Free-Range Kids: Boy Scouts Can’t Squirt Squirt Guns at Each Other and Must Use Goggles

Boy Scouts Can’t Squirt Squirt Guns at Each Other and Must Use Goggles

Lenore Skenazy, author, Free Range Kids

Lenore Skenazy, author, Free Range Kids

Boy Scouts can’t shoot squirt guns at each other. Here’s the rulebook (see page 99). And here’s the article for Boy Scout leaders that points out:

 “Water guns and rubber band guns must only be used to shoot at targets, and eye protection must be worn.”

Water balloons, meanwhile, have a size limit: “For water balloons, use small, biodegradable balloons, and fill them no larger than a ping pong ball.”

First off, I was not even aware there ARE biodegradable balloons. And filling any balloon to only the size of a ping pong ball is like saying, “Please do not grow a pair. Ever.”

But in terms of the squirt gun rules: Why can’t kids shoot each other with a stream of water?

Because it’s harmless? Because it’s good clean fun? Because it’s a time-honored thing for kids to do?

Or is it because of a sort of blind belief that if we outlaw every activity that involves boys being boys — even an activity with the word “Boy” in its name  — somehow we will have triumphed over original sin AND avoided all possible lawsuits? Win/win…except that this is caving in to a craven idea of America.

Boys do not end up killers because they shoot squirt guns, any more than they end up rampaging nut jobs because they knocked down some building blocks as kids. For that matter, playing Transformers does not mean a boy grows up to become part robot. Kids are allowed to play without us reading a dark future into every shove.

Photo credit: Rusty Clark – Back In One Piece / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: Rusty Clark – Back In One Piece / Foter / CC

And I say this as a mom who really loves the Scouts. Both my sons belong and it has been great. I admire the troop leaders and all the volunteer parents who help out. And at our troop, at least for as long as my sons have been involved, there has been no discrimination against gay anyone.

But there’s a reason most kids don’t wear their uniforms to school or even discuss their involvement much. It’s the uncoolness factor. That factor is not mitigated by these rules.

If anyone is going to go on a rampage as an adult, maybe it’s the kids who were forced to wear goggles to shoot a squirt gun at a non-human target.

Worlds Worst Mom_Lenore SkenazyLenore Skenazy is the host of the family reality show, ”World’s Worst Mom” Wednesday mornings on the Discovery Life Channel. She is also a public speaker and founder of the book and blog Free-Range Kids.