When I think of Scout­ing, I think of my Dad. I remem­ber sit­ting around the camp­fire at night with the oth­er boys, lis­ten­ing to my Dad tell ghost sto­ries. The pines reached the sky in a dark cir­cle, the camp­fire warm­ing our hands and toes and faces (while oth­er body parts away from the fire seemed as cold as the bright moon). We sat on large rocks and hard logs, spell­bound, while my Dad shared sto­ries from his child­hood.

Now he’s been gone for decades. Reach­ing the mid-cen­tu­ry point in my own life, I won­der how Dad had the sta­mi­na to stay up at camp with me, his fourth son (and six­th child). I mar­vel at his patience and strength.

As my youngest enters Scout­ing, I hope to be just a lit­tle like my Dad, his kind­ness, his wis­dom, his humor, his ease, his sense of fun, his sense of seri­ous­ness, his leadership—all marks of true Scout­ing.

Scout­ing teach­es us to respect nature, to be pre­pared, to work hard, to keep try­ing, to learn, to enjoy life, to be true to God and coun­try, to hon­or wom­an­hood, to do a good turn dai­ly, to serve the elderly—to be trust­wor­thy, loy­al, help­ful, friend­ly, cour­te­ous, kind, obe­di­ent, cheer­ful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent—in oth­er words, to be like my Dad.

The pur­pose of Scout­ing, they say, is to help boys become men.

That’s why Father’s Day and Scout­ing belong togeth­er, like a dad with his son

Michael Staker
is a physician for the Army and has worked in Scouting for nearly 40 years. He loves his wife and seven children.

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