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Brittany Gibbons

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What Happened When My Son Asked to Join the Boy Scouts

Posted: 04/17/2012 11:17 am

As parents, we have the crappy job of making decisions regarding our kids. Most of the time, these choices are super easy -- like if they'll buy lunch that day, or if they should wear a jacket.

Other decisions are trickier, like if they can play at Joe's house even though his dad has guns, or if they'll attend private or public school.

It's hard as hell, and I could ask 100 different parents and get 100 different answers.

The fact is, there is no right answer, only your answer. One you often make in a caffeine-induced stupor and three-day-old underwear, surrounded by little people you wish would just shut up for five f*cking minutes so you could have a coherent thought that's not set to the tune of a Yo Gabba Gabba song, although, admittedly... all my sex dreams are now done to the soundtrack of Try It, You'll Like It!

I would say, overall, I have a 70/30 parental success rate, which sounds low, but it's not. I mean, there are no books on this... all right, yeah, there are actually tons of books on this, but seriously, who has time to read them? They're incredibly dull and if I want to feel bad about myself, I'll go into an Anthropologie and try to fit into stuff.

Andy and I make decisions for our kids together, turning to Google if we need a third party moderator, which we seldom do. His level-headed nature and my flamboyant idealism usually produce decisions that don't end in death or loss of custody or permanent body modifications.

Yesterday, Jude came home in a tizzy of excitement about campfires and pizza and BB guns and catapults, which, admittedly, all sound awesome. Where on Earth can you get all those awesome things? Boy Scouts. For $12 a year plus uniforms and badges and other random fees, you can have camping and dirt and building things and shooting stuff and boys and debauchery and fun.

I was a Girl Scout for years, and had the pleasure of working for the organization after college, and I am chomping at the bit for Gigi to be old enough to join. They have a great message, they stand for and teach amazing things, and they sell cookies that I like to eat.

Win, win, win.

But when Jude asked to join Boy Scouts, my heart hurt... because I knew we might have to tell him no. In fact, in my head, I was already screaming no, no way, absolutely not, not happening. But, I have this almost-6-year-old beautiful boy in front of me, who's bursting at the seams to see his friends at meetings and get a free mini catapult for joining.

And suddenly things got harder. I remember my brother was in Boy Scouts for a year or two, and he would go away to camp and participate in the Pine Wood Derby, and I know, deep down, that is stuff Jude would love.

But, I also know that Boy Scouts of America has an explicit anti-gay policy. And while he may not understand all that in the grand scheme of equality and civil rights and humanity, would he understand that it meant that his friend's dad couldn't be his leader? That one of his relatives couldn't participate? That some of our dearest family friends would be unwelcome?

Do I pause all that in lieu of a pizza party and BB guns because it's easier, neater, less of an OMG TANTRUM APOCALYPSE?

I know Jude obviously won't go to meetings and get indoctrinated into an anti-gay mindset. He'd probably learn a craft and play a game and sell ridiculously overpriced stale popcorn that nobody ever wants to buy, leaving me to pick up the tab.

But, we'd also be one more family making it ok for an organization to stand for ideals we just don't agree with.

For us, the answer was no.

I've had to teach my kids lessons in the most unexpected places, usually when I am completely unprepared, and almost always while I have food in my mouth, and it sucks most of the time. Explaining life is hard, especially when you have to use clean language and Dora the Explorer analogies.

This post originally appeared on BarefootFoodie.com.

 
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