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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