Move over, helicopter parents: Here comes the snowplow

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.

I heard another term a couple weeks ago listening to a radio interview with a local parenting expert.  In a discussion on raising resilient kids and teaching them the coping skills they’ll need later in life, Continue reading “Move over, helicopter parents: Here comes the snowplow”

Comfort and joy

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.

But then it occurred to me why we embrace the holiday season. Continue reading “Comfort and joy”

On gratitude

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”

Questions from a new den leader

If your Cub Scout pack is typical, you’ll not only be recruiting Scouts this fall – you’ll also be recruiting adult leaders. Den Leaders are the ones that packs usually need the most, and they’re the most important because they deliver the program.

Your prospective den leaders will undoubtedly be full of questions, since many will come to you with either no Scouting background or perhaps have experienced Scouting as a youth member many years ago. I found this list of questions a new den leader might typically ask, Continue reading “Questions from a new den leader”

Adults on troop outings

A reader wrote to me a few weeks back asking for advice on how to select adults to go along on troop campouts, particularly those featuring above-the-norm, interesting activities. This reader felt that certain adults were given first crack repeatedly, that most of the adults were being bypassed when it came to offering the chance to participate, and he asked if some sort of a lottery or rotation system should be put in place.

I responded by saying that first and foremost, Scouting is for the Scouts. It’s not something that the adults plan and do because they like it or find it interesting, and include the youth in the process. Adults are there to make it possible for the Scouts to do Scout stuff. Continue reading “Adults on troop outings”