Jump to content

My Father’s Lesson, Courtesy of the Pinewood Derby (WSJ)

Recommended Posts

"I never told my father how I really felt about our pinewood-derby adventure. He never knew that he had taught me an invaluable truth: It’s better to fail on your own than to take credit for another man’s success."

Audio (3 min) and text by author/scout Greg Opelka


  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

That's one of the things I refuse to do for my two boys - I will not make their Pinewood Derby car for them.  They will chose a design and during our "Pools and Tools" Event, the Cubmaster will cut our their desired shape.  It's then up to them to sand it down, paint/decorate it and anything else they want.  It always frustrated me as a kid when you saw these Pinewood Derby cars that were obviously done by an adult and it still does to this day.  


My cousin's husband had this problem....he did a police car for his Lion Scout - with functioning lights (via a battery pack).  Our Cubmaster was trying to highly imply the father should enter that car under our "Friends and Family" category but he didn't quite get it.  We also have another family that owns a body-shop....their cars are top-notch as well, but I'm unsure how much the Scouts actually helped in it.  


The hardest part is teaching the parents that it's okay for a car not to be the best...not be painted in strange colors or not look "ideal" or be the fastest at the race.  It's the Scouts cars, not the parents, let the Scouts do what they want to it.  

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

My kids' cars make made me cringe at the designs and paint schemes they did. 😅 But they are their cars, so that's how it goes.

The BSA isn't doing us any favors when it comes to all of the fancy stuff kids (and parents) want to add to cars, selling all of the upgrade kits, lights, sirens, etc. They know that most scouts can't install those things themselves, and parents will have to do it. And it just further reinforces the notion that parents should take on a major role in car building. When in reality it should be the opposite, kids lead the build, parents just help as needed and make sure things are done safely.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...