Sunday, July 17, 2016

Emotional and Psychological Issues Under Pressure

Spent 6 days at camp with the scouts. It was enjoyable, as always. My biggest issue was the fact that 2 of the boys in the troop have some serious emotional issues and required a great deal of assistance to keep them stable. One is a textbook case of manic depressive with zero short term memory due to heavy drug use of his mother during pregnancy. The kid is pure gold when he's comfortable, but when things don't go his way, or he's hungry/sleepy/tired or sick... Godzilla time. The other is an autistic boy that recently move to our troop. He needs constant attention and reinforcement. It's an exhausting mix. The good thing is that the boys are learning their limitations and beginning to understand why they react differently that the other kids.

What I learned was that in a dire situation, I cannot count on them to do anything but exacerbate the issue. Medications won't be enough to keep them in check if their world falls apart on them. Even mild dehydration can cause significant emotional swings in those hampered by emotional difficulties. In an emergency, your children can become a large hindrance to your plans unless you have made some allowance for their emotional needs prior to the event.

If your family member has serious emotional damage, or requires heavy medication to remain compliant, you might be in real trouble as the meds wear off. Planning for this eventuality is almost impossible. There are no good options when it happens.

One of the things that most people don't know is that most successful people have a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental impairment. Sometimes genius has it's torments, and sometimes OCD is the price of organizational perfection in a company.

The other side of this coin is those boys that were sharpened by conflict and testing. Many of the troop were tested by the Firecrafter program. This program is 100% volunteer and lies outside the regular scheduled classes. The boys can choose to start the program during a week long camp if they want to attain one of the three ranks. The first rank is pretty simple and is more of an orientation and molding campaign for 11-12 year olds. The next is more difficult and required the demonstration of fire building skills and the ability to learn productive woodcrafting skills, as well as volunteering for service work around camp. The final tier requires the candidate to make a fire with a fire by friction set they made at camp, and to display their leadership skills by running a campfire program. 

Those boys that completed ranks were very proud and by the end of camp, far more self assured than prior to camp. Those that failed understood that personal responsibility is their doing, and that they were responsible to themselves for the failure to complete the skills. Yes, the ones that didn't pass were upset, by they accepted it and vowed to do better next time.

Another section of the troop had high hopes prior to camp, but once they arrived were more than happy to not attain a single Firecrafter rank, didn't complete their prerequisites, didn't complete a single merit badge and didn't help the troop run smoothly in a single manner.

It's like a cross section of society. I spent 90% of my time with 10% of the troop and the cream always rises. Those boys that are coddled and still tied up to momma's apron strings aren't faring well and will continue to lag behind those that were raised in a more traditional family setting with responsibilities of their own.

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