Friday, February 10, 2012

Meeting Eighteen

Today, one of the things we worked on was the pin My Promise- My Faith.  Before meeting 18, we sent home a short worksheet with the girls to help us out with this meeting.  Realizing that religion is a sensitive issue for some, the note that we sent home with this worksheet recognized this and gave the parents the option to opt out of this activity.  We asked the following questions:

What religion do you practice?
What specials days does your religion observe?
What do those days represent?
What makes your religion so special?
Is there anything else you want to share with us?

Most of the girls forgot to bring the sheet back with them, but we still had a nice discussion about it.  We tried to bring up the major religions, but did not have time for them all.  We touched on Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Church of England (I'm pretty sure the girls think King Henry VIII was a you-know-what after we explained that hodge podge), Protestants, Lutherans, Judaism, Catholicism and a few others I have surely forgotten by now.  Our discussion started out as what are some religious holidays you celebrate?  We then had to clarify the difference between "American" holidays and religious holidays.  One kid asked if black Friday was a holiday and everyone thought Thanksgiving was religious based.  There was a good bit of confusion when we got into explaining the small differences between all the religions and holidays, but they seemed to understand the overall lesson/point- we're lucky to live in a country where we are free to practice our religions, all of them believe in God in one way or another, and most religions teach people to be kind, loving and accepting.

Next up on the agenda was working on the safety pin.  We started out with stranger danger and did some role playing.  We had an awesome parent and an aunt come help us out with this, and the girls seemed to enjoy the role playing too.  When we got to stranger danger, we let them all yell it out just so they knew what to do, and we told them this was one of the few times they had permission to scream at the top of their lungs.  We closed out stranger danger by calling them up one by one and asked them what they would do in certain situations, ie: a stranger asks to come to their house for candy, asks you to help find their dog, asks you to go take a ride with them, ect.

I have to pause for a moment to tell you about one special little girl.  For the purpose of this blog, we'll call her Daisy today.  When Daisy first came to us at the beginning of the year, just getting her to whisper into our ears was a task, and we could barely hear her whisper!  Little by little, Daisy began to come out of her shell.  Now, she'll openly talk to us all.  Granted, she still is soft spoken, but considering what she was like back in September, this is a big deal!  Daisy is also, hands down, one of the smartest kids I have ever met.  There are days where she makes me feel like my two college degrees are worthless.  One day, this kid is going to do big things- she is going to be famous for that little brain of hers!  Well, when we called Daisy up for her turn, our fearless leader, recognizing her vast intelligence, gave her a bit of a hard question that ended with, what would you do if that stranger tried to take you?  As serious as can be, with a stone face, she told us she would kill him!  Everyone started laughing, and Daisy was not too pleased with that.  We were thrown off because we assumed she'd give us the same answer the other girls had been giving us- kick and scream, and yell stranger danger.  Even when we were roll playing and I pretended to grab her, she kicked me and started screaming!  It took us all a moment to come to our senses after that little shock, but we told her no, we don't kill people, but in this situation, you have permission to do bad things like hitting the stranger.   Later on, I was telling a friend about this who was a leader herself for a few years, and she made a good point.  If anyone ever tried to kidnap Daisy, and she actually did kill them, any sane judge who she was brought before might applaud her.  So, today's lesson learned- you really do have to watch out for the quiet ones!

Once we finished stranger danger, we did stop, drop and roll.  Most of the girls knew of the concept, but some of them had never seen it demonstrated.  Guess who got to roll around on the floor first to show them?    Ok, it wasn't that bad, but then we let them all do it and that was chaos for about 30 seconds.  Next lesson learned- do this in a big space.  Normally, we meet in our school gym, but it wasn't available for the day, so we were in a small classroom.  There were a few bumps, but nothing major, thank goodness!  We did also touch on a few things, like things to do while selling at cookie booths and going door to door.  The blondie in me forgot one of the most basic things- look before crossing- and you bet we will mention that at our next meeting!

As for what's up next, we have our Service Unit Thinking Day fair this weekend (yes, it's a little early, it was a scheduling thing for us), Mardis Gras parade in town, and the arrival of GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!!!!  Seriously, if my little brother calls me one more time to ask if the cookies have come yet, I might send his box out last.  For a grown man, he can sure be impatient!  But, the lure of the famous cookies can do that to any sane person!

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