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The Parable of The Coal-Maker

There was once a master coal-maker who would spend his days generating live coals for all who were in need of a fire. The coal maker was very careful to provide coals for constructive fires only. Fires for warming. Fires for cooking. Fires for generating light.

Along his journey he noticed that some of the coals were ignored and were quickly extinguished by exposure to the elements and lack of interest. Others would land in a nest of tinder and would smolder for a while, but because of lack of sufficient oxygen would soon die out. Some of the coals would be carefully nurtured and coaxed within the nest until they produced a small flame, but because of lack of preparation would die out before the main fire could be built. Finally others were placed within a carefully selected and prepared nest, nurtured into a flame and delicately placed within the prepared tinder of the fire where they were provided with sufficient fuel and oxygen to create a fire of intense heat and light.

Our lives are very much like this parable of the coal-maker. Throughout our journey there will be many coal-makers who will inspire us to do better by giving us a live coal. This may come in the form of a kind deed, an inspirational thought, an exciting activity, or sometimes just by the example of the coal-maker. The fate of the coal lies within each of us. If we choose to ignore it or treat it lightly, it will soon die out and will be of no real value to us, soon to become just another memory.

However, if we choose to nurture this coal and provide it with the heat of persistence, the oxygen of enthusiasm, and the tinder of planning and preparation, we will find that this coal will start a fire within us that can last a lifetime, continually producing the comfort of its warmth and guidance of its light as we travel along life’s journey. (Additional comment that can be used during training.)

As adult Scout leaders we must never stop producing live coals. As youth Scout leaders, we must never stop providing the oxygen to encourage the fire. As Scouts, we must provide the fuel to give the fire a place to grow. Just as the fire must have heat, oxygen and fuel to exist, Scouting must have trained adult leaders, responsible and enthusiastic youth leaders, and teachable scouts in order to create a program that can, and will become unquenchable.

This is a good choice when teaching fire starting skills or after a campfire has been built using primitive techniques.

Mike Harmer

I created this website back in 1996, and have slowly added content to it over the years. Some resources have been contributed by viewers and other people who love the outdoors.

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