fort A.P Hill for 10 days with tentacles of strength resonating to every corner of Scouting on the globe.

Let the Jamboree strengthen and affirm your faith, and your son’s faith, in Scouting. He needs this more than you know.