The day I joined scouts was one of the happiest days of my life, as I am sure it was my father’s. He was an eagle scout himself, and still very active in the scouting program and was determined to help his three boys climb the ladder of scouting. I excelled quite rapidly in scouts. My father was always mindful to make every moment a teaching moment. Then one day I was pulled into the living room with the rest of my family, as my mother announced that my father had cancer. I had not been in scouts for even a year, and already my father was dying. For the next couple of years life was tragic as we moved cross country to be with family, as we watched our father’s health fail, and then finally laid him to rest in the cemetery.
I continued with scouting, but was not as active in it as when my father was alive. By high school my friends had already earned their Eagles, and it was slightly forgotten that I hadn’t received mine yet. It wasn’t long before I received a phone call from my scoutmaster with the sad news of my never earning my Eagle do to being too old for it. After hanging up the phone, I stormed out of the house with tear filled eyes, and spend off in my car. I pulled the car over after awhile and sobbed. I wasn’t so sad that I didn’t receive my Eagle, but I was mainly sad that I had let my father down.
After I regained composer I began to sort things out. I didn’t want this to beat me. I didn’t want this loss to win. It was then that I made a commitment that from then on, if I were to do something, I would do it all the way. I would finish it, and I would finish it could. I made this disaster into a valuable lesson. I knew now that I could never fail on something that I chose to start. I now believe on following through, and not making room for excuses and failures. My father had taught me more than just how to earn an eagle. He taught me to take every moment and make it a teaching moment.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.