LESLIE CRISS: Kids aren’t only ones left in dark by adult decisions

Leslie CrissLife can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward.”
Soren Kierkegaard

“Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.”
Dwight David Eisenhower

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
Albert Einstein

Young people must be awfully puzzled from time to time by the actions of adults.

When I was in elementary school, I was in a Brownie Scout troop. My mother was one of our troop leaders.

We met at this great old building in my hometown of Grenada, long gone now, and we did crafty projects, visited nursing homes on holidays and learned all the ins and outs of Girl Scouting.

Two of the things we learned – and memorized – were the oath and the law.

The Girl Scout law means a lot more to me now as an adult than it did when I was a kid. “I will do my best to be, Honest and fair, Friendly and helpful, Considerate and caring, Couragous and strong, Responsible for what I say and do, And to respect myself and others, Respect authority, Use resources wisely, Make the world a better place, And be a sister to every Girl Scout.”

Just before the summer of 1967, the members of my Brownie troop took part in a “fly-up” ceremony in which we became Girl Scouts.

We were proud to be leaving behind our basic brown for the more fashionable green-belted, shirtwaist uniform with dark green sash to hold all the badges for which we’d work.

But something happened that summer that changed things for all of us Girl Scout hopefuls.

Because there were young African-American girls who also wanted to be a part of Scouting, many white adults saw red. Meetings were held, voices were raised, decisions were made.

I remember the day my mother told me I would not be able to be a Girl Scout.

My mother was furious at a group of adult men in our town who sought to “protect” their wives and children from integrated Scout troops. Rather than allow black and white children to recite that forward-thinking law together in a troop, none of us would have the privilege of becoming a part of the organization that sought to teach young girls ways to make the world a better place.

Something similar is happening now to young boys in Boy Scout troops in Tupelo and beyond.

It all started when the Boy Scouts of America’s policy changed to welcome openly gay kids into Scout troops.

There’ve been gay Boy Scouts since Robert Baden-Powell started Scouting for the Brits in 1908, but “don’t ask; don’t tell” made everything fine.

Now that it’s OK for young boys to be Scouts and live honestly, some organizations no longer wish to sponsor troops.

I’m sure a lot of kids simply don’t understand.

But then, neither do a lot of adults.


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