Why isn’t there a badge for life?

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Since announcing that our beloved son had received the highest ranking a Boy Scout can earn, Eagle Scout, I’ve been blessed and inundated with congratulations and well wishes. I could not be prouder of this child. Truly. It’s such an honor and a blessing to have had the determination, drive and community support to make this happen.

But now that I know a lot about earning badges, I feel there should be some for scout parents or just human beings in general.

I figured this one as a friend related that her own now-grown Eagle Scout came in real handy recently during an airport layover that turned into an unplanned slumber party when a storm grounded all flights out.

Bored out of his mind and presumably tired of the view from his molded plastic chair, he set off adventuring around the airport. Doing this, he stumbled upon a sort of secret location where the airport had begun to set up cots for stranded travelers. Being intrepid and a can-do sort of person, he snagged his family a prime cot location.

That young man turned a badge into something bigger: usefulness. It’s the little things.

Let’s pretend

Other badges that would come in handy would recognize things that we often use an adult life, but don’t really appreciate until we run into someone who isn’t particularly good at them.

Take, for example, the pretending to listen badge. This is the one we all wear from time to time when we pretend to be interested in the details of someone’s home or work project, fitness level (I’m talking to you, Crossfit) or any project that doesn’t directly involve us.

It’s not that we are bored exactly, it’s that after a while you kind of lose track of the details. So no matter how interested I actually am in the outcome, I’m probably sort of just humming along with the middle parts in hopes that we eventually get to the part where I can cheer.

I think an “I care enough to feign interest” badge would be nice.

Never grow up

The being a grown-up when you really don’t feel like one badge would be sort of the general human population’s version of Eagle Scout.

As it turns out, being a grown-up when you don’t really feel like being one is easily 50 percent of the job 80 percent of the time.

I love being an adult, don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to pretend like any amount of money would get me to go back to high school. And I liked high school. The truth is, I like making my own decisions and, for the most part, being semi-responsible most, if not some, of the time. It’s just hard when you have so many responsibilities and none of them involve making s’mores.

Role model

Of course the “Responsible Role Model” badge would also be one of the harder ones to earn.

Being a role model is where I get tripped up. The thing is, I don’t always feel like setting a good example. Sometimes I’m more of a “horrible warning” sort. There are times — rare but legendary — when I want to have a tantrum. Lash out. Or just in general lay down, stomp my feet, and refused to take part in general civilized living. I’ve also been known to gossip and say inappropriate things out loud in front of my children and their friends.

Give me a sash

At the very least, when I’m feeling most like a princess diva, I wish someone would give me a sash with little badges on it where I can feel kind of good about my accomplishments on an otherwise icky day. I want a sash upon which I can sew things like “paid mortgage on time with money she didn’t know she had.”

How about “spoke calmly to mean people.” “Didn’t drink orange juice out of the carton and put it back” badge would be impossible to earn until post-college/mid-20s.

The truth is we all walk around winning little victories every day. If we do our best, practice kindness and compassion and try as much as possible not to let our tempers get the best of us, I think we all deserve a little pat on the back and maybe a badge and sash too.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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