|Jonas is very proud of his campfire blanket and all the crests he's earned so far.|
Becoming a Scout Leader is one of the best things I've ever done. It has proven to be a wonderful new way to connect with my son. Part of the credit goes to an unwritten rule that says "There are no moms in Scouting!" When I first heard that, the feminist inside me started screaming. Growing up, I always wanted to be a Boy Scout but I wasn't allowed because I was a girl. I was a Brownie, and then a Girl Guide, and I even tried Pathfinders for a little while. Then, blessedly, I become a quitter. I hated every second of it, except maybe when my Grandma Lillie taught me how to knit so I could get my first badge in Brownies. My opinion of Girl Guides has changed over the years but back then, the only thing it really meant to me was that at least once a week I had to wear a dress and learn girl things. I hated it! I wanted to be out in the bush with the boys, learning how to make shelters and start campfires.
Girls are a growing part of Scouting today, and women are stepping up to become leaders more and more. I did it because I was going to take Jonas every week anyway, and the group was short of leaders. I love kids, camping and outdoors so it seemed like it would be a great fit. There is a danger though, of us joining just to keep an eye on little Johnny or Jenny, and there is an equal risk of our kids holding too tightly to our apron strings. And if it's been a rough day for parents and our kids, it can be hard for either of us to set those frustrations aside, even for an hour or two.
When they say "There are no moms in Scouting" what they mean is that I'm not there to be Jonas' parent. I'm there to be a Leader for all the kids. Jonas isn't allowed to call me Mom and the other kids aren't allowed to call me Jacqui - even the ones I babysit full-time. They call me "Sunshine".
Sunshine and Jonas have a wonderful relationship. She's more patient than me, and a better listener too. Even though she gets frustrated sometimes too, she doesn't ever yell or get angry. And she's starting to get pretty good at crafts, songs and games too! Whether she's in the gym helping the kids to resolve a dispute over the rules of a game, freezing her butt off on a toboggan hill making sure nobody crashes, or at camp getting everyone to settle down for bedtime, she's teaching me to be a better mom. She's not perfect. She's still learning, but she's helping me become the mom I always wanted to be.