The Voice of a Scout Leader

I have finally found a proper use for my God-given talent. That’s all we want, isn’t it? The artist in all of us wants our talents to shine. My talent has been underappreciated or misunderstood for years. What is my talent, you ask? I am loud.

Loud Dinosaur
A fellow loud creature.

Mind you I can be very soft spoken should the mood inspire it, but I prefer to exercise my full volume. For what I lack in physical size, I make up for in noise. Should I ever be attacked, I could probably reserve the finger-breaks and throat-bites for last resort self-defense, and instead deafen my attacker with one well projected scream.

Putting a Voice to Use

Today at my first official scouting meeting as leader, I discovered my voice’s purpose. Do you know how hard it is to wrangle seven kids under the age of seven? And just imagine all of those kids very excited to see each other. It is challenging—for someone less loud than me.

We got to test run our opening ceremony today. I wrangled the children into a circle, all silent eyes on me, as I passed around some rocks painted with the elements. “Air is for new knowledge,” I began with the yellow stone with the air symbol drawn on, and the kids artfully worked together to pass it around. The rock passing went so smoothly I’m suspicious that this little ritual will collapse into chaos at the next meeting. Once we passed around fire, water, earth, and spirit, I handed out one fat round stone that represented our group. All the kids had to say their “vow” as it was passed, and of course none of the kids had memorized it yet. I’m proud to say I memorized the vow in one sitting, despite my thirty-two year old brain.

Little girl
A golden raindrop, before all the excited energy turned her to hail.

“I make this vow,
To remind me now,
To be kind and good,
Like a Raindrop should.”

Don’t hate our scouting group because the little scouts are called Raindrops.  I didn’t make it up. These kids are far from gentle, silent rain. We should call them hail—loud, tough, but still beautiful, hail. But guess what is louder than hail? The scout leader that ushered them all into the dining room to begin work on our cooking badge.

Loud Activities 

As per the outline of the badge, these kids had to learn about kitchen safety. My co-leader led them in to stand near the stove, while I self-consciously looked around at my “lived-in” kitchen. He began the discussion on safety, taking in the input from the kids. The most noteworthy idea brought up by a child was the topic of houseflies. “They poop on your food,” the boy said. I don’t think that is quite what happens, but I didn’t want to dissuade the boy from his disgust. Who knows, maybe he finds fly poop more disgusting than fly eggs, or the bacteria of roadkill transferred from fly foot to human food. Once they were done, I clapped my hands, and as the designated Loud Scout Leader, I brought the children to my part of the activities.

I had set up little cups with mystery foods inside. The first set was composed of the tastes sweet, salty, sour and bitter; the second set was the textures hard, soft, chewy, and slimy. I had the children close their eyes while their parents fed them the mystery foods, and the children guessed what the taste or texture each food had. I might have a mean streak, because I could have probably found some sort of candy to cover “sour”, but I decided to use lemon juice. I did warn them to take a small sip, and then in good humor took in all the puckered, sour expressions on the kids’ faces. They were unsuspecting after having been fed sweet chocolate and salty pretzels, but they plowed onto the next one—such good sports.

The invertebrate scout, participating through the window.

Then it was time for the closing ritual, and everything fell into chaos. No amount of loudness was going to contain the energy those kids had after completing their first scout meeting. They ran circles around the rooms, a tornado of hail/raindrops exploding toy order, but not fully defiling my house. It was a success.

My voice was exercised. I feel vital and fresh. I think this scout leader role might just suit me and my voice.


Wearing Lots of Hats/Adult Metamorphosis

“If you are good through this meeting, I will let you watch a lot of Magic School Bus,” I said to the boy this afternoon. He doesn’t get free range of Magic School Bus. It is a coveted bus. I had just finished talking to him in my most scolding voice—acting in my role of Strict Mother—about how he was terrorizing the household. I needed good behavior today.

image-2018-07-01.jpgSwitching roles: from raindrop to diamond.
The thing most likely to make a homeschooled family roll their eyes is the word “socialization”. I know, because I sometimes tie my hair up in a tight bun, pick up a ruler, and take on a role as Homeschool Teacher. “Socialization” is such a popular topic among those that haven’t thought homeschooling through. For a naturally outgoing kid, meeting friends and interacting in society is ridiculously easy while homeschooled. There are endless opportunities. For a child that is a little shy but warms up easily, it is still not a concern. For the child that is hardcore shy—that clings to a parent’s leg and takes more than one meeting with a new friend to actually interact—is where things get a little more difficult. This fall my son will be joining a lot of activities for the sole purpose of getting a bit more comfy interacting with the outside world. The first of which we started today.

Oh the things a parent will do for a child. I will put on a forest green polo shirt, rummage through the closet to find a pair of khaki pants, and smile while I open my door to some strangers, all for my newest role: Scout Leader.

image-2018-07-01 (1).jpgTransformation from princess to mermaid.
I decided to start up a local chapter of Spiral Scouts, acting as co-leader. The boy needed a scouting program to join that was not too big—something low key; something that could grow with us. In addition, I really like to teach my children the rhythms of nature. The rhythms of nature are a lot of what Spiral Scouts is about, because it was started by a pagan church. So here I am, living in what I consider the southernmost tip of the Bible Belt, starting up a scouting program that reeks of pagan undertones. Although we are not actually pagans and the group is run secularly, I have a strong feeling that we are going to have some interesting interactions around town. It is so easy for people to judge what they don’t understand. That said, I always see value in showing the kids the world without the rose colored glasses of “normal” life.

image-2018-07-01 (2).jpg
The well mannered scout and the driveway pool.

The Magic School Bus promise kept things smooth. My clean living room internally exploded with craft supply rubble as the eight children entertained themselves. I was busy in the dining room with the adults, pamphlets spread out neat across my table, while I transformed into Scout Woman.

I wonder if most people transform like I do, or if it is a unique feature of my personality. I fill whatever void is left in a relationship. If I am with robust personalities, I fill in the role of shy listener. If my companions are taciturn, I become outgoing. Standing in my dining room surrounded by the staring eyes of adults all waiting to hear my presentation, I am suddenly an organized, dependable scout leader.

The boy was making crafts with the lot of them, not outright socializing, but not hiding either. Progress. Once we really start to get our hands dirty, friendships with his fellow giggling kindergarteners are inevitable. Meanwhile, I’ll be Strict Mother-Homeschool Teacher-Scout Woman, among other things.

After all the stress of metamorphosis, we unwound before dark in the pool of the driveway. We all unwind in our own ways. The boy kicked the water to see how far he could make it splash. The tot crawled, rolled, and frolicked. What a strange lot we are. For my final role of the day, I walked lazily barefoot through warm puddles, and stared up at the sky to think about life, as Philosopher Woman.