My mother the Girl Scout – Sort of

KeepCalmImAGSMy mother was never a Girl Scout…she was never allowed to be. I think she was lucky that she was allowed to go to school…and that was probably only because it was required by the state. Despite this little fact, she was the embodiment of a Girl Scout: honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, responsible in word and deed…you get the idea.

So it makes sense that I ended up being a Girl Scout leader even though I was only a Girl Scout for one (disastrous) year – because my mom had already set that foundation for me.

I recently had the privilege of attending a dinner to celebrate the end of our Girl Scout Fall and Cookie Sale season. In addition to being a leader, I’ve been the Regional Manager of Product Sales for my geographic region for five years now. This was, by far, the most challenging year I’ve ever had.

Anyone who knows me at all understands that I can write, but I am not a public speaker in any way shape or form. I am not like my co-worker who can stand up on stage of our Town’s amphitheater and rattle off information and acknowledgements off the top of her head in front of a few thousand people every week. So when I was asked to give a two to five minute speech at the dinner…naturally, I panicked.

Wibbly WobbelyI had been too busy to prepare anything ahead of time and I’m not skilled enough to “wing” it like a couple of my counterparts did so well. However, almost supernaturally, an idea popped into my head while I was navigating three hours of traffic hell. What came to mind was this Brittish TV show I enjoy. It’s about this Doctor Who travels around the universe helping people…in his space ship…that is disguised as a blue Police call box from the 1960s. And…he’s a time traveler. As such, he describes time not as a linear concept, but as a big ball of wibbley wobbley timey wimey events of cause and effect. However, within this ball of chaos, there are fixed points of time that cannot be changed or avoided and they forever shape our human experience.

I knew that some of my friends at the dinner would understand this reference, but I was a little surprised that so many of them did, and they understood when I explained that the 2015 Cookie Season was a fixed point in time for many of our leaders and girls because it was so incredibly difficult. But we got through it because we banded together.

And like the universe in which The Doctor travels, the High Desert region of Girl Scouts had many bright stars this year. From our veteran leaders who didn’t tire and give up to our new leaders who didn’t freak out and explode like a super nova in space. They helped hundreds of girls find success because we helped each other out.

This may not seem like a big deal to many, but I beg to differ. I see too many people who make a sport out of tearing other people down. But our region of Girl Scouts and leaders, make an art out of lifting each other up. And that is a powerfully positive thing, not only for our girls, but for our adult volunteer members as well. You see, if being a leader has taught me anything, it’s that the parents and leaders sometimes learn just as much as these girl do from the Girl Scout Program.

And I am no exception to this.

You see, we are trying to teach our girls to let their voices be heard. We want them to be confident and courageous in whatever path in life they choose. It doesn’t matter if they want to grow up to be stay at home moms, or the CEO of their own company. We give them tools to be successful in whatever they want to do. For me that day, it meant having the courage to stand up in front of a room full of people and give a speech. And when the CEO of our council came up to me afterward and told me that I had a “gift” for speaking, I was shocked. However, instead of stammering and saying “No, I messed up. I’m not good at public speaking. I forgot several points I wanted to make. I should have been better prepared….and so on,” I just said “Thank you. I really appreciate that.” Because I really did. I don’t know her well, but she isn’t the type of person to offer false platitudes.

I have thought about this event a lot over the last few days and I can’t help but think that maybe the universe is telling me that it might be worth looking into doing more public speaking. I have a voice and I can use it. Instead of listening to that bullhorn of self-doubt that shouts “There’s nothing interesting about you! You don’t have anything to say that anyone wants to hear!” I can instead listen to the whisper of positivity that encourages me to share my experiences with other people.

What does this have to do with my mom, or Girl Scouts? Well, I’m a leader because my mom instilled the values and traits necessary to do so…and I’ve learned just as much from being a leader as the girls have (hopefully) learned from me. I guess it’s all just one big ball of “Wibbly Wobbely Timey Wimey…stuff.”

This post has taken me days to finish. It has completely deviated from my original intent. But I’m going to take a word of advice from a friend of mine. Not everything has to be perfect. So I’m just going to leave this here and hit publish.

Until next time – Stay loving, kind, generous and strong.

~Charlene

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