Friday, September 22, 2006

Boy Scout Update

I couldn't leave well enough alone, so I took Boy aside and explained my last niggling problem with the Boy Scouts. And I went to the NPR site and looked up what Randy Cohen (check out Oct 31, 2004) had to say, and made Boy have a listen.
At first Boy said "I might as well quit to make things easier.", which I took to mean, "I might as well quit to make you happy". So I said no, I just wanted him to know what was going on. I have to admit to being a little torn up by Randy saying "And you have to wonder about parents who let their children join...". I told Boy I wanted him to go camping with his friends and I wanted him to have fun, but that I didn't want to support discrimination. Boy said there couldn't be that many gay people who even wanted to be in the scouts, and I said it didn't matter. The problem was that they weren't allowed. And when the truth came crashing down, Boy cried, because just like me he wanted to have his cake and eat it too.
I felt like the world's biggest shit. Boy is saying how his friends get to go and they never even bother thinking about stuff like this, but if he goes it will be in the back of his mind. And how he'll be wondering if he's weak for joining even though he knows the national group is doing something wrong.
In the end I told him I'd already paid the dues, and I wasn't prepared to ask for them back, so since the damage had already been done he might as well go have fun. It's not like they were going to go commit hate crimes or anything. I can't imagine the subject will ever even be mentioned. It's the principle of the thing. When the time comes to pay our dues next year, Boy can make a decision for himself with his eyes wide open. The shine will have worn off, and maybe I'll have found enough other social avenues to take the sting off it.
But then I wonder what I'm teaching the Boy. It's ok to do the wrong thing if the right thing hurts?
Sometimes, honest to God, I wish I was stupid. I wish I and my children were stupid and we didn't think about things and we blundered through life doing the things that made us happy and buying the things we liked without guilt over the political implications of our recreational pursuits and whether small asian children made our clothes. It must be nice to drink a cup of coffee without feeling guilty if it's not fair trade. Unfortunately I have the personality type that believes there are rights and wrongs and I should pursue the right for its own sake. Apparently Boy has it too.
It wears. It wears and sometimes you don't feel rewarded. No one thanks you for reducing our reliance on foreign oil and pesticides by buying used clothing. If you're a child you get ragged on for wearing second hand jeans. And any warm fuzzies you get from buying organic corn are wiped clean away by the price of the stuff.

Wow. Ok, I didn't set out to have a bitch fest, but frankly it felt good.

Have you ever read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Phillip K Dick? In it, people can change their mood with a remote. I believe I will now switch to mood 134, "content with the nature of her existence and really pleased to be going to pump breast milk".


Esereth said...

Wow. Wow.

I am so glad to have found you (or you found me). You are going to stretch my mind. You don't think like me. I love that.

Maybe it is better to pick a hard stance with your son, "you can go" or "you can't go because I don't believe in it" and let it stand with limited explanation. It's kinda weird to say, "You can go, but know you're supporting evil" to a little kid whose reason is biologically still unformed. How old is he? It's complicated, isn't it? To do the right thing? Who knows?

Do you homeschool? I'm pregnant, and my husband really wants to homeschool. I'm not so sure.

You and your family sound so interesting. I'm glad to read about you. Hi, I'm esereth. I like NPR.

ephelba said...


I didn't actually think too much about taking an all or nothing stance with Boy, but it is interesting to do so now. If I got a do over, I think I'd still give him the choice to make. He's 11. Sometimes that seems very young, but sometimes it feels old. Mostly I want to give him the knowledge I have, then turn him loose to make his own decisions in an environment that's "safe". That way, if he makes a mistake I can help him find his way out of the mess. Give him practise at making decisions on his own while I'm here to back him up. He's probably going to choose differently on this one than I would. He and Simon have both got their brains wrapped around this in a more comfortable manner than I have. To me it is black and white. Easy peasy. When they talk about it, it becomes a lovely muted grey. I am currently content to let it go.
And yes, we just started homeschooling. I am not one to say everyone should homeschool, rah rah rah. If we had better schools here I would send him in a heartbeat. Since I have him to home, I am discovering some gaping holes that public schooling left in his education, and am really looking forward to filling them in.
But homeschooling has its problems too. He is at home with me all day. He sees other kids in a group twice a week, and hangs out with his friends a couple of other times. At this age friends become very important, so I don't know how that part will play out.
And it's a lot of work.