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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Create Your Own Reality for Your Kid? Not Always 

I'm going to talk about something that happened about 30 years ago.

I was in Boy Scouts, and there was another guy that was in my troop. Let's call him Bill (even though his real name was Glenn). Anyway, for those of you who aren't familiar with Boy Scout troop structure, a troop is (or at least was) organized into different patrols, each of which is headed by a patrol leader. The boy who is kinda sorta responsible for the activities of the entire troop is the senior patrol leader. (Granted that the Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, Junior Assistant Scoutmasters, and others are instrumental in guiding, but the senior patrol leader is the go to guy.)

Anyway, during my scouting career in this troop, I was a patrol leader at one point, and was even senior patrol leader at one stage. Bill, however, was never selected as patrol leader.

Enter Bill's mother, who was certain that something terrible had occurred. How come her Bill hadn't become patrol leader?

I'll grant that I heard my version of the story from people with a certain bias on the situation, but two facts are apparent:
  • Suddenly, a new troop appeared.

  • Bill became senior patrol leader of this new troop.

So, in essence, Bill's mom "solved" the situation. Well, sort of - rumor has it that Bill got canned as senior patrol leader shortly thereafter for some infraction (I think he signed off on skill awards that weren't truly earned by the recipients.)

I'm not sure what Bill learned from the experience. Last time I heard from him (again, about 30 years ago), Mom had bought him a car.

There's a specific reason that I'm thinking about this story right now, and it has nothing to do with Bill. However, this is a reminder that we as parents have to let our children grow, and that there are some times when we shouldn't "protect" them, even when they need "protecting." This doesn't mean that we shouldn't be interested in our child's activities and education, but we have to remember that some things can best be handled by the children themselves, not by us adults.

And if the kid doesn't win the Pinewood Derby, or get elected Homecoming Queen/King, or become valedictorian, or whatever, that doesn't mean that the kid's a complete failure or that the judging was biased or that heads need to roll.

Or be bashed, as was the case last week:

A children's baseball coach who suspended a player for the season got punched in the nose by the player's father, police said.

Police in Kent arrested Eugene Barnett on an assault charge for allegedly punching the coach, Robert Andrews....

Andrews told police that he had just coached his team of 9- and 10-year-olds in a game Saturday at Ryan Town Park in Lake Carmel and had told Barnett that his son was suspended for the rest of the season for being insubordinate.

He told police he was changing his shoes in the parking lot when Barnett yelled at [Andrews'] wife and grabbed her. When he intervened, Andrews said, he got punched in the nose. The injury will keep him off his job as a heavy machine operator for a few days, he said.

He said his wife suffered a strained neck.

So where did the kid learn insubordination?

P.S. I tried to do a web search for Bill (under his real name, of course). I couldn't find him, but I was able to find his famous brother, who is apparently still famous. Among others, Famous Brother has worked with Bill Cosby. Can't see Cliff Huxtable starting a troop for Theo...

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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