“I want to do the Boy Scouts,” Zachary tells me. He has been telling me this for quite some time now, although since the Scouts don’t start until first grade, he doesn’t actually know anyone in the Boy Scouts.
I give him my standard reply each time. “I’ll have to talk to Daddy about it.” Usually, things like this are his choice. If he wants to try an activity, we’re game as long as it works with the schedule. But the Boy Scouts are different.
“Why?” he wants to know.
“Because the Boy Scouts are a discriminatory organization. They don’t let gay people be Scout leaders. Daddy I will have to talk about whether we are comfortable with you joining a group like that.” He knows what I am talking about, because we’ve had this discussion before.
On the one hand, the Boy Scouts instill things like self-sufficiency, teamwork, and a love for nature. Awesome. We like self-sufficiency, teamwork, and nature.
Well, I love nature. My husband loves s’mores.
On the other hand, the Boy Scouts is a discriminatory organization.
From what we’ve heard, individual dens or covens or whatever they call them may not subscribe to that philosophy. The Boy Scouts are decentralized enough that the experience is really defined by the particular group to which a child belongs.
My husband and I tossed it around for awhile – like, for the last year – because we really would like our kids to have character-building experiences like scouting.
However, discrimination is not the kind of character we’d like them to build.
We just can’t stand tall and be paying dues to an organization that discriminates, no matter how much camping is involved. We just can’t. We can’t tell our kids discrimination is bad and then wink twice while driving them to scouting meetings. We can’t look our gay friends in the face and tell them, “Our kids are in an organization that thinks you are too depraved for a leadership position.”
Zach’s friends might join the Scouts. He might feel left out and resentful that we are not allowing him to be part of the group.
Parenting isn’t always about making our kids happy.