I recently read Benjamin Hardy’s post suggesting 10 habits to change boys into men. While reading, I kept thinking, “This is why we need Scouting!”

Before Hardy listed the 10 habits, he provided a quick background on some of the struggles of boys and men. Young men have a higher risk of dropping out of school, committing a crime, becoming an alcoholic, and committing suicide. Hardy cited several books as references: The Demise of Guys, Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys, Why Boys Fail, and Boys Adrift.

Hardy’s post does not discount challenges and struggles faced by girls and women; that’s a different topic. The list he offers to boys and young men can improve, if not completely change, their entire approach to life which would, in turn, change their lives. Here’s Hardy’s 10 habits to change boys into men and how each relates to Scouting:

  1. Think beyond yourself.

A Scout is Helpful, friendly, courteous, kind. Lord Baden Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts,
stated, “We must change boys from a ‘what can I get’ to a ‘what can I give’ attitude.” Showing awareness and concerns for others is a sign of boys changing into men.

 

  1. Stop playing video games.

 Scouts aren’t asked to stop playing video games. (Powell wisely stated, “It is risky to order a boy not to do something.”) 

However, Scouting heavily advocates physical activity, engaging in nature and learning.   “A boy is not a sitting-down animal,” said Baden Powell.

Scouting activities focus on getting boys out in nature and engaged in reality with those around them. Duty to Self, a Scouting principle, includes “‘keeping yourself physically strong [which] means taking care of your body. Eat the right foods and build your strength. Staying mentally awake means learn all you can, be curious, and ask questions…” 

Often video games are a source of escape from reality. They numb the mind rather than keep you ‘mentally awake.’

  1. Learn in healthy environments, and lay-off the meds.

Like the previous habit, getting out in nature with educated leaders and peers is great for exploring, learning and growing. As Duty to Self states, “Eat the right foods and build your strength. Staying mentally awake means learn all you can, be curious, and ask questions. Being morally straight means to live your life with honesty, to be clean in your speech and actions, and to be a person of strong character.”

Lord Baden Powell also said, “There is not teaching to compare with example.” These ideals help encourage learning in healthy environments, an essential step in boys’ transition to manhood.

  1. Get intensive physical stimulation.

In general, Scout activities include intense physical activities like hiking, mountain biking, camping, canoeing, sailing, white-water rafting, etc. Hardy advocates that physical pain is a part of the development process for healthy hormone levels. This idea explains why many young men enjoy intensive sports like football, rugby, wrestling, etc. Powell agrees; it’s good for their fidgety, restless energy. Plus, it’s a way for them to develop skills like teamwork, leadership, discipline, etc.

  1. Take responsibility for your life, and set your standards high.

According to Lord Baden Powell, “An individual step in character training is to put responsibility on the individual.”

Scouting encourages young men to be morally straight and mentally awake. The program focuses on teaching young men leadership skills and promotes character and responsibility as vital to the development of youth as they become men. 

 

  1. Pray, meditate, and write in a journal.


Duty to God – Scouting promotes faith, character, and being morally straight. “Being morally straight means to live your life with honesty, to be clean in your speech and actions, and to be a person of strong character.”

7.Earn good friends.

A Scout is friendly – A Scout is a friend to all. He is a
brother to other Scouts. He offers his friendship to people of all races and nations and respects them even if their beliefs and customs are different from his own.

 

  1. Commit fully To someone.

A Scout is loyal and should fulfill his duty to others. Demonstrating the ability to take and fulfill responsibilities to others is one sign where you see the change of boys into men. 

  1. Fall in love with learning.

 Again, in Duty to Self, it states, “Staying mentally awake means learn all you can, be curious, and ask questions.” Scouting promotes engaging boys with natural curiosity. Merit badges give boys goals, achievements. The result is a variety of skills and character building experiences that they can benefit from for the rest of their lives.

10. Take bigger risks.

A Scout is Brave – Scouting teaches adventure, responsibility, and leadership. It also teaches boys to overcome obstacles and learn to do difficult things. It’s good to remember failure is a part of learning– not something to fear. Be brave, take risks, learn and grow. Overcoming challenges is an important aspect of how to change boys into men.

Hardy’s closing statement is this, “You can have whatever life you choose. Don’t be afraid to dream big for yourself. Have the courage to seize that life and truly live, rather than only imagining living. The world needs you.”

We need boys who will become great men, and it seems many of them need Scouting. I appreciate Benjamin Hardy’s efforts to build awareness on steps from boyhood to manhood. Cheers, Hardy!

 

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Angela Shelley
Japanese Tour Guide turned Jamboree Joy Ride. Combine a dad full of natural curiosity of the world and a love of learning with a Scouting momma whose passion for children, education and the outdoors and you get a family with many Dutch oven cooking, camp song singing, compass-confounded exploring, squirrel-chasing experiences. Despite that, I never would have guessed I would one day be a National Parks and Monuments tour guide for Japanese people. And I never would have guessed I'd then move on to work for Boy Scouts of America.

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