Citizenship and Character are real easy to identify, teach, and train our Scouts, but what about this fitness thing?  We are not just talking about physical fitness.  We need to make sure and look at the emotional and mental fitness of our Scouts.  It is a total package.  We are mentoring young men.  These young men are living a time in their lives that is full of emotion, change, and in many cases confusion about who they are and what they are going to be.  Emotional and mental fitness is something that we as Scout leaders need to be aware of.  How we talk to these young men, how we understand where they come from, and how we work with them on a weekly or more basis is important to how they come to understand what emotional fitness and mental fitness is.   It is tricky ground to step on, and no we are not psychologists or therapist, but by our example and our care, we can go a long way to helping these young men through the tough days of teen age boyhood.
There was an article I picked up along the way.. I thought it had some great ideas and was worth sharing.  The article basically talked about attitude en route to mental and emotional fitness.  There are a few simple things to look at.  Improving your emotional health by positive thought, Choosing positive actions, Disputing pessimistic thought, Doing the right thing, and taking a look at your emotional health.  When we take a look at these things, we can see in our Scouts where they may be in their journey.  When we look at these things in ourselves, we can get a better understanding as to how we are helping, through our example, the Scouts in our care.
So lets take a look at these topics.  See where you are and how you can help.
Improve your emotional health by thinking positively
You’re okay. But can you be even better? That’s one of the questions being asked by a movement in the mental health field known as “positive psychology.” Unlike most traditional psychology, which seeks to understand and heal problems of the mind and emotions, positive psychology delves into what makes us emotionally healthy—or happy—and tries to build on those sources of strength to increase our happiness. According to several studies by psychologists in this movement, happiness can be achieved just by making these adjustments to your attitude.
Choose positive actions. In other words, you may not be able to change everything about yourself, including much of your environment, but there’s a lot that you can control. You can choose to think and act in ways that make your life more pleasant and, ultimately, more meaningful.
Dispute pessimistic thoughts. It may help to treat your own negative thinking as if it were coming from another person. Sometimes simply checking the evidence is enough to show that a negative belief is untrue. For example, you may think you “blew” your diet, when an actual calorie count says you haven’t. Also, you should get in the habit of taking the optimistic tack in explaining events; by remembering bad things will pass, but good things will last.
Do the right thing. As the old saying goes, “Virtue is its own reward.” Be inspired just by doing what’s right in your home, your workplace and your community.
Consider your emotional health. Is happiness this easy to attain? The answer depends in part on how happy or unhappy you already are. For people with serious emotional problems, positive psychology is not a replacement for getting help from a coach, therapist or physician.
Take baby steps. High expectations for change in your life have to be realistic. Happiness springs from actions, but the actions often have to be small steps. For example, shyness is something that keeps people from really engaging in life, but you can’t be expected to just toss aside your shyness and go out and enter a life of politics, or corporate leadership.

You may not want to play the part of psychologists or therapist in your unit, but as a Scoutmaster you are an influence in their lives.  Whether you accept that or not.. you are, and you play a major role in the development of their emotional and mental health.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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