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

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"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


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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.  

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