Sunday, March 15, 2009


nce upon a time, there was some elementary school boys who wanted to join the Cub Scouts. But there was no Cub Scout Pack at their school. The nearest pack was at another school two miles away. None of the parents of the boys had the time or the inclination to drive all the way to the other school. It was so far away, and full of boys the parents did not know. The boys were sad.

Then one day, a kind mother of one of the boys decided she would start a cub scout pack at the boys school. She went to the PTO of the school and said "I would like to start a cub scout pack at our school." The PTO had many wise people. They listened to the mother tell her story of the sad boys, and how the Scouts could turn everything in the school to gold. The PTO wisely considered the mothers story; and after much wise discussion said to the mother "as long as it doesn't cost us anything, go for it."

And the mother went for it. She called upon the Scout office and said: "I will start a new pack at our school". The Scout office rejoiced, and sent to the mother the District Executive, who wore his scout uniform, and had many forms to fill in. The District Executive said to the mother "Dear mother: read this impossibly large binder and fill in these endless forms. Then call upon the parents of your school to bring forth their boys. When they are reverently assembled, I will bravely appear again, in my uniform, clean and cheerful. For I am trustworthy and loyalty, and I will be helpful and friendly to the families, and show them kindly and courteously The Way of Obedience."

The mother set about filling in the forms. And while the mother was filling in the forms, she visited upon the playground with the other mothers. She told them of the pack, and of the coming of the District Executive. The mothers rejoiced and told the news to their sons. The sons rejoiced, and wondered how they would fit scouting in between soccer, basketball, baseball, math tutoring, art classes, and the Science Fair project. But no matter. All their friends would join. It meant swimming and camping, and the uniform was pretty cool too!

So on fateful Fall evening did gather the parents with their boys, and the District Executive cheerfully appeared once more as he promised. He passed around even more forms to the parents, then said to the mother "You, good mother, who revived what turned out to be a long-dormant pack, YOU will be the Cubmaster!" The parents were impressed and smiled amongst themselves, and the mother said "I'm not wearing that silly uniform."

Then the District Executive turned to the parents and said: "Dear parents, to the boys and to the Cubmaster you have a great responsibility!! Who among you will step forth and form The Pack Committee?! To raise money for the pack, and fill in forms, and guide the Cubmaster on her way?" The parents did look at their shoes and check their PDA's, but the District Executive held firm. Finally, after much pulling of hair and teeth did the volunteers come forth, and the Dens were sorted and the Committee formed. The District Executive looked upon his work and saw that it was good. He said to the parents "I will send to you my appointee. The One with experience to Chair your Committee until you are ready to guide yourselves. And the parents and their boys went home with stars in their eyes.

When the father of one of the boys heard the news of the pack he was happy. The father looked back on his scouting days with fondness and misty eyes, and resolved to carry on the traditions he had learned. The father pledged to himself to become Akela, and guide his boy on his Way. But the father could sense danger. He had learned long ago through many trials and much suffering to Never Again Volunteer Yourself. The father also pledged never to wear that silly uniform again.

So the father set about becoming Akela, and going to scout functions, and seeing that his boy was on his Way. The boy earned his Bobcat badge and set about becoming a Wolf Scout, and the father was proud. Then one day the wife did come from the playground and say to the father: "Good father, the Cubmaster speaks of the many traditions the cubs must uphold, like the carving of wooden cars to race, and the yearly celebration feast! For your wisdom and kindness I have named you, dear father, to sit upon the Committee and produce the feast." The father did inwardly rage, but smiled and said that he would make the best feast ever. Then the father did plod to his study to figure out feast-making, and tear apart his calendar looking for extra time.

Then after many days did The One Chair, sent by the District Executive to guide the Committee, give notice of the Gathering. On fateful evening the committee gathered at the fathers house, and lo, appeared The One Chair. And with her Delores Umbridge manner, The One Chair declared that she would rule over the committee without question, in a safe, risk-free manner, so that no organizing of pack business would actually take place. And she required of the committee to follow Roberts Rules of Order, and say the Cub Scout Promise, and talk of inconsequential things. And the parents looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders, for they didn't know any better.

However, in her exuberance, The One Chair did demand of the committee to be Trained! And so one Saturday did the parents make the perilous journey past the malls and through unending sprawl to far-away West County. For there, in West County, is the Temple of Scouts, where the oldest and wisest scout leaders are said to dwell. Find the temple the parents did; and for that Saturday the parents ate donuts and communed with the oldest and wisest scout leaders. And the old leaders revealed to the parents the Cub Scout Leader Book, and taught them the deepest scouting secrets and campfire songs. And when ended the day, the parents rejoiced at receiving their Trained insignia, and having their training cards punched. They talked amongst themselves of the knowledge they had gained. They resolved between them to wear the silly uniform, and apply the secrets of the Leader Book with enthusiasm and love.

But a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And after the Training did the committee know they had been deceived by The One Chair. And they resolved to organize themselves according to the Leader Book and the teachings of the wise old scouts. And the father set about making attendance records, and a budget, and a website, and a resource directory, and email lists, and an activity calendar, and he did ask the other parents for input. When The One Chair discovered the fathers work, she cried: "Usurper!! How dare thee ignore the Job Description!" The One Chair assumed the father would claim the position of the Chair for himself. But the father had no such designs, and he blew off The One Chair, and worked day and night with the other parents to support the Cubmaster.

But The One Chair is powerful and can not be ignored. She complained to the Unit Commissioner, and cast spells of confusion upon the parents, so that they sent their email replies to the wrong accounts, and showed up for meetings at the wrong time. The father made copies of the Leader Book, and gave them to the parents so they would know the truth, and took control of the calendar. This caused The One Chair to cry War! and send forth her army of bureaucracy. At this point the Cubmaster was forced to smite The One Chair with a nasty email, and The One Chair did shut up.

Peace has settled upon the pack, though no one knows for how long. For the One Chair can never be completely vanquished, and those of us who know her, know she is out there still. Meanwhile, the father continues his planning of the feast, and the uploading of the records to Google Docs. He is prepared for the return of The One Chair only insomuch as to give her another chance to dispossess herself of the Obsession With The Job Description; and to get with the program and actually help with the recruiting, and drafting a budget, and organizing the den meetings. For the father knows he needs her help for the pack to succeed....

To Be Continued....

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