On a trip to a Veterinary Clinic, I first realized my bad habit. I had been nervous going in about how our girls would behave, even though they are usually pretty good in meetings. I was hoping they would set a good example for Guiding.
They were attentive and always willing to answer questions. In truth, I think the Vet was glad to have such a captive and inquisitive audience. As our host explained the rooms and devices, he kept them engaged with questions. I tried my best to facilitate the discussion with helpful secondary questions and hints. Although I meant well, the girls often used their own imagination to come up with answers. I was happy they felt they could contribute and that their minds were open to new things, but I was hoping for them to find the “right” answer.
I know now that I should try to make the girls feel like they can say any answer they want. In being a leader, I’ve learned that there are right moments for the “right” answer, and there are moments when you just need to sit back and support your girls. Imagine my surprise when the Vet asked if they knew what a certain machine did, and Chloe explained exactly what a Blood Pressure machine was. I was astounded, it turns out Chloe is full of medical knowledge, something I never would have known if I hadn’t taken a back seat.
We also recently had a police officer visit who is a father as well and explained his role very well to the girls.
I found myself doing the same bad habit of jumping in before letting the girls form their own inventive answers. I reminded myself to let the officer and the girls interact as much as possible and was so happy with what I observed.
When Officer Phil was trying to impart on them the importance of his own safety, he asked them what his number one job was. I knew he was thinking along the lines of protecting himself, but Naomi had another idea. She threw her hand up in the air and answered with full confidence “Protecting your kids!” Officer Phil was about to tell her she was incorrect, when he stopped and said “Actually, you are right!”
I want my girls to always feel like they can offer answers to questions. I want to build up their confidence so they don’t think twice about raising their hand and speaking before a group. I will always be there if they need me, but I take pride in the moments when they find their own voice.
By guest blogger Chelsea Kennedy. Chelsea lives in Mississauga and works at the Girl Guides of Canada Ontario Council office in Toronto. She rediscovered her love of Guiding last year and is happy to once again be part of the sisterhood. In her spare time she enjoys knitting, reading and geocaching. She credits her love of volunteering with her time at the University of Guelph, where she earned a BAH in History and learned the joy of helping others.
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