Since adopting the six pillars as a focus and mission statement, the Council has written and solicited articles from volunteers and professionals alike about each of these pillars. Here at The Boy Scout, we have focused on one pillar each month and have published and shared articles accordingly. As we enter our third year of this initiative, we want to look back at the articles we’ve published and highlight the best content for each pillar.
May’s theme is Life Skills: Be prepared to be good husbands and fathers by following the examples of worthy men, like Scout leaders, the bishopric, our prophets, and most of all, the Savior. Here are the top five articles from The Boy Scout about how Scouting helps young men gain life skills and grow to be successful husbands, fathers, and men of God:
Derrick Larsen grew up with a father who chose to waste his life on addictions instead of supporting and caring for his family. In this account of his growing years, Derrick shares how after his father’s suicide, worthy, involved Scout leaders taught him to be a good husband and father when his own father couldn’t.
Favorite quote: “Scouting replaced what I didn’t have in life. Scouting replaced my dad. My Varsity coach loved me and helped me know that I was important. He helped me connect to my Savior and was a wonderful example of what a father should be. He used Scouting to keep me engaged and active in the Church. He used Scouting to build my confidence and show me that life was more than just a slew of disappointments and let downs. Here was a man who cared. Here was a man that had a testimony of Jesus Christ. Here was a man that shared his gifts, time, and talents in building up the Kingdom of God.”
Elder Dale H. Munk of the Seventy never really did much Scouting as a youth. But he learned from caring Young Men advisors to deeply value positive relationships between youth and adult leaders as a fundamental piece of LDS youth programs. He didn’t begin to see Scouting as part of that relationship until he was called as a Scoutmaster, bishop, and stake president. Now, as the chairman of the LDS-BSA Relationships Committee in the Utah National Parks Council, he encourages Scout leaders to make those positive relationships paramount in their approach to Scouting.
Favorite quote: “In every young man and young woman’s life there needs to be somebody who cares, who loves them, who really respects them and who is watching their back. That’s what we have to achieve in our youth programs today. I know these relationships are significant because when I preside at stake conferences around Utah, quite often, I’ll ask members who have grown up in less-active homes to stand and indicate how they were able to overcome the effects. Prominent among the stated deciding factors are caring and trusted relationships with a Young Women or Young Men leader.”
Darryl Alder speaks to the importance of male role models in the lives of young men. He has seen the power of Scouting to create and supply these kinds of role models first hand—his father was a product of Scouting. The influence of Scout leaders could be seen in Guy Alder’s parenting techniques and life choices, especially since his own father hadn’t been around to guide Guy as a young man.
Favorite quote: “Reflecting on my childhood, I’ve realized Dad’s experiences with his Scout leaders shaped the kind of parent he was. Dad had never played catch with his own father, so when he didn’t really know what to do with his four sons, he took them camping and spent time with them outdoors. He tossed ball some for little league practice, but he was better support at my pack meetings, never missing one, right there alongside Mom for my awards.”
Stan Lockhart, Utah National Parks Council President, tells the story of his son’s time in Scouting, including his struggles to get along with a particular leader. As he worked toward his Eagle Scout rank, however, he learned to appreciate how this leader pushed him to do hard things and accomplish more than he thought he could.
Favorite quote: “The Board of Review was tough, but aware of how nervous a young man is. They made my son feel like he really had to earn his Eagle when they were done with him. At the Eagle Court of Honor, there is a pin a young man gives to the person who helped him most in his Eagle journey. He gave it to the leader he didn’t get along with. I watched him cry as he pinned it on and hug his leader and it occurred to me that in Boy Scouts it is about the journey and not about the award.”
Mel Gardner shares how Scouting teaches not only practical life skills (like changing a tire or baiting a hook), but also instills intangible skills that will help a young man face challenges, build character, and become a contributing, successful, spiritually-minded man.
Favorite quote: “What we mean are the skills learned in Scouting that mean the most and are the furthest reaching; such as hard work, problem-solving, leadership, character-building, and most importantly, faith in God. These skills are not easy to develop, but once learned, become a foundation for the rest of that boy’s life. So, when he steps into the roles of husband and father, he is prepared to do so.”
How has Scouting provided positive male role models for you or the young men in your life? Share your story in the comments.
Author: Maria Milligan | Grant Writer, Utah National Parks Council, BSA.