Last week, we had perhaps the most amazing Pack Meeting ever with my scouts.
I'll start with a little background information - you may be familiar with the Scout Oath, and buried somewhere in there is a promise to "Do my best to do my duty to God..."
As a Den Leader, I have long shied away from any organized work in this area. I always hold up the book, point at the relevant section
, and tell the parents that I will never work on this with their scouts - that's all up to them. Sign it off, and I won't question anything that you did.
But about a month ago now, we were trying to develop a theme for the meeting this month. Out of nowhere, one of our adults pitched a 'diversity' meeting, and the idea rather spawned on its own. I've long gotten a chuckle out of the fact that I somehow wound up Cubmaster of the Jewish troop in town, but like most things, the truth is deeper than that.
At our meeting, four of the major world religions were represented by parents and scouts. We started first with the aforementioned Jewish scouts - several of them are going to Hebrew school and preparing for Bar Mitzvahs, and the week of our meeting was also the week of Perm, so we all learned what that was.
Next up were the handful of Hindu boys - we all learned about their belief system, and the role music and noise has in their particular prayers.
Of course, being a Scout meeting, we did have to take a break - we played a rowdy game up on the stage so the boys weren't sitting and being talked at all meeting.
Moving on, the lone Muslim family in our Pack talked about the daily prayers and why the women dress like that - and the scout's mother briefly talked about what it was like to come to the United States as a Muslim. (She was born in Turkey).
Of course - we had a nod to the Christians. Our Committee Chair is Protestant, and she finished up with a bit about Lent and Mardi Gras, so then we all got to have delicious cake!
Looking in the rear-view mirror, most of the adults were stunned by how well this meeting went. And writing this blog, I'm even more impressed by my scouts.
Remember - hate is not ingrained; it's taught. What is happening now throughout these United States is not what these United States is about. I've written about this before. I don't feel anything I say or do is going to have any influence at the national level. But what I can influence is something in my own neighborhood. What we did last week was just that - while the parents all bear some cultural and institutional memories, my Jewish scouts don't know they're not supposed to get along with the Muslim boy. In turn, the Muslim scout wasn't aware that he's not supposed to get along with the Hindus. Our Protestants weren't clashing with the Roman Catholics.
There's already talk of making this an annual event. I hope that we can do this again, for whatever boys learn at this impressionable age is going to stay with them for a lifetime.