My 10 year old boy is a Webelos Cub Scout, which means he will be crossing over into Boy Scouts soon. So he and his Dad are attending some functions of the nearby troops to see which one he might choose to join. There are two that seem most likely.
One group has had a lot of events and is very active, very encouraging to the Webelos. Quite a few of the boys in this troop go on to become Eagle Scouts. I would love my boy to be encouraged (by other scouts, not just his parents) to work toward that goal. The other troop seems a little more laid-back and not quite as hard-working.
So it seems like the choice might be obvious, except the troop we (so far) like best has one big problem: there are women in troop leadership. Women bossing these boys around.
I really, really hate this. It's the Boy Scouts, people. The goal is to give boys an opportunity and atmosphere in which to become leaders of other boys, and then leaders of men. The boys (ages 11 and up) are starting to separate from their mamas, and rightly so. They don't need mama surrogates to boss them around. And yes, that's what my husband saw at the meeting the other night. Women refusing to allow older boys to make simple decisions on their own. The women took over. (Just like everywhere else, some of you are saying. Yes, I know you are.) I will go so far as to say: these leaders can't really help teach boys to be leaders of men. They will teach them to be followers of women. (Which, some of you are saying, is the point.)
You know, I don't think women are incapable of leadership. There are women who are smart and tough and probably fantastic leaders. But they don't belong in the Boy Scouts. They don't belong in positions of authority over these young men. They don't belong on camping trips with young men (unless it's a family camp).
Some will say "well, boys need to learn to respect authority from women, after all they may have a woman for a boss one day." Yes indeed, they might. And most boys have teachers in school who are female so they have that experience. My boy has learned to respect his female teachers, and I don't just mean me - he takes classes with female teachers sometimes. I drew the line at martial arts class with a female teacher, though.
We go to a church that does not allow women in leadership. Pastors, elders, deacons are all male. The women are not disgruntled because of this (if they become so, they leave, I guess) and there is a vibrant life in the church because these women understand that they are not to be in authority over men. They have important responsibilities in the church, important work to do. They are not treated as second-class citizens with nothing to offer. Everyone understands that men and women are different, with different gifts and talents. Complementary, not competing. It's great. So it's not surprising I would believe women don't belong in leadership over Boy Scouts either.
So. We won't tell our boy which troop to pick. He needs to do that himself. He'll probably choose the one that most of his Webelos den goes to. But his Dad and I will have to figure out a way to talk to him about the leadership issue. Not sure how we'll do that yet.
I just don't get why Boy Scouts can't be for boys. Why there is no place women can't just stay the hell out of. (Sorry if I offend. I'm just talking like my Dad. He would think this stinks.) Why women have to jump in and boss everyone around. Why?
Updated to add: Apparently at this troop at least (I found out) the women do not go on the campouts. Also I did not mention (though I thought about) the possible connection between the troop with the female leaders producing more Eagle Scouts than the more "laid back" troop. Well, gotta be careful with correlation and cause, but if the female-led troops produce more Eagles because they are babying the boys along, rather than letting them try and fail, or not bother to try, then I'd rather go with the troop that allows for self-determination. I don't know that that's the case, of course. More research is needed.