It has been our tradition on the Voice of Scouting to post inspiring Scout messages based on the Scout Law for twelve days leading up to Christmas Day. The fourth day of the 12 days of a Scout Christmas reminds us that a Scout is friendly.

Scouts are constantly doing acts of service. They are some of the first hands helping after a natural disaster. As we have seen recently, Scouts with first-aid training respond quickly when accidents strike. The Eagle Project is all about finding a way to make a difference in your community. Especially during this time of year, giving comes naturally. While volunteering at the soup kitchen and collecting shoes for children overseas is important and impactful, sometimes our generosity is most influential to the people we see every day. There is scientific evidence to support the claim that friends are crucial and even healthy. 

A Friendly Scout is a Healthy Scout

Friends make hills seem less steep, literally. In a study detailed in the Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that when climbing a steep hill, those that attempted this feat with a friend believed the hill to be less steep than it really was. Those who climbed the hill alone estimated the hill was steeper than in reality. The longer the participants had been friends, the easier the incline became. 

Julianne Holt-Lunstad, an associate professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, found that friendly social interaction is crucial to happiness and longevity. She analyzed data from nearly 150 studies of social relationships and mortality. She found that a person lacking a strong social circle can have a variety of negative effects impacting their life. It is comparable to smoking a pack of cigarettes daily or being obese. 

There is even the study done by a group from the University of California, San Diego that proves the cheerleader effect. This is the idea that people seem more attractive when in a group as opposed to being alone. 

Friendships are important and crucial to a long and enjoyable life. It is the small things that count. Little acts of kindness help build strong interpersonal relationships. Judith Heickson from Idaho recounts a touching moment in her life when friendship made all the difference.

“Five months after my husband, my two-year-old daughter, and I moved 2,000 miles from home, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl with severely clubbed feet. This marked the beginning of a long series of doctor appointments. Taking care of two young children, one of whom required constant medical attention, meant that I was always tired and behind on my household chores. One day, we came home from yet another doctor’s visit to find the front door ajar. I cautiously proceeded into the house, only to find the floors spotless, the dishes cleaned and dried, and the dirty laundry washed and folded. Upstairs, the beds were made, and there were even flowers in a vase beside my bed. It turns out that my friend Joy was driving by my home and noticed my car was gone, so she took the opportunity to help me out. I learned an important lesson that day about compassion. And this friendship was sealed for life!” 

Teach your Scout to make plenty of friends and show them compassion, it could change someone’s life. 

Toan Lam founder of the non-profit Go Inspire Go said, “I learned early on that we cannot control what happens to us, we can only control how we respond. That could mean changing your perspective, praying for peace and/or taking action to do what is in our power to serve our brothers and sisters in the community and around the world.” 

For the next twelve days, visit the Voice of Scouting to find inspiring Christmas messages based on the twelve points of the Scout Law: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, braveclean, and reverent.

Photo from the Order of the Arrow Instagram @oabsa 

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