I want to be a girl scout.
When I was a child I wanted to be a girl scout. For whatever reason, I wasn’t allowed to. My brothers were allowed to be boy scouts, but I couldn’t be a girl scout like my cousin Jennifer. We were the same age and she looked like she was having fun and I wanted to have fun too. Oh wait. She will be quick to tell you that I am 6 months older. I might as well clarify that before she does. To this day, I don’t know why but I was not allowed to be a girl scout. Sunday morning, I told that to a group of 2nd and 3rd grade girl scouts that very statement and they were surprised and confused. This led to a wonderful morning of worship with these girls and acceptance of memories, hope, and opportunity.
I was invited to speak to this spirited group of girls about my faith. What I shared gave them a chance to earn the pin with the words, “My Faith” inscribed. From my understanding, they earned 4 badges and this pin on their overnight adventures this past weekend. They had a busy weekend on the farm!!!
One of their leaders, aka, my friend Holly, shared the Girl Scout Promise and the Girl Scout Law with me, when she invited me to take part this weekend.
The Girl Scout Promise is –
“On my honor I will try: to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law.”
The Girl Scout Law –
“I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.”
I was asked to share how I live my faith by one of those lines. It was hard to consider since I was never a girl scout. Then I got to thinking about what law and promise I do try to live by as I serve as a minister and a chaplain. How do I share my faith, not just with the 9 girls that were sitting before me, but with every person I meet?
I told them I try to live my faith using a law that is actually close to what their promise and law are; The Greatest Commandment, as shared by Jesus in Matthew 27:37-39, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. And love your neighbor as you love yourself.” The more I looked at both laws, the more I saw how close they were in their message and action. We talked about the similarities. They seemed impressed and so was I. They also liked the fact that I showed them a way I pray for people or for myself by coloring. I have a coloring prayer journal that I use along with my writing journal. Who wouldn’t be impressed with the fact that you can pray in color?
I was impressed with them. I asked what they enjoyed about being a girl scout. Since I didn’t have that experience, I wanted to hear from them. They shared many ideas, including the fact that they had friends, they have fun times together, they get to play, they get to learn, they get to camp and they get to do community service projects. I got to witness them learn and have fun as they participated in several science experiments, including my favorite Mentos and Diet Coke Geysers! Oh, and those cookies – Hey, did you know that the cookies they sold this year, also included cookies that went to US troops overseas? Imagine being one of the courageous US troops, opening up a box of thin mints with a note from a Girl Scout that said, “thank you”? Yeah, I would be honored and happy too.
I enjoyed my time with the Girl Scouts on Sunday. I couldn’t help but be a bit jealous over their time together. A bunch of girls hanging out together, accepting one another as friends, no matter what shape, size, age, color, job or IQ. There aren’t any labels on them right now. How beautifully freeing is that?!! They truly enjoyed being with one another and I could tell they were friends. A part of me wants to tell them to never let go of that. That’s the cynical part of me that has life experience as an adult. When you grow up, life is not going to be this much fun. There are stipulations on women and certain expectations that must be met or you won’t be honored and recognized for being who you are. Sadly, those stipulations come from everywhere, including women and church. At least that’s what it’s like now. I hope and pray that will change before these precious girls grow up. Until then, I hope and pray they know how much they are already loved and will forever be loved by God.
I hope and pray when they do grow up that the world will be different. What I saw in those girls was the spirit that can break through the labels and boundaries. Please o please world, let these girls carry that spirit with them, through the life skills and leadership skills they learn from being a Girl Scout and from being friends. Parents, continue to do what I saw you doing Sunday, leading by example and letting them know they can do anything they put they mind to, when you love them, support them, model for them and encourage them. What a gift to be given at such a young age. What a life long gift.
Is it too late for me to be a Girl Scout?