Listen to the Old Man

Numerous people conducted an all-night search for an eight-year-old boy named Dominic. While on a skiing trip with his father, the boy got separated from his dad. He had ridden a new lift and skied off the run without realizing it.

As each hour passed, the search party and the boy's family became more and more concerned. By dawn they still had found no trace of him. When two helicopters joined the search, ski tracks were spotted. A ground team followed the tracks which changed to small footprints. The footprints lead to a tree where they found the boy.

"He's in super shape," the area search and rescue coordinator announced to the anxious family and press. "In fact, he's in better shape than we are right now." Dominic was never admitted to a hospital.

The rescuer explained why the boy did so well despite spending a night in the freezing elements: His father had taught Dominic what to do if he became lost. Dominic protected himself from the elements by snuggling up to a tree and covering himself with branches. As a young child, he never would have thought of doing this on his own. He was simply obeying his wise and loving father.

Recently, two of the scouts in my Cub Scout den completed their journey to receive the highest honor in Cub Scouts, the Arrow of Light. Following the ceremony, I shared with them that what I had to offer them as a Cub Scout leader was complete, it was now their turn; their turn to live out what they have been taught and practiced.

There is not always a ceremony to recognize those moments when we take the step to live the lessons of life. Sometimes there is. More often it is a snap decision, something spur of the moment, a chance, an opportunity and we are faced with the choice – to live out for ourselves what we have been taught.

Unfortunately, many of those we look up to for wisdom, guidance and advice, have flaws. Sometimes we see them right away; and other times, years pass by before we realize the failings of those we idolized and trusted.

But live long enough and you may express the same realization Mark Twain who once noted, "When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."

What I am trying to say is, give us guys a chance. Maybe it is your dad or the husband of your children. Maybe it is an uncle or a friend whose example has taught you something more. Be sure to encourage those men who have astonished you with what they’ve learned and taught. Say thanks during this month as we celebrate fathers and what they pass on to the next generations.


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