May 14, 2011

Dearest E.,

I asked Dad what I should write about today.  This was his suggestion.

Bean-Dip had a rough Saturday.  We have been working hard to complete his scouting goal and finish his Wolf before his 9th birthday (in 9 days, believe me he is counting).  Unfortunately we had a late start to scouts.  Most boys work on their ranks for a full year. He became a Boy Scout mid January so we had less then five months to complete a year's worth of achievements. The wolf has twelve sections to complete. Each section has about 6 activities to complete.  Once a scout has earned three sections they receive a progress bead.   At first he wasn't really excited to earn things, but after a couple of pack meetings with boys being recognized he got the bug. 

The first three beads came easy.  We completed most of the fitness "feats of strength" the first night he became a scout.  Then we had a lot of discussion on safety and emergency preparedness.  Soon only two sections were keeping us from completing his wolf: collecting and duty to God.  The collecting was only an issue because Bean-Dip kept forgetting to bring his collection over to show to another scout.  We finally improvised and added another 10 rocks to his at-home collection just so he could present it.  But there was still that tricky Duty to God section.

I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) or Mormon.  I've been mostly inactive for the last ten years or so.  Dad was raised Catholic and left church as a teenager, he is still very spiritual but prefers to practice his faith outside organized religion and calls himself a Pagan.  Since the beginning of the year I have been attending church fairly regularly with Taco and Burrito.  Taco and Burrito have been attending church with Grandma and Grandpa for the past 18 months or so.  Bean-Dip's mom was also raised LDS she does not go to church.  He used to attend church with his Grandma D and Aunt Kitty but when he was six he stopped attending.  Last year he went home on weekends before church, this year he stays Sundays until 5pm.  Since his scout den is attached to Grandma and Grandpa's ward we decided it would be good for him to attend when he could, so every other weekend or so Bean-Dip joins us for church. 

In the LDS church children are baptized at age eight if they wish to become members.  Bean-Dip's mom felt strongly that he shouldn't make the decision until he was 18.  (In fact pressure for him to be baptized was one of the reasons he stopped attending with his Grandma D.)  For a long time we danced around the fact that he was attending church on a regular basis because we didn't want to upset her.  In March I nervously asked Dad what I should do with this section.  For a minute he became briefly unglued wanting to know what the LDS church had to do with cub scouts and why there was a religion sections and on and on.  I tried to explain that it was set up for all religions but now I knew this was a sensitive subject for Dad and Bean-Dip's mom and I wasn't sure how to address the Duty to God section in his wolf book.  So I kept procrastinating until we nearly jeopardized his chances at earning his wolf.

The discussion questions should have been easy: What is faith?  Why is it good?  What is Duty to God?  Not wanting to upset Dad I waited for a time he was in the grocery store and Bean-Dip was attentive. 

Me: "Hey Bean-Dip, what is faith?"
Burrito: "Believing in Jesus"
*Taco and Burrito launch into a discussion on Jesus while Bean-Dip sulks quietly.*
Me: "Come on.  What do you thing faith is?"
Bean-Dip: "I don't know. I am stupid."
Me: "You are very smart. Do you think it is believing in something you can't see?"
*silence and sulking* Dad returns and rescues him from the conversation, for now.

As we drive to the fishing hole I tell Dad about the conversation and why it is important and beg him to help me with this later. On the way home from fishing we try this conversation again. Bean-Dip pouts and refuses to participate. I needed to run into the store for Grandpa so while I was in there Dad and Bean-Dip had a heart to heart when I came out Bean-Dip had something to say. "I don't like church." he proclaimed. I got frustrated. We drove home in angry silence.

When we got home Taco and Burrito went inside to watch tv and Dad, Bean-Dip and I sat in the van for a heart to heart. Dad talked about his experience with religon growing up and why Bean-Dip had it easy. I talked about how attending church was a good way to make more friends and get to know his den better. About half way through the conversation we all realized something. Bean-Dip didn't understand what faith was because it wasn't something his mom talked about. We each attempted to explain this abstract concept in ways that weren't religious so he could understand it better for what it was. Toward the end of our discussion, Bean-Dip was clearly frustrated and wanted to know why we had to talk about everything so much.  He started listing the things we had discussed for scouts that he was sick of talking about.  When he was done I chuckled.  If he would have answered the questions in the first place instead of pretending like he didn't know the answers we could have finished all these scout discussions in 5 minutes instead of having hour long discussions.  

I thought he would be mad about scouts for a while when we finally came inside. I still wanted to show him the academic and sports belt loop and pin book I had purchased for him.  I showed him what he could earn.  He wanted to work on the bowling one right away.  Together he and Dad discussed the rules of bowling and youtubed professional bowlers while I cooked dinner.  I guess he does like scout discussions after all.  After our late dinner it was time for pjs and bed.  As they were heading up to change Bean-Dip lingered, "Kira, are you going to come up and read the story and scriptures tonight?"  Maybe Bean-Dip likes church more then he wants us to believe.  

With Love,


PRINCESS said...

your posts always make me cry, always, i love your little kids.

PRINCESS said...

faith is just another word for believing.

Mom of 12 said...

It sounds like you're doing a terrific job, Mom.