Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Teaching Parents the Doctrine of Scouting

I've mentioned before in this blog that in the LDS Church we seem to do a pretty poor job of engaging parents as active supporters of Scouting. A symptom of this problem is the all too common, "Johnny won't be at Scouts tonight because he has baseball [or whatever] practice".

Do some parents really think that baseball will teach their son to magnify his Priesthood while developing his character, citizenship, and fitness? No, I don't think they do. But I also believe that unfortunately they don't expect those same outcomes from Scouting.

I think we have a marketing problem here. We fail to educate parents about how Scouting works, and what its goals are. As a result, all they see is BP's 'game', without seeing deeper into its purpose and methods.

Consider the parents who allow their son stay home from a campout because it is raining or snowing. They realize that camping in poor weather can be miserable, and since they perceive Scouting as primarily a 'fun' activity, they conclude that skipping events that aren't fun makes sense. What they fail to see is that the campouts where the weather is bad, or the terrain is steep, are the campouts that forge our boys into men. Those are the very circumstances that make up the 'refiner's fire' in the Scouting sense.

So, how do we better educate parents? Well, this won't happen by accident, so here are a few ideas:
  1.  Ward and Stake leaders should take opportunities to explain and testify of the importance of the Scouting program.
  2. Consider a special Troop meeting with all parents encouraged to attend and observe the activities taking place. Perhaps assign the COR to be a guide and to provide a narrative of the purpose of the activites taking place.
  3. Honor 'Scout Sunday' by inviting adults and youth to speak and testify about Scouting in Sacrament meeting.
  4. Consider any gathering of parents (such as Courts of Honor) as an opportunity to teach about Scouting's aims and methods.
  5. Hold a special 'Eleven is Great' fireside to teach parents of new Scouts about the program.With a little editing, this BSA Orientation for New Scout Parents could be a great intro into the doctrine of Scouting.
 Bringing parents 'into the fold' is a key step in developing a ward and stake culture of Scouting excellence. When parents see the relevance, and understand the methods of Scouting, they become much more inclined to provide the appropriate level of support.


  1. Parents are a Key Step in the Scouting culture within a ward, as well as the Scouting culture developed within the young man.

    The law that God has given us, that ties all the laws together, is the Law of the Harvest. We reap what we sow in all things. There are parents who allow their son to miss all the hard stuff in Scouting. They allow their son to work on Mutual night. Or put sports teams before YM's. These are also, often times, the parents who are in the Bishop's office in tears when their son turns 18-19 years old wondering why their son has no desire to serve a mission.

    Every time Scouting, Young Men's, or the Priesthood takes second place to whatever else is going on, that young man takes another step away from serving a mission, going to the temple, staying active in the church, etc.

    If parents really knew what was at stake, they would never let 'little Johnny' miss another activity, meeting, etc.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts GIFFY. Any additional ideas on how we educate parents?