My dad is a very giving person. Anybody who knows him would immediately agree. He just does things for people without even giving it a second thought. It’s second nature to him, just an extension of who he is. I’ve had a lifetime of opportunities both to witness and to be personally blessed by these acts of kindness. Back in 2010, I was thrilled that I got an opportunity to share one of these experiences in a book called “Eagle Scout Stories: Tales from the Trails of Scouting’s Highest Rank” by the National Eagle Scout Association.
As the Boy Scouts of America were celebrating their 100th anniversary, we Eagle Scouts were asked to write a paragraph to share anything we wanted about Scouting and how it impacted our life. I could think of nothing better than the example of my dad, who isn’t an Eagle Scout, by the way. Although there are countless examples I could choose from, my mind’s eye was taken back to a time at Philmont Scout Ranch, a high adventure camp just outside of Cimarron, New Mexico, where years ago I had climbed one of the famous mountains there called the Tooth of Time. It’s called that because the bare white rocky top of the peak looks like a big, jutting tooth. And yes, it has cavities (couldn’t resist, sorry). The view from the top, as you can imagine, is breathtaking, looking out over the valley below off an almost sheer cliff face. Anyway, here is that story:
I remember a difficult time climbing the Tooth of Time at Philmont. Maybe I was just tired, or lacked sleep or water. I was in great shape, an athlete. But that day I was struggling. My dad was with me. He kept encouraging me to go on, checking on me, reaching out a hand to help me. We made it to the top, and it was well worth the climb.
My dad, a decorated Air Force pilot, war veteran & Boeing engineer, has probably never thought much about that day on the Tooth. He’s always helping, encouraging, giving a hand. But that’s Scouting in action. It’s not about rank. My father was a 2nd Class Scout. I’m an Eagle with three palms. But Scouting spans generations. It’s giving and receiving a hand. Its about character and it’s well worth the climb.