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Scouting the Future

Today in the Wall Street Journal, Tony Woodlief  (who writes this excellent blog and many good things about fatherhood) examines the Boy Scouts of America through the lens of their own manual and that book's continued "evolution."  He begins with a bit of healthy skepticism about whether the organization can be as worthy as it used to be given these changes--some of which, no doubt, are more deserving of contempt than simple skepticism.  But the thing I always admire in Woodlief's writing is his gallant striving toward the point of good common-sense.  He takes stock of the deteriorating situation, admits the problems, and in good conservative form, he laments the passing of a more rational era and the coming into being of an age that appears to have lost its sense . . . but he stands back again in the distance and reconsiders his initial inclinations.  And, as he does that, Woodlief invariably comes up with little gems of paragraphs like this one:

I suppose a handbook won't determine whether my sons have an enriching Scout experience. Their troop's leaders will. And I will. "Troops," says an Eagle Scout friend, "are like churches." You get some good and some bad; it depends on who's doing the work. This reliance on local community is, more than stances on gays or the environment, what makes the Boy Scouts of America conservative in the most wise and American sense of that term.

Those Woodlief kids are some very lucky little boys.   Whatever their troop turns out to be like, they've already got what's more important:  a father who is teaching them the proper way to scout the future.
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