Jumping Over A Toadstool

[This is an entry in my project to write something every day in the 100 days before my retirement, reflecting on my career and life]

99 Days to Go

May 24, 2018

Today’s entry of “99 days” naturally reminds me of the silly song we used to sing in Brownies and Girl Guides – 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.  And now I’m thinking about how inappropriate it was to teach that song to an 8-year old.  Signs of the times, non? But this meaningless song has me thinking about my time with the Girl Guides of Canada movement and how the skills I was taught at a young age have stayed with me and served me well throughout my working career.

For background, I enrolled in Brownies at 8 years old and was with the Girl Guides of Canada in one form or another for the next 35 years.  I was a Brownie, a Guide, and a Ranger, and then became a Leader once my daughters joined.  (As a Brownie Leader the girls called me “Snowy Owl” because my hair was starting to turn grey.)

As a Brownie, I remember learning how to feel proud of my accomplishments as I acquired skills and gained badges (sewing, tying knots, reading scores of books, cooking, singing, reciting promises and poetry).  We were taught to Be Prepared and Always Do Our Best.  The promise to Help Other People At All Times was a promise that I took to heart.  This notion has stayed with me over the decades, and was the catalyst for my first career choice, that of being a nurse. 

Girl Guides suited me and I thrived in the group atmosphere where I was taught respect, the true meaning of honour, the value of teamwork, loyalty and above all, a strong work ethic.

For background, here is the Guide Promise and Law as it was taught to me in 1963, which we were required to memorize and recite at every meeting:

Guide Promise

On my honour, I promise that I will do my best:
To do my duty to God and the Queen and my country;
To help other people at all times;
To obey the Guide Law

Guide Law

  • A Guide’s honour is to be trusted.
  • A Guide is loyal.
  • A Guide’s duty is to be useful and to help others.
  • A Guide is a friend to all and a sister to every other Guide.
  • A Guide is courteous.
  • A Guide is a friend to animals.
  • A Guide obeys orders.
  • A Guide smiles and sings under all difficulties.
  • A Guide is thrifty.
  • A Guide is pure in thought, in word and in deed

I know to some this Promise and the Laws may seem anachronistic, but they served to reinforce the values my parents taught us at home.  Besides, where else would I have learned how to jump over a toadstool and sing Day is Done?