How I Decided to Leave the Boy Scout Pack

Accommodation Is Not a Shield From Criticism – but the Problem Is

When I was in high school, I was a very active member of the Boy Scout pack. We did many things together; hiking, fishing, and swimming – activities that I know will get many parents upset but will not stop us from reaching our goals. I do not regret this decision, particularly in light of the fact that I have been a Scout leader for years.

This is an important question, and I must stress that what I say to my sons is their decision. The boys know their role, what they do, and where they intend to take them as they grow. If they would like to continue to be part of the Boy Scout pack, or if the time has come to make a change and they want to leave, then they have my blessing to do so.

A few weeks ago, they asked me if I could help them plan a trip – they had heard about my time at Duke University and wanted to attend the program there. We decided against further discussion, but as I write this, three weeks later, the trip is still in the planning stages.

Since my decision to attend Duke was made more than four years ago, I have had to be very careful in my decision-making. And I will be as careful in my responses to this question as I would be in any other.

I was hired as an adjunct professor in 1994, and although I have been with the school for less than a year, I will probably be teaching another year or two. I am not ready to retire, but the time has come to pursue other projects. So I know that I will be out of the classroom for several weeks. I anticipate being able to spend the weekends and evenings at home with my family. If you were in my position, what would you do? If you had to make this decision after seeing what has happened to hundreds of parents who have had to make similar decisions, what should be your attitude?

It all started with the invitation to Duke. When I was hired, I was asked to teach classes on international politics and international relations. I accepted. As with almost all my assignments, I learned that they were all very important and that the classes would be very interesting. When I walked into the class that first semester, I was amazed at how much I learned from my own life. I met students who had lived in various countries for a year or less

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