A childhood activity rooted in Mom’s blind faith

A Cub Scout patch from many years ago.

A Cub Scout patch from many years ago.

I don’t have a lot of keepsakes from my childhood, but one of the items tucked away in a dresser drawer is a Cub Scout patch from when we lived in Sauk Centre, Minn.

This is a patch I would have worn near the pack number, sewn on the arm of a long-sleeved blue shirt that was always accompanied by a yellow neckerchief. I think Cub Scouts wear pretty much the same outfit – sorry, uniform – these days, which in itself is pretty remarkable.

What I remember from those Cub Scout days in early grade school is hazy at best – making a craft project out of Popsicle sticks in a neighbor’s basement, and trying to put on some kind of elaborate “show” in our own driveway.

What more clearly stands out in my memory is the fact that my mom was a den leader, one of a couple of adult supervisors of 8-10 headstrong boys with short attention spans. I can only imagine what that was like. The phrase “herding cats” comes to mind.

Having now raised our own boys, and knowing what they were like at about the same age, I can appreciate the patience my mom must have had. And, for what? On good faith that structured involvement such as the type promoted by Scouting would somehow, in some way, help me develop into a better person, I suppose.

I can’t say for certain that Scouting accomplished what my mom hoped it would. I moved on to Boy Scouts for a brief taste of what it had to offer, and I think I had mixed feelings about it the entire time. She probably did, too.

But I thank her for giving it her best try, and for playing one of those tried-and-true “mom” roles that make the world a better place.

I kept the patch, so it must have meant something after all.


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