I once heard that the main responsibility we have as parents is to raise our children to take care of themselves. We teach them to dress themselves at a young age, how to read and understand, and as they mature, the skill levels of the things they need to understand increase.
As individuals we add to this list, personalizing it from the basic needs to more niche skills. I believe that my kids need to know how to swim, and swim well. They should also know how to cook, and grow food, and how to ski (yes, both water and snow). Skills that are to sustain them, as well as skills that I know would be a challenge to learn as an adult.
As the years go by, the list of “needs to know” and “really should know” and “really WANTS to know” grows longer and longer. Their needs often step outside our capabilities, both with time and ability.
And so we build our community.
While our main responsibility is to raise our kids to have the skills to care for themselves, another one is to be able to let them go and be taught these skills by others.
Girl Guides of Canada have always been a part of our life. My mother was a Guide, travelling to Europe with her troop and even meeting Lady Baden-Powell (if you are a Guider, enter the collective squee).
My sister and I were both involved in Brownies and Guides, and I can still clearly remember walking into that gymnasium, adjusting my little brown leather purse and sitting in a circle, ready for the Tuesday evening activities. I remember every song we sand, and I could walk you through exactly how we FLY UP in Brownies (anyone else remember that mirror you had to jump over?).
My Guiding experience is deeply rooted in my memories. It was a place where I could choose my path, take challenges and share my success. I became one of many, but independent from the group. I understood, through my experience, that while I had a lot in common with so many other kids, that I was still uniquely me, one look at my badges and my sash would show you my personality and strengths.
When the opportunity came up for our girls to be involved, it seemed like a natural progression of time. I knew what my guiding community meant to me as a child, but I only now understand what it may have meant to my mother to have me involved in an organized SHE loved so much.
Guiding helps. That’s the bottom line.
It helps me give her all the things she needs.
It helps her discover her passions, and then encourages her to share them with me.
It has helped my daughter step past a basic skill, and lean in to a strength, with instinct.
It helps us all by giving us the support we need as parents to build amazing kids. Capable, confident and independent girls, who, I believe, will be our next leaders.
Guiding is helping fill the voids of things she wants to learn, but that I can’t teach her, and it is being a community of HERS that is separate from our family. A community that listens, and hears what she has to say.
As parents we need to raise our kids to be independent, with the help of others. We need to know when to let our kids step away from us and learn on their own, and I am grateful that the Girl Guides has been a place for my daughter to go as she takes those steps. I am grateful that I took those steps, and my mother did as well, because I believe that that community has contributed to the people we are today.
Girl Guides of Canada has opportunities for your girls in local groups all across the country. Start the journey towards letting your daughter be independent, resilient, fulfilled and courageous for life – help her become everything she wants to be. Start your own tradition of community this fall… who knows where it will take your daughter.
This post is brought to you by Girl Guides of Canada but the images and opinions are my own.