My 6-year-old son came home with a red, flustered face last week, sniffling between sentences as he told me, somewhat proudly, that he had earned his first Cub Scout patch.

When I asked him why he was upset then, he got even more flustered — and explained that he had come in third place in his Cub Scout den’s popcorn sales this year. While my boy is competitive, he didn’t care so much about selling the most popcorn. But he cared a lot, apparently, about winning the Ninjago Lego set that was the first place prize.

Such is life, and it’s full of lessons.

It’s our first year in Cub Scouts and in just the last few weeks my boy has built a birdhouse, sailed a toy boat in a “regatta” and built a Lego car to race against his fellow scouts. And there are many more experiences to look forward to — going camping, spending the night on the USS Alabama battleship, learning to shoot a bow and arrow.

While our very competitive 6-year-old son is already learning a lot of lessons from the Boy Scouts — namely that you can’t always win at everything — I can tell that it’s going to teach him so much more.

My oldest daughter has also been a scout, starting first in kindergarten as a Daisy Scout, then more recently as a Brownie Scout. We’ve gone to Girl Scout meetings, done crafts, collected patches and filled our minivan with Girl Scout cookies to sell.

And so, I was a little taken aback last month when my 8-year-old daughter asked why she couldn’t do Boy Scouts instead. Most of the boys in her brother’s Cub Scout den are her close friends from school and our neighborhood. She didn’t understand why she couldn’t go to the meetings and participate too.

“You said that girls can do anything, then why can’t I go to Boy Scouts?” she asked as her brother dressed in his uniform for one of his first meetings.

For once, I wasn’t really sure how to answer her — it was a truthful answer that I didn’t want to say.

“Because it’s only for boys,” I replied.

But that could soon change. The Boy Scouts of America announced plans recently to admit girls, a decision passed unanimously by the organization’s board of directors.

According to the change in policy, in 2018 girls will be allowed to join Cub Scout dens, and in 2019, girls will be allowed to become Eagle Scouts, the highest stage of scout, if they meet the requirements. It will be up to each chapter to decide if they want to remain for boys only, if they want to offer all-female groups or create packs that allow both boys and girls.

“We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children,” said Boy Scouts of America CEO Michael Surbaugh in a statement. “Families today are busier and more diverse than ever. Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing.”

On that point, I wholeheartedly agree. Rather than busing two children to two different scouting meetings on two different locations and dates, wouldn’t it be simpler to have them both go to one? Is there really a difference between the two? Is it really that important that the girls have their separation?

Apparently the Girl Scouts of the USA would say so — and haven’t been happy with the decision. According to critics, it’s not so much about the Boy Scouts wanting to be inclusive, but about bringing in more members — and more money — to help the bottom line. If girls start joining the Boy Scouts, it could cause the membership of the Girl Scouts to decline.

Still, I applaud the Boy Scouts decision, regardless of the motivation. Not every “den” will become co-ed, and not every girl will want to be a Boy Scout. But inclusion is a step in the right direction.

But for those girls who would want to join — like my own daughter — at least it will be an option.

— Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News. Reach her at lydia.seabolavant@tuscaloosanews.com.