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YOUR KIDS The Fourth R Try these 10 ways to help Scouts develop resilience.

THESE DAYS, READING, writing and arithmetic are just a few of the skills children need to learn in order to achieve success. These “three R’s” sometimes get lost in a sea of other skills, including critical thinking, mul- titasking, leadership and teamwork. And then there’s the fourth R:

resilience, the ability to bounce back when obstacles challenge or prevent us from achieving our goals. Resilience might be the most impor- tant skill of all, because it can mean the difference between success and failure in every area of life. “Resilience is about mindset,” says neuropsychologist Sam Goldstein,

Ph.D. “How do you feel about your capabilities? What kinds of resources do you seek within yourself when challenges occur?” Goldstein has researched and

written about resilience with child psychologist Robert Brooks, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School. In their book, Raising Resilient Children (McGraw-Hill, 2002), the two psy- chologists drew on a combined half-century of clinical practice to identify 10 “guideposts” parents can follow to foster resilience in kids. Goldstein is a former Cub Scout

who sees many Scouts in his prac- tice. Experience has shown him that

Scouting offers a great environment for teaching resilience. Here, then, is a Scouting perspective on the guide- posts the two psychologists identified.

1Be empathetic. Empathy is being able to look at the world through other people’s eyes. For example, rather than criticize a shy Scout who’s afraid to approach strang- ers during a fundraiser, say, “Many kids find it hard to talk to strangers. Let’s find another job for you to do until you feel more comfortable.”

2Communicate with respect. Communicating effectively includes listening attentively, not interrupting and never putting the other person down. Respect also includes honesty. While you shouldn’t discuss issues that are very personal or beyond kids’ emo- tional or cognitive abilities, you also shouldn’t hide the truth.

3Be flexible. Insanity has been jokingly defined as repeating the same mistakes and expecting differ- ent results. If what you’re doing as a parent or as a Scout leader isn’t working, try something different. You’re more likely to get the results you were hoping for, and, even more important, you’ll be modeling flexibil- ity for your kids.

4Give undivided attention. How do kids spell love? T-I-M-E. Giving kids undivided attention is integral to their self-esteem. Schedule

FIND MORE PARENTING advice for raising resilient kids at



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