Looking back, my wife and I just recently realized the incredible power we had over our son's future five years ago when he was a Cub Scout and we recruited the best of his friends into our den. At the time, we had no grand plans for fine tuning our sonâ€™s eventual adolescence. We just thought nice tikes would have more fun together, and we'd enjoy spending time with other nice parents. That all turned out to be true, but the real treasure has been the positive influence these kids have had on each other through the years.
Studies of Scouts have shown that those who spend five or more years in the program (at any age) have a nearly 90% chance of having lifelong friends, versus about 75% for non-Scouts. (For a list of other proven, lifelong benefits of Scouting, see this essay.) We parents have a window of opportunity while our sons are in Cub Scouts to influence enormously the company they will keep as teenagers, which, of course, influences the boysâ€™ attitudes about everything. We exert this influence, of course, by recruiting families to Cub Scouts who share our values. Among the families who did join our Cub Scout den, many have continued on to Boy Scouts, and, if he had his way, our son would spend all his time with those fine kids. How lucky are we?
With our younger son, a lad with boundless energy and now a Wolf Cub, weâ€™ve got another chance to shape our childâ€™s future by inviting the best young boys we can to experience Cub Scouts with him. Weâ€™re going to work even harder to grow the size and the quality of our group because we know that one day as a teenager, heâ€™ll be surrounded by the best friends we could pick.