In June, I went on a Girl Scout leader's retreat. We have had a lot of leadership turnover in our area, and it gave us a chance to get to know our new service unit directors and other troop leaders. During the retreat, my co-leader paid me a great complement. She told the group of leaders that in our troop, that I was better at dealing with conflict resolution between the girls. That blessed me.
That is one reason why I enjoy being a Girl Scout leader. So I can help this generation of girls learn not to run from conflict, but how to deal with it with dignity. My daughter and I read a great book for a mother-daughter book club called Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. Because a princess, among other things, is a diplomat, these were the Rules of Diplomacy covered in the book.
- -State the problem
- -Admit your own error
- -State the error of the other party
- -Invite mutual acceptance
- -Illustrate the negative outcome of refusal and positive of acceptance
- -Assert a deadline for acceptance
Recently I have been in the process of developing an older girl planning board. It has been challenging, but exhilarating because my I get adrenaline rushes in developing it, but my co-leader for this group is more thoughtful and laid back. I think it is a good balance. By working with someone who's outlook is very different from mine, I can hone my skills to pass down to the girls.
I left the retreat with a greater sense of purpose of why I am (still) a Girl Scout leader. In spite of whatever controversial issue or resolution may be passed at the national level (this includes Boy Scouts as well), we as the leaders are the ones meeting on a weekly basis helping to mold and shape the next generation of women.
I once had a chat conversation on Facebook with a woman who was lying on the floor in pain because of a back problem. She had a newborn, a toddler, and a preschooler, all daughters. I asked her if she needed me to call emergency services, but she said she could hold out until her husband arrived. She was worried about the children because she was afraid they would try to get the newborn out of the bed and hurt her. During the course of our conversation, she told me that she always prayed that her children would never be in difficult situations. I told her that I prayed the same, but I also prayed that if a difficult situation would come, that my children would be leaders and not have to be led by someone who might be puffing out their chest without any real knowledge. That would put them in greater harm's way. I can't teach my daughters EVERYTHING I want them to know by myself. Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls (my younger daughter is a member of both) provide opportunities to gain valuable skills that they may or may not use, but the confidence that they can try new things or the confidence to teach themselves, if necessary.
I also came across this poem while surfing the net that illustrates how I feel about being a Girl Scout leader.