Last week, I saw a necklace that I loved. It was stamped with a quote from Ghandi: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." I thought of it this week at the annual Girl Scout Leader Recognition Dinner, as I considered my family's future in scouting.
Regular readers of my blog know that I lead a very active and ambitious troop of Brownies. Since moving to Connecticut, Girl Scouting has provided me with a place to learn, stretch, grow and create. I have been pleased and privileged to become part of a group of women who, each in her own way, is seeking to guide girls along their paths to enlightened adulthood. For my troop, that has sometimes meant sharing my own world views and teaching some fairly challenging vocabulary for second graders –- words like "tolerance" and "diversity."
And therein lies the rub.
You see, although Jonah is only three now, eventually he's going to head off to first grade, and he's going to be recruited by the Boy Scouts, which is huge in my town. He's going to come home with a piece of paper and ask "Can I join?" Or his best friend is going to sign up and invite him to come, too. Or someone is going to know about my success in Girl Scouts and ask me to be a den mother.
The answer to all of those requests is a polite but resolute "No."
The motto of Girl Scouts of the USA is "Every Girl, Everywhere." On the other hand, the Boy Scouts of the USA have chosen to bar homosexual boys and men from participating, and have gone all the way to the Supreme Court to be allowed to continue this policy. Shockingly, or perhaps not so, depending on your point of view, the Supreme Court supported the Boy Scouts and they remain an exclusionary organization.
This policy -- which would be universally decried if the word "homosexual" were instead "African-American," "Jewish," "Democrat," or even "fat," and which, in my opinion, serves to perpetuate and institutionalize the negative and incorrect public perception of a correlation between homosexuality and pedophelia -- makes it utterly impossible for me and my family to support their activities.
So, eventually, we're going to have to explain a difference in policy to our children concerning their extracurricular activities. Emily may well grow up to become a Gold Award Girl Scout, but Jonah is going to have to stick to other things, at least until the Boy Scouts open their arms to every boy and man who wants to participate in their very fine and worthwhile program.
I hope that, in the next three years, for my son's sake, for other mothers' sons' sakes, and for the sake of what is right and just, they do just that.