‘What would I do?’: Fatherly advice for tough questions
In The United Methodist Church, children and youth interact with older adults in Sunday School classes, as pew neighbors, and during youth gatherings. The wisdom passed on across the generations is priceless.
For a sense of the life lessons shared, we invited young men who participate in Boy Scouts of America units affiliated with United Methodist congregations across the US, to ask questions about faith and life. Some older men responded to the questions with their "grandfatherly wisdom."
“What would I do without my Papa?” Gary Pastian, Age 9
Cub Scout Pack 380, Santa Clara United Methodist Church, Santa Clara, Arizona
“Gary, your life would be very different but you would have so many wonderful memories of things you and I did together. Didn’t we have so many great adventures? I hope you would look at pictures of us often—maybe one of me with the long hair you were so curious about or one with muscles from being on the wrestling team. I hope you will always know how much I love you and am proud of you. I tried to set a good example and I know you will work hard to improve the family and community. Happy trails!” A.C. “Chuck” Moyer, Age 67, Gary’s “Papa” and former Scoutmaster, Santa Clara United Methodist Church, Santa Clara, Arizona
“What one lesson from your childhood or youth has helped you most as an adult?” Noah Sims, Age 13, and Daniel Sims, Age 12.
Life Scout and Senior Patrol Leader (Noah), and First Class Scout and Scribe (Daniel), Boy Scout Troop 900, Spring Woods United Methodist Church, Houston, Texas, which celebrated 50 years of Scouting Ministry last year
“Goodness, what to say? Integrity is everything! What helped me more as an adult was the structure and discipline found while serving in the Army. I do find it difficult to define a time or event that has helped me more, other than my dad telling me to never do anything that could cost me more than I could get out of it... We must always be true to our beliefs and ourselves!” Billy Mills, Age 68, Spring Woods United Methodist Church, Houston, Texas
“How do you balance risk and reward in life?” Landon Kohtz, Age 15
Eagle Scout, Boy Scout Troop 97, Wayland United Methodist Church, Wayland, Michigan
“I never step on anyone along the way. I don’t want to offend anyone. I do what I feel is right without hurting anybody. I have compassion for those less fortunate along the way. I’m willing to assist any way I can. I’ve had good health and a good life and I am very grateful.” Don Dandrow, Age 89, Second Class Boy Scout, Class of 1935, and member of Wayland United Methodist Church, Wayland, Michigan
“Can a person with great fortune and fame be a good Christian and have eternal life with God?” Alexander Spanenberg, Age 16
Senior Patrol Leader and former Chaplain Aide, Boy Scout Troop 131, Carmel United Methodist Church, Carmel, Indiana
“The key is keeping your priorities right. There is a misconception when Jesus spoke critically about rich people being bad. Paul clarifies in 1 Timothy 6:10 that it is the ‘love of money,’ not money itself that is the problem.
The issue is where does your ‘love’ lie? ‘No one can serve two masters…both God and money.’ Being rich allows you to support needed charitable work. For some that may be volunteering more service time, but for others it may be the ability to fund goods and services with a sizeable check. The important part is to keep in mind that God has provided all we have, and we are charged to be good stewards of his gifts.
A friend once gave me excellent advice: ‘to give until it feels good.’ Giving really does provide one with a feeling of freedom.” Ken Steppe, Age 63, Chaplain for Boy Scout Troop 131, a General Commission on United Methodist Men Scouting Ministry Specialist, and lay leader at Carmel United Methodist Church, Carmel, Indiana
“Why isn’t everyone blessed equally?” David Ellis, Age 13
1st Class Boy Scout, Troop 141, Christ United Methodist Church, Lansdale, Pennsylvania
“In my opinion everyone is blessed equally by God’s laws. Our human sense of judgment, that some have more and some have less, clouds our understanding of the fact that God loves us all equally. What we have to remember is that in Jesus’ Parable of the Talents he taught that the master gave according to abilities. I don’t have the abilities of Bill Gates, but God has given me abilities that I can handle.” Kent McNish, Age 70, Eagle Scout, Class of 1958, and lay member of The United Methodist Church
“What parts of the old Covenant can be applied to the Covenant preached by Jesus?” Kevin Ellis
Eagle Scout, Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 141, Christ United Methodist Church, Lansdale, Pennsylvania
“In the Old Testament the leaders are primarily with God. They believed God was the source of strength and that He would send someone to forgive their sins and give them hope for generations to come. The New Testament is about Jesus who refers to his father in heaven as God—“My Father and I are one.” As Christians, we believe that Jesus is our savior—the one that God spoke of in the Old Testament and eventually sent to redeem the world through forgiveness. Many of the same sayings and teachings of Jesus can also be found in the Old Testament.” The Rev. Joe Shelton, Age 77, retired United Methodist pastor who “spent many cold nights sleeping outdoors with his Scout son”
Boy Scouts of America reports that The United Methodist Church is the largest mainline denomination in the US. According to 2013 Boy Scouts of America statistics, 349,614 youth meet in 10,703 units sponsored by 6,700 United Methodist churches.
We invite you to share your questions or any great advice in our comment section below.