Ideas for the Family-Life Merit Badge

by Molly Thompson

The Family Life merit badge is one of the key badges required for any Boy Scout to become an Eagle Scout, which is the Boy Scouts' highest rank. The requirements of this badge include discussing what it means to be part of a family and the roles of different family members; planning and conducting a family meeting; and completing various chores and projects around the house.

Importance of Family

Support both for and from one's family is a key element of Boy Scouting, and this is the major focus of the requirements of the Family Life merit badge. The first several requirements call for the Scout to prepare and discuss an outline of what a family is; to identify why families are important as well as why he is important to his family; and how the interactions of one family member affects the others. He is required to discuss these issues with his parents or guardians and his assigned merit-badge counselor.

Role in the Family

Contributing to the life of his family is essential to a Scout earning this badge. He is required to show a 90-day record of his regular home duties or chores, noting how often he does each one during this time period. Scouts working on the Family Life badge also have to prepare and conduct a family meeting to talk about a number of significant issues, including personal and family finances, how to avoid substance abuse and the changes young people undergo during their preteen and teenage years. During this meeting, the Scout must discuss with family members ways the family might handle a potential crisis.

Scout Projects

A key requirement of this badge is for the Scout to identify, plan and carry out a project on his own. This project must be one that directly benefits his family, but needs to be one appropriate to the Scout's age and abilities. Most Scouts working on their Family Life merit badges fall into the 13- to 16 age group, but some may be younger, so a complex electrical or construction project might not be a good fit. Instead, Scouts often meet this requirement through projects such as basic landscaping, cleaning out a portion of the garage or attic, painting some furniture in the family home or building a simple bookshelf.

Family Projects

The Scout demonstrates his ability to effectively work with family members by developing and carrying out another project -- this one requiring the participation of his entire family. After identifying an appropriate activity that would benefit the family, the Scout coordinates the tools, tasks and budget to carry out the project, along with the role each family member will play. These projects typically are more involved or larger than the individual projects. For example, a Scout and his family might complete a major painting or reorganization project at home; others may plant new gardens or pave a walkway. Each Scout must document the process and the completed projects, and report to his merit-badge counselor.

About the Author

As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.

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