VIDEO: [Fox News] Tony Perkins and Christopher Hale debate dropping the word ‘boy’ from Boy Scouts of America
“Want to give it a shot?” the Scoutmaster was looking at me and holding the axe out, handle first. Before walking over and taking it I tentatively looked at my dad, who pursed his lips and nodded approvingly. “Safety first,” the bearded man cautioned before he proceeded to show me how to cut the wood without cutting off any fingers in the process. As I performed that simple exercise, I remember thinking how cool it was to be trusted to wield what could be a pretty dangerous tool, and the responsibility made me feel bigger than my eleven years. But most of all I remember how doing what I perceived as “man-stuff,” surrounded by men and other boys, made me feel at least a little bit more like a man.
Those moments began what was to be a seven year adventure and the most significant non-school element of my pre-teen and teen-aged life. They were years filled with lots of “boy-stuff” under the watchful supervision of caring men and the camaraderie of other boys. Canoeing alone on a lake. Building campfires. Barely passing the ridiculously hard swim test at summer camp so I wouldn’t be the only kid not allowed on the water. S’mores. Dump cake. Hobo packets. Campfire stories. Games, teasing, and general rowdiness. Sleeping alone in the middle of the woods as a part of the Order of the Arrow Ordeal. Peeling myself out of a semi-warm sleeping bag on a freezing February morning in 1986 to watch Haley’s Comet pay a rare visit to Earth’s orbit. Picking up and sorting food for the hungry as a part of our annual food drive. Lugging a wooden sled across town to compete with other troops in Scouting skills contests, all of which involved plenty of cool “boy-stuff” like tying knots and building things.
There was a lot of “doing” in Scouting, but the ultimate goal was always the same. The Boy Scouts of America started in 1910 as a way to promote good citizenship and Christian morality, two years after Sir Robert Baden-Powell founded the movement in England. “We aim for the practice of Christianity in their everyday life and dealings, and not merely the profession of its theology on Sundays,” Baden-Powell wrote in Scouting For Boys.
The iconography was, in many instances, literally Norman ‘Rockwellian,’ from the chivalry of a crisply uniformed boy saluting the American flag or helping an old lady across the street to the Native American symbolism incorporated into the Order of the Arrow rituals. From the ceremonies to the symbols to the reading materials and skills learned – all were meant to teach, to prepare, but most of all to endear a heartfelt respect for our Creator, our family, our country, our environment, and the world around us.
This article continues at [TownHall.com] An Eagle Scout Explains the Fatal Folly of Taking the ‘Boy’ out of Boy Scouts