October 4, 2017 v4 p42
One of the many things that I learned from my parents was that I needed to help other people out. That seems like common sense, but it’s not just about helping, but serving.
Many people know how active I am in my home town. I have been heading up the Cub Scout program for nine plus years. I continue to do that even though my own children have moved on from it because their ages have forced them to move on to Boy Scouts. I have been coaching my younger son’s soccer team since he began playing back in first grade. I stepped back into an assistant role one year, but came to the conclusion that it wasn’t going work. I wanted to be able to teach my son and his teammates in different ways than the coach I was assisting, so that only last one year. Working with elementary aged kids can be really fun. It can also be really trying at times, luckily the fun times are greater.
Part of the reason I stepped up to volunteer in these two positions is because I wanted to make sure my son had an enjoyable experience in both areas. Having been a registered Scout since I was in first grade and having played soccer for just about as long I was confident that I could make that happen. It has taken me some time to develop my ways of leading in these two areas, but I can confidently say that I have been successful in both areas. When I see the boys who have gone through the Cub Scout program under my leadership attain the rank of Eagle Scout, and how much they worked to get it, I can tell I had an impact. When I can see the skill level of my son’s soccer team improve dramatically from the beginning to the end of the season, I can tell I had an impact. When parents are requesting to have their children placed on my team because they know I will coach them right on the field and off, I can tell I had an impact.
Ultimately that is why I do all of that, to see the impact I make in those young men. That isn’t the only way that I serve. I try to do my best to serve in everything I do. At work I show up and do the best I can to make sure my coworkers have everything they need to get their job done. I also show up and work as hard as possible to make that happen. In every job I’ve ever held that is the attitude I went in with every day. That’s what my parent taught me to do. Because of that in every job I’ve ever had I have always been given more responsibilities, which have come along with more pay and often times promotions. The only time I was ever placed into a leadership role during employment without “climbing the ladder” was when I was hired as a Department Team Leader for Meijer. At that point in my life I hadn’t held any leadership positions in a job, but the Store Director who interviewed me was also an Eagle Scout (still is), and knew with that and their training program I could be a success.
As I’ve grown in my faith over the past few years I’ve been able to find new ways to serve. I joined the local Knights of Columbus Council at my church. That has afforded me the opportunity to create some great connections to other Catholic Gentlemen. We do all of that through service to the church and the community. The best part of that group is that I’m way at the back of the line of a bunch of men who have the same service mindset that I do. It’s a refreshing change to just show up and be a worker bee sometimes. I’ve begun serving my family through my faith too. I have been living my faith life in a way that it is visible to them. I try to show my son how to be a better follower of Christ. My wife and I watch speakers on YouTube in the evenings more often than we watch broadcast television. That has helped us strengthen our relationship and our family. There are so many things I wish I could go back and do.
The more I do all of the volunteering I, the more is taxes my personal time. There are many days, especially in the early fall, where I often don’t get home until 8pm. That means I haven’t had dinner until late, and it’s almost always by myself. That’s not good because I’m losing time with my family and because eating that late during the day, close to bed time, isn’t good for a person’s health. It’s usually about this time of year when I start to get burned out. In the past I was able to sleep in on or take a nap on the weekends. Then I started to realize that doing things that way wasn’t allowing my body to recover properly. Because of my desire to make sure my kids are getting the best program they can I continue to be the one who steps up. This burn out point is where most people usually end up walking away. Sometimes I really wish I would be able to just walk away like that, but it always causes an internal conflict.
The time has come for me to walk away though. For the past nine years I have held the position of Committee Chair for the Cub Scout Pack in my home town. As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t had a child in that program since February of this year. I am committed to fulfill that position through the end of 2017. At that point I intend to move into a different position that I currently already hold, Chartering Organization Representative. That is the communication line between the Scout Unit and the supporting organization. I would still be available on a consulting basis because I don’t think I will find a replacement that would have the knowledge on how to run the Pack that I do. Whoever would take the position from me would then face the same situation I am in and need replacing. It’s really a vicious cycle.
Just because I would be stepping away from that position doesn’t mean I would stop serving. Stepping away would allow me to serve in a different way. The more I’ve been studying and learning about my faith, the more I feel called to serve more within it. This isn’t something I think that I feel. There is a definite pull in that direction. I’m not sure what that serving would like at this point in time, but I never will if I don’t answer the call. I’ve always gotten satisfaction from the secular volunteering I’ve done in the past, but it doesn’t compare to what I get when I serve in my faith. Serving in that manner gives me more than satisfaction, it gives me a sense of fulfillment. It shows me how to receive His grace and mercy. As much as I want to lead young men to be better leaders, I want to show others how to better live their lives for God. How to receive His grace and mercy in their own lives. Colossians 3:17 tells us, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
I worry about what will happen to the Scouting program in my town if I step away from the program in the capacity I currently serve. But I worry more about my family and myself more if I don’t make Him first, my family second, and myself third.