OH! For God’s SAKE! Water Pistols?

Standard Water Pistol

The Boy Scouts of America has banned water pistols. It’s been on their books for a while but resurfaces each summer because the BSA reminds folks of the rules in preparation for the season’s activities.

BUT REALLY? I’m caught by the memories of my family and my friends and their families playing with squirt guns.

Across America during the summer folks are playing with super soakers, and hose nozzles and generally having a good time POINTING things at each other.

The Boy Scouts have also banned Nerf Guns, Lazer Tag, Paintball, Airsoft etc, too. (You can shoot at a non-living, non humanform target.) I guess that I can kind of, see banning projectiles.

Lazer Tag is a bit of a stretch. (Stealth, and learning when to dive for cover may be far more relevant to us all in the near future.)

BSA Logo

Lazer Tag is about moving, maintaining cover, and shooting accurately… Ok, maybe that is a bit warlike.

Water pistols???? I can’t help but remember summer outings with scouts where the scoutmaster tried to get us with a bucket of water and we buzzed around him like angry hornets fast and with accuracy that had HIM drenched while we were mostly dry.

No-one gets into a water pistol fight when it’s 100° F thinking tactics or anything other than “Got YA!” with a lot of running around and laughter. 

Water pistols are about the most benign, inexpensive, fun you can have as a child. Who doesn’t have fond memories of loading up a water pistol with Icy water from the ice chest at a family outing?


I pity anyone who doesn’t remember catching an adult male in the crossfire and thinking, “We’re done for…” only to have that adult whip out a bigger badder squirt gun and chase all the kids, joining in the mayhem. Eventually everyone comes back soaked, laughing, and having made a memory that will put a smile on their face for the rest of their lives.

Some boys in my generation wouldn’t have had the opportunity to build those memories without Scouts. Those boys would never have had a chance to see adult males playing. Moreover, those boys, as they became young men wouldn’t have learned that restraint and letting the little kids “win” is also part of being a man. 

All boys need that kind of experience. It doesn’t matter that they might not get it from their fathers, what matters is that they get it from somewhere.  Scouting should be about those lessons, not legitimizing silly policies in the name of political correctness.

I fondly remember many lessons being taught to me on long warm summer days in the South. 

It seems like we’re stripping away what it is to be children. 

Even worse, it seems like we’re forgetting the simple beauty and joy of Adult Males showing children that it’s ok to play, be silly, and even “lose” a game.

I can tell you as an uncle, it’s really tough to “lose” a game without the children catching on.

You want to build their confidence with the “win”,  but make them work hard for their success. You never want them to feel that you threw the game.

That was a lesson I learned one particular summer in Tennessee just outside of Cookeville. I was watching my father play a game with my little brother. They were whooping and hollering in a pasture, playing some hybrid game of tag.

fireflies aka lightning bugs

I was sitting on a rock smiling as they tussled. I couldn’t join in because I had a big ass bandage on my foot.

Lightning bugs were blinking in the tall grass when Dad came out of the pasture carrying my nearly exhausted brother. Dad had been “caught” 10 times and that was the end of the game. 

As Dad came toward me he stopped. “Son, put your arm around my neck,” he said, helping me get on my feet. “Just keep your weight off your foot as best you can, lean on me, yeah that’s the ticket.” Dad carried his 5 year old and acted like a crutch for his 15 year old, bringing us both in to dinner.