During most of my Scouting experience, my father was not as heavily involved with Scouting as my mother. He was always supportive and came on many campouts, but he wasn’t necessarily a leader in our troop. This was probably the case for many fathers out there. Traditional family roles often placed the father in the role of breadwinner; this was the case in my family. Some fathers may be discouraged because they weren’t able to come to a troop meeting or help with a merit badge because of the demands of work.
As stated in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.” While this may not be the mold that fits all families, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints subscribe to this model as set forth by God.
For those who worry about the limited time that you may have with your children, take comfort knowing that your influence is life-changing. Your efforts are not going unnoticed. Let me suggest, through experiences with my father, a few principles in which your impact on each Scouter is felt.
Time is precious
My dad worked long hours every week. Through his retirement earlier this year, he worked at a pulp and paper mill. He worked four days on, four days off—all twelve-hour shifts—and half of those were graveyards. While he still worked many hours, the time spent one-on-one with me was precious. I can vividly remember one cold, winter night. We went camping as a group, and my dad came with. We were as prepared as we could be, but it was FREEZING. Upon waking in the morning, I remember laughing for hours with my dad about our frozen-stiff socks (might have helped to have had these tips on this campout). Experiences like these will always be cherished. Even a few minutes with his or her father can mean the world to a child, I know it did for me.
A notable example
From an early age, kids begin to look to their parents and mimic their actions. At any gathering, my father was the first to collect and wash the dishes. Dad got there early and stayed late to make sure the job was done. After working all day, he came home and helped take care of the kids and helped with our family business. He always led out in family meetings (an impossible task for most families) and kept us going in the right direction. I can attribute many skills and qualities that have helped me to be more employable, to the example of my father. He was trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent…Sound familiar?
Helping me to look up
In alignment with the Boy Scout Oath, fathers have a unique ability to help a young man look to God. While no father on earth is perfect, his testimony can shine brightly in the eyes of a child. My father taught me the importance of being courageous in the face of adversity. When temptation and difficulty arose, he always showed me the importance of getting back on the path to God. I learned the model and power of prayer through each experience on bended knee with my father. By looking to my father, I catch a glimpse of a Heavenly Father, willing to sacrifice and do all that is necessary to provide for their child.
A message for Father’s Day
On this Father’s Day, I want to thank each and every man who has assumed the role of father. Whether that be through children of your own, or your responsibilities as a Scout leader, you are making a difference. For the fathers that feel discouraged because of the balance act between time with children and the demands of being a provider, know that you are making a difference. All that is done in Scouting is to prepare young men for the role of brother, husband and father.
Thank you for all that you do.
Send love and share this article with your father on this special day.