Friday, May 8, 2009

Different Times

My daughter came home the other day from her Girl Scout troop meeting and announced she had earned a new badge for food appreciation. When I asked her what was required to earn the badge, she told me they walked down the road to a nearby Chinese food restaurant for dinner. Afterwards they walked through a nearby grocery store discussing how various foodstuffs corresponded to the Food Pyramid. That's right: the Four Basic Food Groups are passée.

When I asked her why they could not do something more scout-like (maybe camping?), she told me that the scout leaders had put it to a vote, and only two in the gaggle wanted to actually camp. The rest would go camping only if they could stay in a hotel! My daughter was one of the two who actually wanted to camp. At least I've done something right! (As for the troop leaders who leave it to a bunch of city-kids to decide what comprises scouting... well maybe their parents did something wrong.)

Then my wife rolled her eyes as I began to tell all of my kids about when I was a kid. I only did a brief stint in boy scouts, but I was well educated in the ways of nature. I explained how my father taught me to hunt, fish, skin wild game, camp, start a fire, and wipe my butt with leaves -- as well as many other macho, outdoorsy skills.

My kids pitched in, and we developed a list of appropriate badges that real scouts should be required to earn. These were the top ten.
  1. Sneak Up on a Sleeping Bear and Smack Him with a Switch Badge
  2. Outrun a Really Ticked Off Bear Badge
  3. Squirt Lemon Juice in Your Eyes to Simulate Cobra Venom Badge
  4. Urinate in Someone's Eyes to Neutralize Cobra Venom Badge
  5. Don't Urinate Upstream from Your Camp Badge
  6. Lance Your Own Boil with a Pocket Knife Badge
  7. Eat a Grasshopper, Mustard and All, Badge
  8. Survive the Dysentery Caused by Grasshopper Mustard Badge
  9. Live with a Pack of Wolves for 30 Days Badge
  10. Kill Something and Eat It Badge
Now, I'm not opposed to children learning something about food appreciation. I appreciate many foods: Domino's Pizza, McDonalds Value Meals, and even the occasional Taco Bell Seven Layer Burrito. And I know all about the four basic food groups: Salt, sugar, cholesterol and saturated fat (or was it beans, bacon, whiskey and lard?). I just think scouting should have something to do with... well, scouting! But then, maybe I'm just passée like the Four Basic Food Groups.