Recovering in some pain from making my body do things it hasn't done for 30 years whilst at Parent and cub camp this weekend at Bonaly scout campsite with my son. We had a brilliant time though we were robbed at the football, (another story for another day!).
The Scouts are often the butt of jokes but how many other organisations offer that kind of time for fathers and sons to be together. The role of fatherhood is in a difficulty place in 21st century Britain. No longer the assumed breadwinner and having, (quite rightly), to change their views of the role of women in the family as well as the workplace, what it is to be a father is no longer clearcut and underpinned by societies structures.
There are many reasons to be grateful for that change but the price of it is that many men struggle with that search for how to be a father. I would not for a moment advocate a return to the old patriarchal family structure but the journey, as a dad, to somewhere new here the idea of what it is to be a father makes some sense and is meaningful is a long and as yet unclear one.
Back to cubs scouts however, and I know this is a bit late but the story that a young lad was refused a place in the cubs because he wouldn't pledge allegiance to the queen was a serious shot in the foot by the scout association. Who has won here.? The boy can't be what he wanted to be, a cub, and the Scout association look foolish for not being creative enough to find a way of including him, especially as he was willing to swear allegiance to God and to the Country.
Good grief, at least he was honest about what he believed in! Thousands of cubs swear allegiance to God without meaning it but say nothing because they want to be a cub. Surely a bit of creative thinking would have keep the boy in the cubs and the Association off the front pages.
Keith Simpson's Christmas Reading List
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