How much of what we do is done just because it’s ‘what you do’? There is so much in life to do, a never ending amount of awesome experiences. There’s Scouts, Little League, Pee Wees, Dance, Gymnastics, Youth Group, Missionettes, Royal Rangers, Awanas, Young Women’s, Young Men’s, Archery Club, Garden Club. . . . this list goes on and on and on and on. What if, in your church, every teenage boy does Boy Scouts? Do you sign your kid up just because every other kid is doing it and it’s ‘what you do at 12’? Now, Boy Scouts is a great thing and in many, many family it serves the whole family well. But, in our family, we had to think long and hard about it. All of my nephews are in Boy Scouts. I have a lot of nephews. 11. Not all of them are old enough to be in BS, but lots of them are. And I love them all, they are amazing boys that are so fun and my boys love, love, love to play with them. 6 of them are also homeschooled in our area! 🙂 For a long time I was worried that my boys would feel left out of the boy scout experience. My husband was just so, so resistant to the idea every time I brought it up. We even argued about it. It didn’t help that he did not have a positive BS experience growing up. Anyway, after long discussions and soul search, I now whole heartedly agree with him. So, if they were in Scouts, they would be in separate packs. 2 meetings a week. The goal of BS is to learn outdoor skills, to learn to be prepared, to be good citizens etc. My husband LOVES teaching these things. He wants to be the one with them on the camping trips, teaching them to rock climb, to glisade down a mountain, to find wild edibles, to use a knife, to help the widowed neighbor, to make a campfire, to put together a survival kit, to sew a patch on their gear, etc, etc, etc. He wants to teach them to love these things, to set their inner compass towards a natural-loving life, that they will seek the outdoors and adventure and push their bodies and help the neighbors, for the sake of it. Not to earn a badge. If they were busy at meetings during the week, they would miss out on so many improptu family adventures that teach just these things in a real-life setting. In our case, we believe that being involved in a group like that would take away from our family nourishment, from our family being together and doing these things together just for the sake of doing them, because they are the right things to do. Because they are fulfilling. And we can do them all together as a family. Even with extended family, which we have a lot of!
Anyway, I am in no way saying that this would be true for everyone. My man is very unusual in how much time he spends with our kids. Not all dads can do this, I know. He is lucky that he gets to work part time so he can be home and build relationships with his kids during the day, and to be the one to teach them all he wants to and not have to send them of to have someone else teach them. I am just wanting to make the point that we should all look at our family activities and ask ourselves the question, “Is this nourishing to our family unit or taking away from it?” No activity is more important than the activity of being together, working together, and just plain enjoying each other. When we are too busy running around from one activity to another, we may miss the chance to enjoy our children, who we have for a very short time!