My youngest son has recently joined Cub Scouts. Wolf Scouts to be specific. He is thrilled to join the den and I am thrilled that he has an avenue through which he may make some friends outside of Occupational therapy sessions.
He loves the Cub Scout uniform shirt, he loves the idea of camping, but he is especially fascinated with the idea of earning badges (I guess this ties in pretty well with all of those behavioral positive reinforcement charts we’ve had over the years). So, every couple of nights we look through the Wolf book and complete a few of the badge requirements.
“Let’s go to my work now, Mommy.”
“Your work, Sweetie?”
“My Wolf work, Mommy. I need some badges!”
So we work on earning some badges. The first was the “Family Fun” badge, then the “Duty to God” badge. Accomplishing these requirements is a source of great pride for my son. In a world where he is usually labeled as “behind” and “delayed”, where play dates are superceded by therapy sessions, and where he is starting to realize that there are significant differences between him and his typical peers, he has found a place where he can earn tokens of accomplishment just like other kids. Tokens that mean something to his typical peers. Tokens that show he can participate in their world. These are a big deal, my friend. They are proof that he belongs.
As we mark off each item, he supervises my signature on each line to make sure I get it right. “Very good letters, Mommy,” he says, repeating the phrase that we parrot night after night, encouraging him to mind his handwriting while he does his school homework.
The night that he finished these two badge requirements he made sure he included a report in his bedtime prayers… “I earned two badges God! I did (what were they Mommy?)… I did the Fun badge and my Duty to you badge! Are you proud of me, God?”
I think my son is proud of his work… and God is proud of HIS work, too.