Reading via the internet, one can find any number of people who wish the entire Church were inactive so as to accommodate their preference for avoiding human contact with their coreligionists. Sunday School should be eliminated and leadership meetings and seminary and stake conference and MIA activities and proselyting missions, and couldn’t sacrament meeting be cut to half hour and held quarterly? Because “I dislike being in the same room with other people” lacks something as a rallying cry, often the would-be destroyers proclaim their devotion to service and dream of all the service they would be performing if the church wasn’t holding them back. I have my doubts.
A frequent target for the misanthropes is scouting. I wish to take up one small item that the anti-scouts throw down every time as an example of the silliness of scouting: knot tying. What kind of person never learned the square knot and the bowline? Answer: an incompetent person. A wise, experienced mother training our district’s den chiefs one Saturday said something that has stuck with me the eighteen years since: Scouts do craft activities because a boy who doesn’t learn to do things with his hands becomes a man who is handicapped. There are a number of cub scouts in whose hands I placed a hammer or a screwdriver for the first time. As with the tactile, so with the social. A couple times teaching knots makes it abundantly clear how socially useful the activity is, besides being a lot of fun playing with rope. The boys learn, and then they teach others. After watching this happen a few times, I thought “No wonder knot tying is the stereotypical scouting activity!” “Misfit loner” is a label that most people could apply to their own feelings during some period of their own youth. Scouting is an excellent setting for a boy to begin getting experienced at something, and then share his nascent skills with the next boy.
“One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so you can enjoy life when you are a man.”—from Baden-Powell’s farewell