Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Apparently, Daisies have God

Today I went to a meeting for the pre-girl scouts group - the daisies. It was actually a meeting for the parents of the intended daughters of the intended club to hear about the daisies and the daisy mission and when, where, how, etc. The girls all ran around playing in the school playground while we followed our handouts with the intended leader. Very closely. Very, very closely.
Before I have my little say, I have to say, I have mixed feelings about this. I may have to revisit this issue a few times over and over in our lives.

I had agreed to go, because the woman who is starting this troop is a friend of mine – from a baby group era kind of friend – though our lives could not be different. When I mentioned to dh my reluctance in going to this, starting this whole business already, he said he had absolutely no problem with me bailing completely, because he did have a problem with the whole scouts thing in general. And starting Supergirl in that club. He suggested I tell them that I am gay, and that on principle, we could not participate. I figured the god thing alone would probably cover that, but just in case, it was a good thing to remember.

When I picked Supergirl up from school, I had run there late, after swooping a barely awake baby into the jogger, only to have him poop immediately and then deal with that and then finally barreling down there, I was one of the last mommies. I was still somewhat discombobulated, and just gathered all of her many school items, and turned the stroller back around. But luckily, the leader had come out to check and see where I was, and caught me just in time. So I did go back to the playground for the meeting. And there were many of the moms from my original mommy-babies-mountain group and a few others, so I stayed. But right away I said that dh completely opposed this for Supergirl because he his gay. Of course one mom had to go and point out that one of the Brownies has two moms. Busted.

When I sat down, my friend Diane was next to me (phew) and she confided that she herself had been asked to leave the girls scouts and never come back. I wanted to ask her why, but the meeting was begun. Ahem.

I admit, I was skeptical at first, but after the meeting I was pretty convinced. I thought it could possibly maybe be an opportunity to have fun with friends, make crafts, get exposed to charity on a group level, etc. And maybe all of that is true. But after painstakingly going over the sets of goals, trying to swallow and reinvent the mission statement, glancing at the pages and pages of registration and permission and donation forms, and after hearing at the very least four times (in twenty minutes) that we would need to remind our daughters that this was a meeting and not a playdate (I understand her mission in saying so, but really – four times?!), and then the discussion about the uniform that got a bit out of hand…well, I had to do some thinking. Because I couldn’t just slink out of there – I know everyone.
I am grateful to the mom who sat across from me - the mom I barely know - who said, "Well, this 'promise to serve God and my country' thing is going to present an obvious problem."
I nodded, but it seemed that some of the moms didn't think that the problem was obvious.
She added, "I don't mean to sound subversive here, but couldn't we change some of the words? Like just say 'support my community'?"
Still, a few nods, but nobody said anything.
I said, "I appreciate you bringing that up - I find it an issue as well - and a rather unnecessary one for this age group. What if we had them pledge 'I promise to serve my family and community' if they have to say anything - at least that is relevant!"
Some nods, some squirms, not much else was said.
The leader decided on "I promise to serve my community and my country".
I figured any more I said at that point was a waste of their time, because - Oh! The meeting days were always on my teaching day. Truly.
Then there was a little discussion about the uniforms, one in which most of the moms were wanting to play it very low key, low budget, this is for one year sort of thing, and one or two moms really wanted to go all out on the digs. As part of 'fitting in with a group and a comraderie ' sort of thing, but it smacked of clique-erie to me.
All the while, Supergirl maintained her steady trot and jump-roping pace around the playground, never once stopping to ask what we were doing there today.
Finally there was a lull. Nobody else had any questions when asked, so I finally asked what I had been dying to know.
"I have a question. I want to know what it was Diane did that got her kicked out of girl scouts when she was a little girl?" Was I the only one that wondered?
Turns out that she and her sister talked too much. Their rigid leader asked them to leave. Forever. In one of those ironic funny tangents that I adore, when I was about the same age, I got suspended from ballet for goofing around and talking too much! The ironic part is that Diane is Supergirl's ballet teacher, so it was funny to tell her.
My verdict for now is that I am going to treat this whole thing the same way I treated dicksney princesses and large-breasted plastic dolls: I will pretend I have no idea until she herself shows an interest in such things. And then I will revisit it with her in a real and respectful and investigative way. Because why on earth would I want to sign her up for something that appears to be more for my agenda, but it really isn't my agenda at all?!


nakedjen said...

did you know i was a girl scout leader? for three years? here in santa cruz?

i was.

you can bet my "girls" never once pledged anything to god or their country. in fact, i don't think in the three years i was their leader i ever even had them recite a pledge of any kind.

i should have at least had them pledge to respect the planet and each other. shame on me!

i have some pretty hilarious stories. but i can also tell you that those girls LOVED me. and they learned a lot about loving themselves. exactly as they were.

i know it doesn't matter what i think, but i think waiting until supergirl really wants to be a daisy is your best plan of all. why sign her up when she doesn't even know she wants to flower?

mamadaisy said...

i totally understand your reluctance -- i'd have the same problems as well.

but... from supergirl's possible perspective, she's probably not going to notice an occasional pledge that has the word "god" jumbled in there amongst all the other meaningless words. she's going to remember the t-shirts she painted and the knots she learned to tie and leaf rubbings she made and the cool camping trips she took with her friends.

my son goes to a fabulous preschool that happens to be at a presbyterian church. this year they started singing "jesus loves me," which just about flipped my lid. i questioned him about it, and he has no idea what he's talking about. he just likes music and singing. so, i'm trying not to get too upset, but of course, it's a struggle.

good luck making the decision!

Auntie Dee-Dee said...

I say go for it! I agree with nakedjen and mamadaisy...she'll love it and learn alot about loving themselves. She'll have so much fun! And maybe SHE can pledge to respect the planet and each other!!! Play...sing...and as you said it so eloquently about Bubbles: Let your freak flag fly baby!

Anonymous said...

HA...this is me anyway, but I think I'm on a chocolate high--my name IS Dianne and I was told not to come back to Brownies after my first wasn't any ONE thing we did (my best bud Jamie was booted as well) but I think an entire year of the two of us was just a bit much for the leader.