The Cub Scouts’ recent decision to recruit girls feels like a bad idea.

It has the potential to hurt both organizations, and imperil the Girl Scouts in particular because the organization already is struggling with dwindling membership, and competing with organized sports, play dates and changes in the cultural taste.

There tends to be an outbreak of outrage and argle-bargle over single-gender activities and organizations, but there isn’t a thing in the world wrong with people bonding and socializing based on their gender — so long as it isn’t being used as a means of exclusion for exclusion’s sake.

There are benefits to single-gender activity, particularly during our formative years.

There’s comaraderie in commonality.

Dare I say, it’s natural. If you notice, at some point during family gatherings, the genders unconsciously gravitate toward their own. Visit any McDonald’s any given morning, and you’ll find clusters of retired men, coffees in hand, solving the world’s problems.

Lord knows someone needs to do it.

The ‘man’ rule

Everybody needs time with their own tribe, so to speak. Our respective genders have unique ways of interacting and communicating.

For instance, females can and will talk about virtually anything. Males can’t and won’t.

Women going to the restroom in pairs or as a group is as much a social thing as the matter at hand.

And no, I don’t know why.

There’s apparently a “man rule” in which guys aren’t supposed to chat it up in the men’s room with people they don’t know.

I don’t get it.

Regarding children, there are plenty of ways to foster equality. For one, we can stop deifying kids by constantly telling them how special they are, and start teaching them that they aren’t any better than anyone else.

We can encourage girls who are interested in science and math. We can stop demeaning and bullying boys who wish to dance or act, or who would rather not compete in a belching contest.

Different means different

We all can stop commenting on female politicians’ looks, and expecting men to have all the answers, all the time.

Does that mean women shouldn’t be astronauts or NFL coaches? Of course not, no more than saying that men shouldn’t coach a women’s sports team. Anyone with a talent or ability should be allowed to make the most of it.

No one thinks twice about a woman being a school principal, police officer or doctor. No one is aghast at seeing a man cooking; in fact, chefs have become rock stars. HGTV has made celebrities of men who specialize in interior design.

Girl Scouts provides girls a space tailored to address their specific developmental needs, and boys should be allowed time to socialize with other boys.

Neither needs the worry of wondering what the opposite sex is thinking.

Boys and girls are equal, not interchangeable.

— Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or charita.goshay@cantonrep.com