My son's recent induction into the local Boy Scouts of America council caused me to bring up personal memories of my days as a scout, to do some background research on the organization and to think about some of the essential elements that are important within a community for inculcation of certain important values into the minds of its young people.
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
A Scout is: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
As I watched the badge ceremony the other day the clear value of the system was shown. Like any traditional "rite of passage" framework those walking the journey were required to perform specific tasks before they passed through another gate. The badge is used as a permanent record of such accomplishment. From what I saw the key requirements are to do something for community benefit or personal development.
The BSA was granted a federal charter in 1916, now codified as 36 U.S.C. Chapter 309, stating that their purpose is to:
promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916."
As I experience and/or reenact certain things that lead me to become the person that I am today upon my own children I am constantly thinking about the problems that are in existence today, particularly within the Black community. I make note that it is the void of such a framework that so frequently leads to the unleavened bread that so frequently occurs when the key ingredient that is required to have the children to rise is not added.
The Boy Scouts of America has a tried and true formula that has been in place for more than a century. It was crafted by "Progressives" who, get this, were concerned about the lack of character development for children as they moved into urban environments and faced the challenges of shifting from rural life which most likely centered around the tasks of subsistence living through farming over to a more industrialized environment and the high concentration of people that comes along with it. Doesn't this sound eerily similar to what is faced in our communities today within the urban core?