If you follow the news at all, there’s no way to avoid hearing about what some are portraying as a grave threat to our country – an “invasion” by a caravan of “dangerous criminals” with plans to “attack our borders”. The claims are that there are “ISIS” “terrorists” who are “unknown Middle Easterners,” “hardened criminals” and “very tough fighters” who are “bringing smallpox” and have intentions of spreading mayhem. Tens of thousands of military troops have been dispatched to the border to quell this “insurrection.”
Cooler heads realize that the caravan – many hundreds of miles from our border – is composed of, at most, a couple thousand people, mainly from Honduras. For these mostly women and children, many with nothing but the clothes on their back – shoeless, even – things are so bad in their home countries that they are willing to risk the trip Continue reading “Accepting refugees”
By now, you should have taken the new Youth Protection Training course online to bring your training current. As we’ve discussed before, everyone must take the new course, which was released in February, regardless of the expiration date of your YPT. If you haven’t taken the new YPT, do it now!
The recent revisions to the Boy Scouts of America’s youth protection practices include updates to the policy requiring two adult leaders at all Scouting activities. The national youth protection team has provided some important clarifications and answered many questions about the new policy: Continue reading “Two-deep leadership updates”
You’ve probably heard the term helicopter parents. These are parents who seem to hover above their children, manipulating them like marionettes and steering them around life’s obstacles. Afraid to see their children fail, they try to push them to make the right decisions, acting as managers and spokesmen and try to erase any uncertainty. We’ve written about the subject several times in the context of highly organized activity schedules,staying out of the Scouts’ way, and mentoring and guiding our Scouts, rather than directing and managing them.
Over the last few weeks, our offices at work have undergone some renovations, including removal of the 25-year-old wall coverings, painting, general cleaning and rearranging of the furniture. The good news is that I get a new office cubicle with more space and a bit more privacy, but the downside has been working in the interim in temporary quarters, jammed into a small room with several of my co-workers. (But let me be clear that my co-workers are not a downside – I happen to work with a great team that gets along very well.)
During the process, the painters had their obligatory boom-box going in the next room. Ordinarily you’d hear rock and roll or country music, but they usually had the radio tuned to the station playing Christmas music. I thought “oh brother, here come the same twelve Christmas songs over and over” and spent the rest of the day with echoes of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You rattling in my head. Six weeks of that, I told myself, is more miserable than waiting for the groundhog’s prediction to come true.
Thanksgiving has become a speed bump in the marketing cycle that starts before Halloween and continues all the way to Christmas and beyond. In the past, it marked the beginning of the holiday shopping season. In recent years, retailers have been tripping over themselves to attract customers by cutting prices and opening earlier. Forget about opening at the usual hour of nine or ten AM on what has come to be called Black Friday. Midnight is no longer early enough as evidenced by some of the big stores opening up Thanksgiving evening and even late in the afternoon. (But, kudos to REI Co-Op, outdoor retailer and favorite supplier of Scouts, for giving its associates Friday off to go out and appreciate the outdoors.)
The holiday itself features parades, football games and gut-busting dinners shared around a table with families, with all the friction you might expect. Continue reading “On gratitude”