Before I begin my post today, I would like to make it clear that I am aware that girls have been boy scouts for a while — generally at the venture level. So, in making the decision to open boy scouts to more generally include girls, it does fit (at least to a degree) with past practices.
I have seen several social media posts praising the decision and focusing on what a wonderful step forward this is for girls.
But what about the boys?
Yes, our history is largely composed of the exploits of white Anglo-Saxon men. Yes, women and people of other ethnic backgrounds have needed to struggle and fight to find equal footing, and there are indicators that we haven’t gotten there yet.
I am just concerned that we are trying to gain equal footing by tearing down what others have built. That logically appears to be a recipe to destroy everything. Building is what creates progress.
In cases where those social structures are deliberately freezing out others, I agree that working within the confines of the law to tear these cultural traditions down is probably the only way to fix things.
I’m just not convinced that most organizations are intentionally freezing anyone out.
If I’m pulling the numbers out of my brain correctly, every human being on the planet shares over 99% of identical DNA. With less than 1% differing, look at all of the beautiful human variety that we have! Boys and girls differ by one entire chromosome, and yet we somehow convince ourselves that the only thing that this particular chromosome does is change a couple of body parts.
As a mother of two girls and one boy and a former teacher of 16 years, I beg to differ. From toddlerhood on, I have seen significant differences in the mental workings of boys and girls. My daughters took stuffed animals to bed at night. My son, no matter how hard I tried to convince him to choose a stuffed animal, slept with his toy cars and trucks. No matter how hard I tried to teach differently, boys are more likely to react physically to events in their world and girls are more likely to talk about it.
My experiences lead me to believe that boys and girls view, process, and react to the world differently.
Which takes me back to my concern about “equalizing through destruction.” Tearing down barriers and breaking down walls feels like a noble fight.
Apples and oranges are both equally fruit. No matter how hard we try, we can’t make an apple an orange or an orange an apple. We have to appreciate both for what they are and integrate them into our diet appropriately.
Separate is not necessarily equal, but boys and girls have different needs. Perhaps it is better to let an organization that has a track record of teaching boys to be good men alone and instead support and expand an organization designed to teach girls to be strong women. Maybe it is time to embrace our differences and wonderfully and wildly complementary and thoughtfully create safe spaces for boys and girls to become who they are in all of their variety and beauty.
What do you think about the latest decision of the Boy Scouts? Leave thoughtful insights in the comments.