I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine about my experience in the Boy Scouts of America growing up. I was a scout all the way through high school when I got my Eagle Scout. I love the idea of young boys and teens developing life skills under the guidance of adult leadership through impactful experiences in the outdoors. I think it is much needed.
At the beginning of my experience, this was exactly what it was. The problem was that the archetype for boy scouts never changed in 100 years. They still used the same 1950’s picture of a scout in their marketing, the uniform never changed, and the men leading never changed. Why is this a problem? Well, to start teenage boys don’t want to wear handkerchiefs around their necks out in public with thigh high shorts and socks pulled up to the knees (at least not when I was in high school). They also don’t want overweight, balding, middle age men giving them talks on leadership while they hangout with 7th graders every Tuesday night at 6pm (okay, is this sounding a little too personal now?). They want passion, adventure, and physicality. I personally wanted to go climbing, hike, shoot guns, water ski, make fires, blow things up, backpack, tie knots, canoe, and all the other cool stuff on the poster I signed up for.
Being able to speak into younger generations and make positive impacts on them means being able to understand where they are coming from and understanding current youth culture. You can’t expect kids to listen to you if you think and tell them that everything they do, like, and think is dumb. It also means showing them something worthwhile on the other side of adolescence. They are looking for passion, adventure, and physicality. They don’t want to see themselves in 20 years as overweight, over-stressed, and working for the weekend where they sit around and watch TV all day. There is no reason to not be the guy your teenage self wanted to be. And no, that doesn’t mean giving up your job and all your responsibilities. It means waking up and going throughout your day with passion. It means being stoic. It means taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and spiritually. And it means finding adventure, wherever you can, even if it’s in your own backyard.
Where should you start? Well, I know making changes to your physical health will give you energy and momentum that can be applied to the rest of your life so let’s start there. Let’s make a change together and start being the men our teenage selves would look up to and want to emulate.