A mother’s surprise at the maturity of first grade boys
“I want to learn how to shoot a gun.” Alex calmly told me as I looked through his backpack to determine how much homework he had and to sort through the miscellaneous forms and fundraising requests.
“What?” I asked. The statement had caught me off guard. I was ill prepared to discuss shooting with my six year old. “You want to do what?”
“And, I want to shoot a bow and arrow. I want you to sign me up for Cub Scouts.”
“Umm . . .I don’t think they teach you how to shoot a gun,” I laughed. “They do!” Alex said enthusiastically and pulled a flyer out of the stack of papers I was reviewing.
I scanned the flyer and sure enough, there were several pictures showing children his age in various states of revelry. The top picture showed a child carefully aiming a BB gun. Another showed a child balancing a bow and arrow. Still another showed a child preparing to race at the Pinewood Derby.
“See?” Alex said. “I want you to sign me up!”
A few days later, we attended the information meeting. As it turned out, many of the boys in Alex’s first grade class were also eager to join Cub Scouts. As I chatted with the other moms, I was amused to find that the other boys had also said they wanted to “shoot a gun” and “shoot a bow and arrow.”
As we waited outdoors for the meeting to begin, the boys ran around, jumped, shouted, climbed, pushed, pulled, tugged, fell down and laughed. Each time a new boy arrived, the kids noisily welcomed him into the fold by yelling “Jack is here!! Yeah!!” or “Look it’s Logan!” They would run over to the new arrival and offer a hug or just group around him.
The more boys that arrived, the more rambunctious the group became. Once one boy was corrected and directed to stop doing something (like jumping from the steps), we other parents felt obligated to say the same thing to our boys. We quickly grew weary of interrupting our “grown up talk” to say “stop climbing,” and “stop running” and “no, you don’t need another drink of water!” and “no, you can’t have any gum!” At some point, we seemed to agree that it was simply too tiring to stop the party boy behavior and just started to ignore it. Quite frankly, we were also outnumbered.
As the meeting began, the boys barged into the room full of energy. High spirited, they eagerly took seats in the front of the room. They moved chairs, bounced around, poked, prodded, laughed and ignored us parents. I cringed at the pure chaos of the situation as I took a seat with the rest of the parents (as far away from the juice box buddies) as we could get away with.
I know we were all thinking the same thing. Were the kids old enough to handle scouts? How could they possibly be trusted with a BB gun and bow and arrow? Just then, the Scout Master entered the room. The boys recognized the uniform and immediately settled down. They sat in their chairs attentively and did not speak. They listened as he spoke with them and told them about Cub Scouts and told them about all they would learn. After a few minutes, he dismissed the boys to go work on a craft while the parents listened to the rest of the presentation. The boys left the room quietly barely looking back at us parents.
We watched in wonder and amazement at how mature the boys had behaved. Maybe, I thought, we didn’t need to worry quite so much. Maybe the juice box buddies would be just fine.
Tiffany is the mother of a curly haired six year old boy who wants to be Batman when he grows up! When she is not engaged in an intense light saber battle, watching Transformers (cartoons and movies), asking her child not to jump from the top step or being told, “you’re playing action figures the wrong way, mom” she contemplates how wonderful it would be if her child were a twin or triplet. Tiffany is the Human Resources Manager for Step2.