It started with a Facebook post by a troop leader about what to do at the end of the school year. Thinking back to all the year end things, the one I enjoyed the most was when we went to the top of the Wilshire Grand. I just looked for photos, can't find any. But, I will tell you I dropped about $200 on Shirley Temples (Extra extra cherries) and two of the entire dessert menus. Then, there's that time we went to the JW Marriot for ice cream. Subway for troop snack. And, during the last trip to Carpinteria, the girls opted to eat at a nice Italian restaurant that sounds like Gucci. (I'm confident that's the only reason why they chose the place). Countless trips to Starbucks. It's our post camping thing, and immediate fall back when the girls are less than happy with what's going on at the troop meeting.
As I said on Facebook, I'm not the best "arts and crafts" troop leader. And, I suck at badge work. I'm thankful for the adults in the troop who push where I pull. I won't out them, but I have some of the best parents in the world. But, this blog entry is not about them. It's about our Girl Scouts
When I was 10, my world was starting to show signs of shakes, moves, and tremors. My parents were in the midst of changing nearly everything about themselves. Was what it was, is what it is. I do remember needing to be more present in my world. I didn't know (nor should I have) how equipped I was. I had grownups around me making requests for what was needed in that moment. I experienced that if I could ask with the same level of confidence, that my requests could be fulfilled.
I can be that grownup, now. But, also - some of those best lessons of bring in Girl Scouts have real life application, right now. Okay. I'm going to just launch right into this.
Buddy up for the bathroom: Yes. Rape Culture. And, it's real. Traveling in groups does make you less of a target. Taking a buddy to the bathroom is a life lesson. Drinking at the bar, go to the bathroom - take a buddy. Yes, safety. On the lighter side: bathroom gossip feels really good when intoxicated.
Ordering for yourself: read the menu, understand the pricing, ask questions about what you read. It's why we go to school. Reading comprehension.
(I think my pain medicine is starting to impact the quality of this blog, but I'm just going to keep going)
Acting not the fool in groups at the restaurant: In dining with clients - restaurant confidence closes deals. The person who can lead the group, be the respectful one to apologize for the sloppy drunk, manage the high maintenance eater (there's always one who doesn't want Kale, and kale shows up in the KALE SALAD). Be the one who knows who's supposed to be sober, know how to order a full round of drinks (Shirley Temples, all around!!!!) and 10 orders of fries, extra ranch. That's how you close a deal. And, even better - be the one who gets everyone back to the correct hotel room, without any hangers on. There's no badge for this. However - it's a skill.
You know though, the reason why I want these girls to have confidence now when out on the town? So they know when they are a little older (like 16 to 26), how to be the one in charge at Da Club, at the dive bar, and the sketchy place in Paris, when they've maxed out their credit card on a one night quick hop to follow Marshmello. Or, when they go out with some douchebag of their dreams, and realize they are worthy of some one or thing more. I want to know I've left them with THAT skill set of badassery.
Consent: Oh My Goodness. I could go on about all the different forms of consent. Knife safety - handing over an open knife, and saying "thank you" to confirm the handoff. You are consenting to handing over the knife. Taking a group selfie, you are consenting to the use of that image. "Can I hug you" is seeking consent to touch someone. Talking to someone about your feelings, is offering consent to the exchange. Also - for the person listening...you are consenting to listening. What does consent look and feel like? What is the opposite of consent in this instance, and how to you convey this with and without words? Oh my goodness.
Could you imagine what college could have felt like if there were more spiritual and conceptual and silly discussions about "the meaning of consent"? Why not have that convo with your kid now?
We had to have the consent discussion when the iphones started popping up at sleepovers. Consent, who can give what kind of consent, and what is consent? Imagine the parent who doesn't give their kid a cellphone, and yet this child has a musically account, with various stages of dress, dancing in their bedroom on full internet blast. SHIT THEIR PANTS. (Click here for visual)
We didn't even get to the talking about internet bullying, at that meeting. We just talked about the fact that when sleepovers happen, there needs to be an open discussion with Grownups about when and where videos can be made, talking about their creative process, and ensuring that Grownups are in agreement that while videos will be made, the videos will be kept private, and if there's a for real..."This girl will not appear on camera" agreement. (This is very important for those parents who have to tow a very delicate line with custodial concerns).
For the girl who can't appear on camera, have no fear...you have your cameraperson!
Quick story: When I first started the troop, all the leader trainings when on and on about no cellphones. As one who's rarely without my phone, that's ridiculous. My phone is my piece of peace. (For another blog entry). Then, I told the parents in the troop that we'd be using Facebook for the calendar, discussion, all communications. Of course, there were parents who were like "We don't use social media". Then, I'd have to reply... "Why did your kid send me a friend request?"
The take away here is this: Your kid wants you to leave them alone. Those 10YOs see the world from their favorite YouTube channels. They are watching Miss Mina, traveling the world with her mom. Iolani wants to do this with me, right now. See. She's traveling WITH HER MOM!
So, for as much as she wants to experience freedom, she needs to know what basic life skills. Yes, the toaster oven, coffee maker, and microwave all need to be taught to her. But, I also need to know she knows how to keep her eyes off her phone for a moment on the train to see who's on the train. I need to know she knows how to find a safer situation, be aware of her surroundings, and look for who the helpers are.