The Rev. H. S. Pelham, in his book, The Training of the Working Boy, enumerates the
following qualities which have to be taken into consideration:
Humour. — It must be remembered that a boy is naturally full of humour; it may be on the shallow or vulgar side, but he can always appreciate a joke and see the funny side of things. And this at once gives the worker with boys a pleasant and bright side to his work and enables him to become the cheery companion, instead of the taskmaster, if he only joins in the fun of it.
Courage. — The poorer boy, who has a life of hardship, generally manages to have pluck as well. (Jack Corn well, like many another hero of the war, was a boy Scout belonging to a poor city Troop.) He is not by nature a grumbler, though later on he may become one, when his self-respect has died out of him and when he has been much in the company of "grousers."
Confidence. — A boy is generally supremely confident in his own powers, especially the poorer class of boy, because in many cases he has had to fend for himself without the help of his parents. Therefore, he is rather averse to being treated as a child and being told to do things or how to do them. He would much rather try for himself, even though it may lead him into blunders, but it is just by making mistakes that a boy gains experience and makes his character.
Sharpness. — The town boy is generally as sharp as a needle. I know in the Army how easy it was to train a town recruit as compared with one from the country, in matters appertaining to observation and noticing things and deducing their meaning.
Love of Excitement. — The town boy is generally more unsettled than his country brothers by the excitements of the town, whether they are, as Mr. Pelham says, "an arrest, or a passing fire engine, or a good fight between two of his neighbours — especially if one is a woman." Cricket is too dull for him, he demands football or a gambling game, and he cannot stick at a job for more than a month or two because he wants change.
Responsiveness. — The poorer boy, as a rule, gets very little attention at home, so that when he finds somebody who takes an interest in him he responds and follows where he is led, and it is here that hero-worship comes in as a great force for helping the Scoutmaster.
Loyalty. — This is a feature in a boy's character that must inspire boundless hope. The poor are loyal friends to each other, and thus friendliness comes almost naturally to a street boy. It is the one duty that he understands. He may appear selfish outwardly, but, as a general rule, he is very willing under the surface to be helpful to others, and that is where our Scout training finds good soil to work upon.