If you know someone in their 20s or 30s, you’ve no doubt heard them ask if they should bring a child into this world. They say that because these are some heady times and today’s youth are bombarded with so much and they face so many obstacles and dangers.
This has led to something that I would call a “confidence crisis”, not only for those potential parents, but especially for those they beget. Children and teens are increasingly lacking in confidence in themselves and the world around them.
Today’s kids don’t have confidence in their families. Not only is the divorce rate still pretty high, but too many women are left to raise children on their own as so-called “dads” abandon them, and their interaction is limited to an occasional child support check, if anything at all.
Today’s youths don’t have confidence in their futures --- they saw their parents stung by the Great Recession and they see an economy that’s still a little wobbly, offering them little hope for tomorrow.
They don’t have confidence in their safety. School shootings, terror attacks and random acts of brutal violence dominate the news cycle, and have changed the way they live in and move about this country.
They don’t have confidence in the leadership of our country. They see grown men and women who want to lead us attacking one another and presenting very few legitimate options to better our United States.
And, they don’t have confidence in themselves. The Age of the Internet and the destruction of good old fashioned real human-to-human interaction have eroded emotion and empathy, leading to bullying and abuse and the image issues that come with that.
So, what is a modern parent to do?
How do you overcome these crises?
How do you instill confidence in children?
The answer to all of these questions is one word: Scouting.
The Boy Scouts of America have always given -- and will always give --- the boys and young men of this country the tools they need to succeed and the tools that America needs to succeed.
Take, for instance, the fatherless boys I had mentioned. In Scouting, their scoutmasters become their de facto fathers, bringing masculinity, strong fraternal support, paternal love, and important life lessons from a male perspective that those boys so desperately need.
Or, consider the boys who worry about their careers. Scouting and its myriad merit badges intimately introduce boys to career paths that they wouldn’t get proper exposure to elsewhere --- be it STEM, the trades, the arts, or business, these courses and the scouts’ efforts prepare them for the Real World and set them on paths to success in adulthood.
Think of the boys who worry about the world’s safety. Scouting give them the abilities they need to combat the world’s evils – they are trained in first aid, they are versed in discipline, uniformity and chain of command. Think of how many teenage scouts save lives every year --- think of how scouts go on to become first responders, police, and members of our armed forces.
And what of those boys who see poorly led communities, states, and countries or a glut of bullying and other abuses in their schools? By learning good citizenship and community-mindedness in Scouting -- and getting out and doing things for people in need -- they are groomed to be character-driven leaders of governments, schools, businesses and churches. Our future is in great hands when the Scouts take over.
All of this, and so much more, gives the boys the confidence they need to be mature, overcome all the wrongs in their lives and this world, to make their lives better and to make everyone else’s lives better.
Boy Scouts transforms boys into men. Real men.
No other youth-based organization can claim that with such vigor….with such confidence.
So, if you worry about your son or grandson and what the world holds for them, don’t. Enroll him in Scouting. It will markedly improve his ability to handle the bad and the good that might be thrown at him. It will give him the confidence to succeed in everything he does.
From the 30 May 2016 Greater Niagara Newspapers