Tuesday, March 9, 2010
I think the line handed to parents, at least back in the day, was that scouting gives children the tools and vision to meet their future. I have to admit, Scouting’s glimpse into my future absolutely nailed it.
Scouting taught me the value of a dollar.
In the Girl Scout section at Sears, you could buy an official pocket knife, comb, handbook, pup tent, slip, socks, lip gloss, really, the accessories were endless. My mother bought me the minimum requirements – skirt and sash.
Scouting taught me independence.
The day I joined, my parents made it clear I would have to move my own inventory. When it came to the cookies, neither mom nor dad would shill for me -- not at the country club, not at the charity league, not at the office.
Scouting taught me to accept my limitations.
The first assignment from the Girl Scout Association of America was to bring in the lolly. But when your parents refuse to push the cookies, it’s like playing baseball without arms.
Before Girl Scouts operated like a multinational corporation, each scout had to place her order prior to sale, and the order indicated your level of ambition. Minimum order was one case. I ordered one case.
Then, if you were the little matchgirls of scouting, you had to lug around a cardboard satchel of cookies door-to-door. My parents forbade me to beg in our immediate area. I partnered with Kim; she also had uncooperative parents, but at least we could hit up her neighbors.
Scouting taught me resourcefulness.
What did we hit – two houses, three houses? – before throwing in the towel and heading back to her place. Kim opened the Thin Mints and I lit into peanut butter creams as we watched I Dream of Jeannie reruns. I know you think you know where this story is heading, but you’re wrong. We didn’t eat 24 boxes of cookies, we only ate three or four. Kim stole some money from her mother’s purse and put it in our pay envelope, then we forged a few names on our Girl Scout receipt.
Scouting taught me that when life is unfair, blame your parents.
I remember that year, the only year I was a girl scout, the grand prize for cookie sales went to a Mary Thompson. Mary had a horse and her father owned Thompson Chevrolet. He gave five boxes to every customer. Mary won something, maybe a bike, I can’t say for sure because I never looked through the awards catalogue. Scouting taught me pragmatism. You’ve just got to let some things go; not all in life has your name on it.