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Brian’s Story

I was just twelve when my Boy Scout troop planned a father-son campout. I was thrilled and could hardly wait to rush home and give my father all the information. I wanted so much to show him all I’d learned in scouting, and I was so proud when he said he’d go with me.

The Friday of the campout finally came, and I had all my gear out on the porch, ready to stuff it in his car the moment he arrived. We were to meet at the local school at 5 p.m. car pool to the campground.

But Dad didn’t get home from work until 7 p.m. as frantic, but he explained how things had gone wrong at work and told me not to worry. We could still get up first thing in the morning and join the others. After all, we had a map. I was disappointed, of course, but decided to just make the best of it.

First thing in the morning, I was up and had everything in his car while it was still getting light, all ready for us to catch up with my friends and their fathers at the campground. He had said we’d leave around 7 a.m., and I was ready a half hour before that. But he never came out of his room until 9 a.m.

When he saw me standing out front with the camping gear, he finally explained that he had a bad back and couldn’t sleep on the ground. He hoped I’d understand and that I’d be a “big boy” about it … but could I please get my things out of his car, because he had several commitments he had to keep.

Just about the hardest thing I’ve ever done was to go to the car and take out my sleeping bag, cooking stove, pup tent, and supplies. And then, while I was putting my stuff away in the storage shed and he thought I couldn’t see, I watched my father carry his golf clubs out and throw them in his trunk and drive away to keep his “commitment.”

That’s when I realized my dad never meant to go with me to the campout. I didn’t matter to him, but his golfing buddies did.

Men’s Ministry Leadership Seminar, p. 18