|Ripped from the pages of the Middle Tenn. Boy Scouts' website.|
"There is no teaching to compare with example."
-- Sir Robert Baden-Powell
I don't know who that Lord Baden-Powell guy is, but isn't that the truth?
In high school, I had the good fortune of being a leader on the football team. Our coaches drilled it into us, "you guys are the captains, lead by example and the team will follow."
You know what? They were right. If I was screwing around in practice, younger players would horse play. If I worked my butt off, the younger players would work their tails off.
The decision to lead -- or not -- makes an impression on those around you whether you want it to or not.
That's why the Middle Tenn. Boy Scouts' decision today to continue embracing intolerance is so wrong headed. According to NewsChannel5.com, the Nashville-based Scouts voted to continue the practice of open discrimination against children, volunteers and employees from LGBT families.
What are we "teaching" the children currently involved in scouts with this "example"? That openly gay kids and adults can't be one of us? Somehow they are less a person? Less a family than theirs? A danger even?!
Next time you hear about a bully picking on or teasing an LGBT student, remember that bully wasn't born with prejudice, it was learned somewhere from someone.
The example set by the Boy Scouts today sows seeds in the minds of children that discrimination is OK sometimes because "some people" are different.
It's not OK.
Our examples will inform our children's behavior, including, perhaps especially, the actions of an organization devoted to shaping the minds of young people.
People will say, "BJ, it's a private organization -- if you don't like, don't join the Scouts." Noted. I won't.
I also won't stop defending my values and the values of Tennesseans who embrace equality for all our families. We're at our best in America when we fight to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and has the chance to succeed.
And change will come to Tennessee even, piece by piece, family by family -- maybe even Scout troop by Scout troop -- if we press on teaching tolerance to our kids by example.