While the rest of the troop curls up in their tents, our intrepid Senior Patrol Leader throws down a ground cloth, a pad, and his sleeping bag alongside his backpack, curls up, and snores contentedly. Behind him is his camp chair, to which he has tied his crutches, upon which he has neatly hung his field uniform (“Class-As”), water bottle in reach.
He’s come a very long way since our first campout together 9-1/2 years ago. Now he wants to take me backpacking along the Pacific Crest Trail. He has gone from video game couch-potato to an intrepid outdoorsman, and I give all the credit to the Boy Scouts of America and the encouragement of his teachers at school.
A little note to my friends in China and elsewhere who disparage the value of extra-academic endeavors beyond those that will polish college applications: when we slash everything out of our children’s lives but academics, we not only shortchange our offspring: we shortchange society, our nations, and the world at large.
Never in our history has it been more important to raise resilient children.