It finally happened the other day.
I knew it would. I thought that possibly I could evade it or ignore it and last year I did, but it happened again.
little kid wants to join Boy Scouts.
And I get it, I really do. But boy, oh boy, do I strongly dislike the organization. I know it's getting better, I know the individual troops are most likely fine, I know they don't have enough sway to negatively influence my child but let me tell you exactly how much I don't want to fund raise or contribute to the organization as a whole. There's a lot about the adult side of things there that I really disagree with. I will do you a favor and not list all of them.
They gave him a flyer at school and he came home and asked about it and I set it aside and said we'd consider it, not really considering it. Then the Monday of the meeting, he asked again.
"How about karate?" I tried.
"I want to do Boy Scouts."
I sighed. "Look, I want you to do Boy Scouts too. It's just something your dad and I have to talk about, there are some issues with their leadership--not anything that would affect you directly, just grown up political stuff, that we really don't like. We also need to make sure we can commit the time and money to a new activity."
"What kind of politics stuff?"
"Up until recently, they didn't allow gay members and in the past have even gone so far as to kick boys who admitted feeling that way out of the group. That doesn't really line up with their duty to be kind, some kids who have gotten all the way to the very top ranking have even quit over it. I think most Scouts themselves are good people who do nice things but it's not very nice of the organization as a whole. There are still some other ongoing issues, too. It makes it hard to give them our time and money."
"What's their problem with gay people?"
"I don't really know. I guess because the Bible says something about it."
"I thought the Bible wanted us to be nice to each other, I thought that was the whole point."
"Me too. I guess there are some old rules in there though and people still like some of those."
"I don't think God or Jesus would like it." He thought for a minute, "Well...I will still be nice to gay people. I like them and think they can love who they want. But I want to be a Boy Scout."
Of course he will still be nice to gay people. Of course he wants to be a Boy Scout.
I was sick yesterday for the orientation (and to be honest, I was still leaning so far on the side of no that my headache was barely a factor. The fact that the activities aren't something I'm personally interested in at all doesn't make it more tempting, and Mr. Ashley works a lot.) I thought I missed a bullet. I folded up the flyer and stuck it in a magazine. Out of sight, out of mind.
Until he came home from school and asked if the meeting had passed. I reminded him that his brother and I were sick yesterday and he looked sad.
"I wanted to be a Boy Scout."
"How about any other activity? In the whole wide world? Karate, guitar, rock climbing, painting, sailing, I'll buy you a kayak--what?"
"I just wanted to be a Boy Scout, and now it's too late." He wasn't pouting. He was sad.
I sighed. "It's not too late. You can still be a Boy Scout." I wasn't pouting. I was sad. Sad that the grown-ups can't just practice what they preach and play nicely with others and that this is still an issue at all.
"There goes your dignity," added Big Kid, who I hadn't realized was listening.
"Me?" I asked.
"He's going to look ridiculous in that outfit and they don't like gay people."
"The outfit isn't bad. They're coming around on the gay thing, maybe. I think it will be okay," I said.
He raised his eyebrows and made a skeptical face. I would have made the same face at myself.