So I haven’t added anything to this site in a really long time. Sorry about that. Things with the Girlfriend’s mother took a turn for the worse shortly after my last post, and I’ve spent the last several months helping her through that. The blog and my writing were both basically shelved during that time. Events sort of knocked me off the horse, and now I’m trying to get back in the saddle.
So, naturally, I’m just going to write on and pretend like that little blip never happened. I haven’t felt the urge to blog about anything for a long while, but recently, I was linked to this article and this image. I found both to be pretty thought-provoking.
Not because I agree with the message of the video, mind you – I really like how progressive the Girl Scouts are as an organization, and viewing these things makes me want to buy Samoas by the crateload.
Rather, I look at the young scout doing the talking and feel a bit sorry for her. I don’t know whether these are her own ideas, or whether she was put up to it by Concerned Conservative Parents, or if that even matters. I do know that she’s only fourteen, and the next ten years will probably be somewhat transformational. They were for me – you challenge your old assumptions, are exposed to new ideas, and grow up a lot in that time. Maybe she’ll go on to change her mind about these issues as she learns more about them, or maybe she’ll chair her school’s Christian Union and Young Republicans Club in college. I don’t know. But whatever she does, this video will still be kicking around in some forgotten corner of the internet when she does it.
It makes me really thankful that I grew up in a time when the stupid shit I said and did as a teenager wasn’t recorded for posterity. I had some idiotic opinions when I was her age – pretty much everybody does when they’re fourteen, I’m sure. I have the luxury of being able to stow those memories in a corner of my mind, away from my friends and the general public. What shame I feel for that time of my life is fleeting, quiet, and private. This girl… I think she’s on the wrong side of history, and she may come to realize that in the next decade. But she won’t have the same privilege of leaving her teenaged opinions behind, since the evidence is more or less there to stay.
There isn’t a message or moral to that comment. It just leaves me a little sad, and (somewhat selfishly) grateful that I managed to get through age 12 – 20 without recording myself doing something particularly dumb.
Another, more personal reason I find it thought-provoking is the Scouts in general. The Girl Scouts are a lot more forward-thinking and aligned with my own moral compass than the Boy Scouts of America. By age 18, though, I’d earned my Eagle Scout rank. I was, and am, proud of that – it took a lot of hard work and community service, and I’d been working at it for at least half a decade. Succeeding at something you try that hard to achieve is always sweet. The Boy Scouts helped me make friends, helped me get into college, and gave me a number of positive experiences to take into adulthood.
Yet I can’t help but be aware that if I believed then what I believe now, I wouldn’t have qualified. Atheists can’t be Eagle Scouts – I am both, but only because I lost belief in god after I earned that rank. Indeed, if I were transported back to that age, I’m fairly certain that I wouldn’t want to be an Eagle Scout. To me as a teenaged kid, Scouts was all about camping, hiking, setting fun things on fire, and learning. To me as an adult, Scouts also seems to be about religion and homophobia – things that I certainly don’t want to stand for.
The cognitive dissonance I get from trying to reconcile my experience with the Scouts as a positive force in my own life with my belief that the BSA is becoming increasingly backwards on the national scene is… uncomfortable. By contrast, the Girl Scouts are a breath of fresh air.