Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Citizenship in the Nation

Man, this picture was taken this summer and I can't believe how much these guys have grown in the past six months!  Joshua's Eagle is right around the corner....and I am realizing he is just the beginning of our Scouting journey with three more boys to follow.  Yikes!

Even though that seems like a bit of a nightmare ...I am really glad my kids have the opportunity and the encouragement of those around them to do Scouting.  They are learning the good old fashioned things that all boys should know, but in our age of gadgets and gaming get left behind. 

Every year for the past three years I have been teaching the "Citizenship in the Nation" merit badge for  the boys in our Stake.  It is one of the required merit badges that they really are not excited about and come to the class because they "have" to.  I will be honest, there are times when I HATE teaching the class.  I gain a WHOLE new appreciation for Jr High teachers.  Seriously.  

I also gain a new appreciation for these young men.  Of course they can be obnoxious, rude at times, and seem disinterested.  But they are also sweet, eager to learn, and can be very endearing. 

And of course, I re-gain my love for our Country!  It is really a crash course in American Heritage/Pol. Sci 101/American Government all combined into one.  If anything, I just hope the boys leave with a love for their country and a desire to serve and make it better.  

We talk about the Constitution and the Establishment Clause...
Freedom of Religion
“Congress shall make no law respecting an ESTABLISHMENT of religion or prohibiting the free exercise there of…”

The 19th Amendment and the Women's right to vote...I have to get my little feminist speech in there when I can! Kidding....sort of. 

Of course, the boys favorite Amendment is always the Second...

They didn't think that joke was that funny.  Sheesh, kids these days. 

I try to talk about politics around the world a bit, just so they can see that not every one enjoys the freedoms that we often just take for granted.  
 I try to keep things positive and focus on the good things about our country since they will get enough of the bad from their liberal college professors.  Just kidding, but really...sometimes there are some things that you just can't sugar-coat especially when it comes to good old politicians.  They are at the age where they already have learned that no matter what their political leanings are...there are some politicians out there that don't make the best of decisions.  

I ask, "Who knows who are Senators from Idaho are?"  

Usually, most don't know James Risch.  (Sorry, James!)  Some do know that Michael Crapo is one of them.  They ALL seem to think it is so funny to say...

"Oh, I know one, Michael CRAP-o."  This happens every time.  This time that was followed by, 

"Wasn't he the guy that just got arrested for Drunk Driving?"  

"Oh, ya, I remember that!"  

"Ya, what WAS he doing?"  

Then I get to tell the boys that one of their requirements is to write a letter to one of their trustworthy Representatives about a bill, or a concern, or even a letter of thanks.  

Dear Senator Crapo, 

Thanks for getting buzzed while you were in Washington DC and then driving back to your place while under the influence.  We appreciate your fine example.  We are just glad you had your pants on when you got pulled over. Things could always be worse. 

We are learning about the Amendments.  I bet you are grateful for Amendments 4-8, guaranteeing the rights of the accused.  I hope they let you know what you were being charged with when you were pulled over, and I hope you know that you have the a right to an attorney.  Did you plead the fifth at that time?  We want to know all the details!  Let us know how it is going!  

Thanks,  Your Local Boy Scouts of America in Idaho

Just kidding.  We didn't write any such letter, and I am sure justice was carried out. 

We go over several famous speeches....

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live

 in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of 

their skin but by the content of their character."

Martin Luther King

"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if 

you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern

 Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this 

gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate!Mr. Gorbachev, 

tear down this wall!'"

Ronald Reagan 

  "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country."
John F Kennedy

Those are just a few of the speeches...but they give me the chills every time! 

I think this sign from the time around the 18th Amendment is so funny.  Funny and sweet. 
"Please help me to keep him pure..."

And then I thought this one celebrating the 21st Amendment was kind of catchy.  I tried to sing the words to the boys but they didn't really appreciate it.  

 Did you know that the Idaho Capitol building is the only Capitol heated with Geothermal Energy.  The hot water comes from 3000 feet below the ground.  And all this time people think that we are just a bunch of rednecks...um hello, we are like the original environmentalist here in Idaho! 
Did you also know that our Capitol has over 50,000 sq. ft of marble inside it. 

Well,  if you stuck with me through this whole blog post you should earn your Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge.  If you would have come to my class you would have gotten Chocolate Chip Cookies too.  I am not above bribing the kids to listen to me, not one bit!


  1. Way to go Natalie! That program wouldn't run without people like you.

  2. Hi
    Great Job, I am about to start teaching Citizenship in the Nation to my troop! Any pointers, thanks for any help.