Re: Baby Sitters of America
Monica C. Pilman (TACVMCP@VM.TCS.TULANE.EDU)
Mon, 17 Sep 1990 13:07:50 CDT
Dear fellow scouters,
I am cubmaster for a small pack in Metairie, LA (part of the New Orleans
Metropolitan Area). The earlier posting about population demographics
struck a chord with me, except that I would add to her statistics the
increasing number of single parent families, with the mother acting as
head-of-household, and no father to be found anywhere.
Many of these single parent Moms live in very poor conditions, and often
cannot attend a scouting event with their son (such as a campout) because
of younger siblings at home that they must stay home with. The boys often
cannot afford to buy their uniforms until after Christmas, because some
of it they get for Christmas, and the rest they earn themselves. Finding
enough adult chaperones for an event requiring chaperones gets to be more
and more of a chore each year. It is really annoying to have to listen
to the excuses of those parents who DO have spouses, some of whom even
have a housewife or househusband!
The seven dollar registration fee is an almost insurmountable obstacle to
some of these boys, and yet they join. I'd like to see them get full
value for their participation, but what can I do? Establish a baby
sitting service for younger siblings so that their parents can go camping?
It is useless to say "Well, we need to encourage the old fashioned family
in our society...that will cure everything". Pandora's box has been
opened on the "old fashioned family", and it will never be the same again.
New demographics are emerging...will Cub Scouting survive the irrevocable
loss of the housewife and the working Dad?
I myself am not a housewife...my husband and I both work to make ends
meet. I have a college degree and my own career and ambitions that are
just as important as his career and ambitions...and I make more money.
I still find time for scouting because my son loves it, my husband loves it,
I love it. But I can see some nasty problems looming that it is time for
the scouting organization to recognize and deal with. Perhaps the answer
will be "baby sitters of america".
I, too, have observed the distressing tendency of young boys to spend too
much time in front of the TV or Nintendo game. I've observed the distressing
tendency of young boys turning a fictional character like Freddy Krueger
(who sounds like a mass murderer to me) into a hero that they talk about
all the time among themselves. If you ask, where are their parents, and why
do they let them watch these shows? I have your answer: either working or
exhausted from dealing with work and the stresses attendant on modern life
as a single parent with many children. The single parent uses the television
as a convenient baby sitter. She feeds her kids junk food, because it is
fast, easy and cheap. She lets her kids roam the streets from the time
school lets out till the time she gets home from work because she can't
afford day care and can't trust them in the house alone.
What is really frightening about all of this is that I am not talking about
an isolated case or two: THIS IS BECOMING THE NORM. Two parent families
are getting ever increasingly rare, and all the statistics I've seen
predict this trend will continue.
Will Scouting become an organization exclusively for two parent middle class
families, or can it absorb the demographic changes somehow and still end
up with a viable, worthwhile program? How can the rules be changed to
accomodate the New Family? I really haven't any clue... but maybe some
of you will.
--- Monica C. Pilman
Cubmaster, Pack 234
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City