My good friend Jan just had her third and last son achieve the rank of Eagle in the Boy Scouts of America program. Last weekend she planned and pulled off an Eagle Court of Honor that made planning a wedding look like a stroll in the park. She then collapsed and slept for three days in a row.
Now I realize that most of you are familiar with the requirements that a young scout must pass in order to achieve the coveted rank of Eagle. And once those requirements are met, the scout receives a great deal of attention and recognition for that achievement.
However… few people (other than Eagle Mom’s themselves) realize how much work is required of the poor scouting mother. There is no scouting mother’s web page, thick paperback program guide explaining the duties of the mom of an Eagle to be, and no presidential letter thanking dear old mama for getting her kid to make the grade.
So, in an effort to correct this scouting oversight… let me share with you the six requirements to becoming an Eagle Mom. (Note: This is simply the opinion of the writer and not of the BSA, because as we know, the writer thinks she is very funny… and the BSA does not.)
Requirement 1 – Your scout must be actively involved in the scouting program for a minimum of six months. This means that you must use whatever means at your disposal to separate said scout from his video games/TV/computer/girlfriend and make sure he shows up to his scouting activities. It is best to keep a large supply of neckerchiefs and holders on hand as these can disappear at a moment’s notice thus giving said scout a reason to complain and waste time getting ready. Also important to note is that dances, hay rides and pretty much anything involving the opposite sex does not constitute required scout meetings.
Requirement 2 - Your scout must demonstrate he lives by the Scout Oath and Law, and find people willing to write letters saying that he does. For Eagle Mom’s this means nagging, lots and lots of nagging. “Did you get those letters written? Did you find that address? Envelopes and stamps are in the same drawer they have been for the past ten years! People need more time than one afternoon to write a recommendation!
Requirement 3 - Your scout must earn a total of 21 merit badges. Moms, that means that you must become experts in 21 different subjects, and guess what… they aren’t stuff we already know how to do, like juggling a crying baby, a frying pan full of hot oil and a telemarketer all at the same time. It’s stuff like coin collecting, ham radios and my favorite… personal management. You know that kid that you can’t get to bring his dirty clothes from his bedroom to the laundry room without following him with a whip? Yup, that’s the one that’s supposed to learn personal management.
Requirement 4 – Your scout needs to hold and carry out a position of responsibility for a minimum of six months. And again, it’s not the type of responsibility that we mom’s would find really useful like say being in charge of the laundry for six months or simply taking Fido on a walk every night like your scout promised when you got the dog in the first place. It means more driving them to meetings, more reminding them to make phone calls and more last minute trips to the store (cause you can’t have a weenie roast when no one was assigned to bring the hot dogs).
Requirement 5 – Your scout must complete the infamous Eagle Project. A fun little activity where for every one hour your scout puts into it; our Eagle Mom must put in five. First she must help her scout come up with a reasonable project. Something a little less dramatic than a star-studded charity concert to benefit the Haitian relief effort , and a little bigger than clearing the table after an especially large Sunday family dinner. This can be a challenging task for the mom of a boy who takes twenty minutes just to pick out a candy bar at the store.
After providing an extensive list of possible project ideas, and then threatening to turn off all electrical devises in the house if they don’t hurry and choose something, an Eagle Mom must “help” her son plan this event, “remind” him to call all those who will assist in the project, “drive” him to the various locations to pick up supplies and make arrangements and then “provide” four dozen pizzas during the day of the project.
Then when the work is completed, the project is done and the video game beckons, she must push again so that her son will complete his paper work and get credit for all her… oops I mean his work.
Requirement 6 – We are almost there. Now that the project is done, the merit badges are sewn neatly down the sash and the paper work is assembled; your little scout must add a statement of his ambition and life purpose. Just a note… they are looking for BIG things like saving the ozone layer or creating world peace. So getting to level 19 on Virtual Quest, saving Princess Alala and conquering the wicked wizard Bladamad will not work, even if in fact that is your scout’s main ambition in life at the moment.
If after completing all six requirements, you and your scout are still speaking to each other, there is one last final requirement, and mom it’s all yours. You get to plan the huge multi-media event honoring your son for all his work and effort in earning the rank of Eagle Scout.
Then and only then can you collapse and sleep for three days straight! You deserve it. And to all the Eagle Mom’s out there reading this blog, YOU are my heroes.