Really struggling

I am completely burnt out right now. I dread Tuesday evenings. I wish I could say that I looked forward to them still. Well it used to be Thursday evenings, but now it is Tuesday evenings. I do not. I dread having to prepare anything for Cub Scout Den Meetings. I wish I had the desire to get it all together and be the “best den leader” they had, but I just do not anymore. I have been doing this for a year now and I am tired. I am tired of the “mom politics” and the other things that go on behind the scenes. I am tired of knowing certain things that should happen and in reality that is not what happens. I am just tired. It is hard work being a den leader.

It is supposed to be all about the boys and in the end that is what I make it about on Tuesday evening when I am there but I really have to work myself up to put on a smiling face for that hour. There are times when I do not want to be there. There are times when I simply do not want to have to put up with that many unruly and energetic kids. My patience is shot and I am tired. I do not want to have to talk over them and I do not want to be the one that has to tell them to sit down and listen or to just simply listen to instructions. Sometimes I do not care if they are sitting if they will just listen. It is the listening part that bothers me. It is not the “we get to do what we want” hour, it is the we are here to do something and we cannot do it if you do not listen to what you are told.

The thing is, it is not just one kid that is the problem. It is not any one kid. It is the fact that there are that many of them. It is the fact that I have been doing this for so long. It is the fact that this is not convenient for me and I am still doing it with a smile on my face and I have to listen to everyone else tell me about how they cannot do it for whatever reason. There I am. I am there. I show up. I am there and it is not convenient for me and I still show up and I am there for their children and I have to listen to the spill about how it is not convenient for others. I do not care. I am past caring. Emotionally I am stretched past caring and while things have smoothed out a little I do not think that there is a point of return anymore because we were told that there would be no more changes and yet the evolution is always there because someone does not like what has happened. Or heaven forbid one child be alone for a few weeks. Never mind that another child was alone for a few weeks. It happens. It does not mean that the child is traumatized for life. Kids get over it. Mine did. One hour of not having a friend with them is not the end of the world.

I am just exhausted by all the changes that really do nothing. It just makes life more difficult. I cannot handle it anymore. I cannot do and redo things that do not need to be changed when they were working just fine. Do not try to fix something that was not already broken. Do not beat the horse that works just because it works. Find someone else to help carry the yoke because in the end the horse that works will eventually give up the quit. That is ultimately where I am at right now. Quitting. I want to quit. I am tired. I am not at a point where I want to keep doing it. It is not fair to the boys for me to keep at it anymore with me dreading facing them every week. It is not fair for my son to not want to help him during the week because I have spent all of my Cub Scout will power trying to get through Tuesday. I have nothing left of my “mom willpower” to muster to open that Cub Scout book with him during the week because I spent it all trying to get through Tuesday.

I am also struggling with the fact that there is just a lot of apathy in the church when it comes to Scouting. I do not understand it. I understand that these are volunteer “assignments” and they are not our “life” but the reality is that it is the same in any other position in scouting. Most of the positions in Scouting and Cub Scouting are volunteer positions. People do not get paid to be den leaders or scout masters. They do it because of the boys. They do it for the boys. They do not do it because they want to get rich. They do it because they understand what the “spirit of scouting” is all about. Unfortunately this also requires us to sacrifice a lot of our time. Precious time. A commodity that we seemingly do not have enough of and in the church we are asked to give so much of. Unfortunately, I do not have much patience anymore for people who think that the church is a “free ride” when it comes to scouting. What I mean is that members think that they do not have to be as “invested” in the scouting program as say Joe Smith on the street. Training is less valued. Finding out information on how to do things is less important. Just getting people to do simple tasks on their own is like pulling teeth.

If you ask them if they have done something that is required by BSA guidelines/rules, they typically give you a blank stare. If they read the handbook they would know what you are talking about at least, right? One would think. No. You have to explain what it is. Then you have to nag them to get it done. Then you have to ask again and explain again. Then nag some more. Then when the deadline is upon you in the eleventh hour they will finally get it done. It is as if your time is not as valuable as theirs. It is as if they do not care what the guidelines are. It is as if they do not care. “Oh we do things differently in the church that does not apply to us” is the mentality and it drives me crazy. The reality is that only the mentality is different, the rules and guidelines did not change.

It is all very frustrating. As an individual that has to track how well the Scouting Units are performing as a whole for the year through the Journey to Excellence program, it is extremely frustrating. I see everything get pushed off and in some ways just ignored. Maybe that is not the intention and maybe I take it too personally but things are put in place for a reason. I do not believe for one minute that we were told to do the Scouting program “except for” these parts of it. I also do not believe that we were told to do the Scouting program “exempt” from the rules and guidelines. I firmly believe that they are there for the boys’ protection and our own.

The boys deserve more than a leader that loosely follows the guidelines. They need someone that follows both the letter and the spirit of the “law.” It is not too much to ask in my mind.

I expect my boys’ leaders to hold themselves to the highest standards possible. If there is training that will make them better, then I expect them to do it. If there is training that will make them a better spiritual leader to them, then I expect them to hang some time there. I do not expect them to have every ounce of training known to man done the first night of their calling, but I expect them to have basic training done as soon as possible and to progressively work on the other stuff. I expect progression in training.

To make the point – as a Journey to Excellence person, I should NEVER get blank stares in the room – ever!

It is not funny. I should not have to answer the question as to what an activity is. It is not my job to tell you what your activities are. It is your job to know what they are. I should not have to tell you that you need to TRAIN your Senior Patrol Leaders, that should come as a given. You are the leader, you are expected to trained. By definition if they are a leader, they should be trained. It comes with the territory.

I can understand some confusion on some of the less calling and duty related things like introduction of programs that BSA wants the boys to be participating in but that is not training. That is not whether or not you are doing your activities and what qualifies as an activity. That is did you introduce a “new program” that you may or may not have found out about. Then again, maybe you would have found out about it if you had shown up at Roundtable once in a while or attended beginning of the year training once in a while.

Now in all fairness, some of the leaders are excellent and understanding. When I say “look we need to have this done for Journey to Excellence” they do not question it, they just say “okay, I will get it done” and they go and do it. They might ask a couple of questions about what needs to be done and then they go and do it. They take the initiative to find out what the requirement entails and what needs to be done to meet it. They show leadership and let me know when they are done. I do not have to stress over them. It makes me feel better. I do not have to nag. I do not have to feel like their mother. I do not have to worry about what my children are getting done because I know when I say “hey this needs to be done” it will get done. They understand that as “the leader” it is their responsibility to show leadership and initiative to make sure their tasks are done.

I am not trying to pick on anyone in particular. I am just tired. I am exhausted mentally and emotionally by the very callings I willingly and even not so willingly took. I try my hardest to leave it up to the Lord to settle out the details but when my boys’ are on the receiving end of the apathy it is not always that easy. Momma bear sometimes comes out. When I am on the end where I cannot do my calling to the best of my ability because other people are failing to fall into accordance, then it does bother me and I do struggle with the fact that while callings may be inspired, the people that are in those callings are still human and can still act with agency. We are still all victims of the natural man.

It is my understanding of this that gets me every time. I cannot control them and their choices to act. I cannot make them do something that they do not want to do. Or better yet they have not fully found their 100% conversion to. I truly believe that some people will never find that shimmering vision of what Scouting is all about. They see it a little but not 100%. They never fully gain a full testimony of it. It never touches their life in ways that moves them to change others lives. I cannot ask them to do more than their vision and conversion allows them to do. It is just frustrating all the same. I want them to understand why it is so important and why they should not be so hesitant to serve in Cub Scouts when they are so willing to serve in Activity Days. I want them to understand that the 8 year old boys are as deserving of the love and enthusiasm as the 8 year old girls. I just struggle with the way that people do not see that…

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