Monthly Musing – October 2018 – Independence

“Bye Mum, you can go now!”

Small daughter was going out for the day with her Girl Guide unit and having dropped her off at the railway station to meet the rest of the group, I was now surplus to requirements.

At first, I used to worry about her going out for the day in such a big group – they usually travel by public transport and often a fair distance to water park, city museums or, in this case, Cadbury World in Birmingham (I’m not sure if I felt more sorry for the staff welcoming the group or the leader returning home with chocolate-filled girls!).  However, I soon learnt that the Guide leader has absolute control over her excitable charges and yet still manages to give them the impression of having more freedom than they might usually get.  It’s a skill that not everyone has, but our Guide leader has in bucketfuls.  The fact that the girls adore her obviously helps, but she’s calm yet firm, relaxed yet vigilant and has a knack for surreptitious boundary-making.

At an international camp in the summer which the unit attended with over 6,000 Scouts and Guides camping together on a huge estate, the Guide leader was able to let the girls walk about on their own to make new friends whilst still knowing exactly where they all were.  At the end of camp disco, she avoided being one of the leaders dancing awkwardly next to her group of girls to keep an eye on them by sending them all off with giant inflatables to wave in time to the music – and whilst there may have been other inflatable dolphins, hammers and pirate swords being brandished, our group was delighted to be the
only ones with enormous li-los, not realising that their individuality made them easily recognisable.  A genius move, I thought, and I told the Guide
leader so.

If we are very lucky, we find other people who can help to teach our children to grow into independent, strong-minded adults by building them up, letting them think for themselves and encouraging them to behave in ways that will serve them well in the future.  It’s especially important for girls, I think – self-confidence is often at an all-time low during teenage years and it takes patience and persistence to change conditioned thinking to bring out the best in our young women.  This advert always brings a tear to my eye because it is absolutely true.

Recently, small daughter has been reading this book, bought for her by my husband who is keen to encourage both our girls to be strong-minded, independent women.  She’s been fascinated by the stories of women and girls who have stepped outside of their everyday lives to do something extraordinary and we’ve seen her reading the book late into the night.  Our household conversations are already becoming debates which challenge the “norm” but whilst we might sometimes wish for quieter conversations, it’s thinking past what is accepted behaviour now that will make changes in the future.

I am learning not to worry as I wave small daughter goodbye at the station, confident in the knowledge that the Guide leader she travels with now is helping to teach her to travel her own path in the future – and who knows where that will lead her?

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8 Responses

  1. Julie says:

    My granddaughter had an amazing newly qualified Young lady teacher who really changed her life in a school year, she went from being a very timid and nervous 6 year old in the classroom to a confident and questioning 7 year old. I do feel this new teacher will go far in her profession, she's so natural.
    Girl guides is wonderful for youngsters, hope younger daughter enjoyed her choccie day out.

  2. Susan Rayner says:

    A wonderful blog! I had never seen the Always ad before and it horrified me until I got to the end! Bu how many people watch to the end to get the message! Also I was a Girl Guide and now wonder if my parents worried about the expeditions we did and the freedom we had – this was in the late 50s early 60s and we did a lot! I think both your daughters have a great role model and lots of encouragement and are very lucky!!

  3. Unknown says:

    Love this blog post. Just shared the advert on Facebook and I hardly ever post anything any more

  4. janilizi says:

    Love this blog post, I am a Guide Leader have been for 30years and I still feel as privileged now as I did in the beginning to be apart if girls lives seeing them grow and develop and do amazing things.

  5. Charlotte says:

    I’m buying that book for my nieces. The power of words can never be underestimated and that that advert is a great example. Thank you for this post 🙂

  6. happy hooker says:

    This post made me think of the saying "Give your children roots and wings." You're doing just that. It's sometimes hard watching your "babies" make their way in the world, but that's what being a parent is all about. Sounds like your daughter is growing into a confident, self-assured young woman.

  7. Unknown says:

    Our daughter loves the book. There is also a second one out now too. It sparked so many conversations and really helped her to realise that anyone from any walk of life could do amazing things. When she sees issues arise at school, she now raises them with staff and helps find solutions. I'm certain it is because of this book that she feels she can and should.

  8. lilac73 says:

    I hadn't seen the advert before, or seen the book – I'll be buying the book for my boys and nieces. As a Brownie/Ranger leader – thankyou, for trusting fellow leaders with your daughter. Watching the girls develop, giving them challenges and adventures and opportunities gives us so much too. The reward of seeing someone grow and enjoy what they're doing is why the majority of leaders I know do it. Knowing that parents (and girls) appreciate what we do mashes it even better.

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