I am starting to get more hopeful that my nephew will benefit from scouting. He seems to be finding his place in the group. and be receiving the following benefits:
1. He is starting (just starting) to relax more and have some fun like a normal boy. He is finding out that the weekends can consist of more than being quiet while his parents nap their lives away. I think that this is the most important thing for him - having fun. It will keep him from feeling deprived and different, and will hopefully keep him from too much self pity. He loves to hike and the scoutmaster says that is shows. In many ways it is the perfect activity for him.
He no longer worries about advancement. I fact he almost seems to be adverse to it, because he does not want anything to get in the way of having fun.
2. He is learning to be less of an absolutists, and starting to realize that things are not black and white. He realizes his life is still far from ideal, but that he can still try to make his situation better. I told him the old saying "Better to light a single candle than curse the darkness". Before any chances for enjoyment were so few and far between he felt to had to "milk" every opportunity for all he could get (like a man who has been starving gorging himself when he gets to food).
3. He is also learning that in life you have to take the good with the bad. To be honest their are parts of scouting that he dislikes, and wear on him, but he seems to be accepting that he has to put up with them, if he wants the parts he likes.
All of these things are just beginning, but it is like that journey of a thousand miles (starts with a single step). I know their will all kinds of problems and set backs, but I am trying to be very calm and optimistic. I think I was to worried when he started, and I kind of infected him with my stress. Now I am hoping to do the same with good feelings.