Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Priority #6 - My Ministry - Girl Scouts versus American Heritage Girls versus Keepers at Home

Our pastor in Okinawa used to always say, "Don't just give your children a head knowledge, also give them a hand knowledge."

I guess that's kind of how I feel about Girl Scouts right now. The whole program has been revamped. I don't think the girls of 1912 would recognize the badges of 2012. I have had several conversations with others involved in Girl Scouts this year about all the changes. What it boils down to for me is the difference between teaching our girls to be consumers, versus teaching them to be producers.

I recently read an article for Girlfriends in God called "Grandma's Inheritance." While reminiscing about her summers with her grandma, this caught my attention:

During my weeks with Grandma, there were no trips to fast-food restaurants or shopping sprees at the mall. That’s just not what grandmas were for. So what did I do for seven days? I did what Grandma did (except dip snuff). I made biscuits, shelled lima beans, canned vegetables for the following winter, and learned how to sew.

I SO want my girls to have these skills, not because I expect them to always grow up and be stay-at-home moms, but because there is therapy in creating things with your hands or in participating in creation with YHWH. There is wisdom in keeping your hands busy and your mouth shut. Over the course of my adulthood, I have been paid to make a mini Thanksgiving dinner, to sew on military patches, and of course for 20 years I financed our homeschooling as a cake decorator. My daughter in college has made money sewing hemlines for other girls in her dorm, even though I never got around to teaching her to sew clothing by a pattern (yet). She keeps some of her frozen meat in the dorm kitchen rather than in her room because she knows the other girls don't know how to cook and won't bother it.

I'm coming into a difficult season for me emotionally. It always happens right after Thanksgiving. It is difficult to shake, but I work hard trying to get through it. Having a craft or something to do with my hands, something to teach my children to do, would help. While we were making Thanksgiving dinner, I pulled an empty jar out of the pantry, poured in the rest of a carton of heavy whipping cream and a touch of salt (From a failed attempt to make a chocolate marble cheesecake for Friend Hubby's birthday - it was so terrible, he thought it was a gag gift. Note to self--only bake from cookbook recipes. Leave the untested internet recipes alone!) Anyway, we put the cream in the jar with a clean marble and all took turns shaking it. Voila! Home churned butter. I'm afraid there's no Girl Scout badge for that.

I've been looking into American Heritage Girls.

"American Heritage Girls is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community, and country."

The last word I heard on American Heritage Girls was that they were full. I would not give up my Girl Scout troop, but it would be interesting for Princess Butterfly to be a part of both. I even told my co-leader about it the other day. She and I agree that we will just run our troop according to how WE want, not with all this new (and may I say TOTALLY unorganized) practices that Girl Scouts have taken up.

Another idea I have is to just break out the old Keepers at Home Handbook from when Dancing Angel and My Diva were young girls and go from there. Princess Butterfly is quite the baker now, but there are still other skills I'd like her to have. They make charm bracelets with silver and gold charms for the girl to earn depending on their proficiency with the skill. Looking down the table of contents, I can see that my girls had earned:

Creative Skills
  • Candlewicking
  • Counted Cross Stitch
  • Decoupage
  • Latch Hooking
  • Pressed Flowers
  • Rubber Stamping
  • Scrapbooking
  • Cake Decorating
  • Cooking
  • Scheduling
  • Soapmaking
Knowledge and Skills
  • Library
  • Literature
  • Sign Language
  • Wildflowers
  • Etiquette
  • Friends
  • Special Needs

There are still other categories that they didn't earn awards in, such as Recreational Activities and Biblical Girlhood, and those listed above were just what they actually EARNED. There are so many more that are not listed here. Hmmm. Does it seem to you as if I have found the answer to my conundrum? Well, I did say that blogging was a place where I could think out loud.

The sad thing about it is that I remember when all of these skills were a part of the Girl Scout program. I remember when My Diva, every year, would be the only one from her troop to attend an event called Etiquette Arts where she got to dress up and go and eat at a fancy restaurant downtown with our Girl Scout council. When I was a Girl Scout, I learned sign language and was able to assist with a deaf and blind troop in our area.

I REFUSE to allow Princess Butterfly's girlhood to take place from behind a computer screen in the name of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and if my co-leader and I have anything to say about it, neither will our troop.



Love Abounds At Home said...

Such a beautiful post. I can only imagine the difference between the Girl Scouts from 1912 to now 2012.

What really stood out for me is that your daughter can keep her meat in the dorm's kitchen because those young ladies can't cook. What are we doing to the next generation of young women?

Donalacasa said...

Yes, the next generation of young women AND their children... smh