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Thread: Brownies - yes or no?

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    Ceroc Teacher Lorna's Avatar
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    Brownies - yes or no?

    My daughter has just asked about joining The Rainbows.

    I am an ex-Brownie myself and loved it. I would love Lauren to also enjoy this experience. I am, however, concerned with the Brownie Promise (which has been changed/adapted over the years).

    She will have to recite that she loves her God. (Santa springs to mind again)

    Can't we get away from this? Children are exposed to this enough.
    She already refers to the nativity she did last year in school as "The Jesus Show" (Don't get me started on this one!!!) She is 6 years old by the way. And before you comment, we keep our feelings on religion away from our children.

    Which begs my question, should I put up and shut up and let her have fun with her mates? I think I have just answered my own question.
    It just angers me.

    But would appreciate some advice from anyone else who is in a similar situation.

    Lotsa love Lorna x-x

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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    Put up and shut up Lorna and let her have fun with her mates.
    She'll make her own mind up about religion, as you have yours, when she's older, just tell her not to take the fairy tales too seriously

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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    I loved the brownies too. I guess it's not too bad if they're not specifying which god the loves, if that's your main concern. As you say Santa is pretty influential at this time of year

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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    In the United Kingdom, the Brownie Promise is:
    I promise that I will do my best, To love my God, To serve the Queen and my country, to help other people, And to keep the Brownie Guide Law. The Brownie Guide Law is:
    A Brownie Guide thinks of others before herself and does a good turn every day. The Brownie motto used to be Lend a Hand (LAH). With the introduction of the new program in the United Kingdom, the motto was dropped for Brownies.
    (Source: Wikipedia)

    I think I agree with the "put up and shut up" approach here.
    You loved being a brownie, I know I did, and it didn't stop us from forming our own opinions on religion or anything else.
    I think it'll be good for her, both fun and educational. She'll have her whole life ahead of her to for her own opinions.

    (Noooooo, I spent my 100 post on the brownie post???)

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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Villemo View Post
    The Brownie motto used to be Lend a Hand (LAH). With the introduction of the new program in the United Kingdom, the motto was dropped for Brownies.
    (Source: Wikipedia)
    I remember the lend a hand... and what a rank uniform we had to wear. But what fun we used to have.


    Quote Originally Posted by Villemo View Post
    (Noooooo, I spent my 100 post on the brownie post???)
    That just means you'll have to post more to get that 200th....

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    Ceroc Teacher Lorna's Avatar
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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    Thanks guys,

    just got to convince my hubby!!

    Lxx

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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    Let her have fun sweetie. God is subjective anyway.

    let her have fun and make her own mind up when she is old enough to make it.

    I remember when I was defending Rourke's Drift against the Zulu's, Stanley Baxter played me in the flim, I swore allegience to the Devil and prayed to God in the same breath.

    As long as you live a good life all is good when you are promoted.

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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Villemo View Post
    In the United Kingdom, the Brownie Promise is:
    I promise that I will do my best, To love my God, To serve the Queen and my country, to help other people, And to keep the Brownie Guide Law. The Brownie Guide Law is:
    A Brownie Guide thinks of others before herself and does a good turn every day.
    The main change is "to love my God" so that they can take in Satanists, Muslims, Buddhists, and any other religious creed. There is a religion badge, but I'm fairly sure that it's non-denominational.

    Have a look at Girlguiding UK - Who we are - What do Brownies do? for more information... OK, it's perhaps bias, but you'll get an idea of what they are aiming for.

    You could put her to Beavers, but they also have a god in the promise. The scouting organisation is for boys and girls now. Guides have the blessing of the queen to be sexist, so it's OK.

    {My mum was and is a 'brown-owl', (been to a few brownie camps myself ) my daughter goes to Brownies and used to go to Beavers, my wife ran the local Beavers in the village, she is a leader in the local guides, her mum was a guide leader, ... so I get roped into doing stuff for them :sigh: }

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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    Lorna, as someone from a Guiding/Scouting family, who's come right through the Girlguiding system and been a Rainbow/Brownie leader, I hope I can answer your questions and put some of your concerns to rest.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lorna View Post
    I am, however, concerned with the Brownie Promise (which has been changed/adapted over the years).

    She will have to recite that she loves her God. (Santa springs to mind again )

    Can't we get away from this? Children are exposed to this enough.
    She already refers to the nativity she did last year in school as "The Jesus Show" (Don't get me started on this one!!!)
    Quote Originally Posted by jeanie View Post
    I guess it's not too bad if they're not specifying which god the loves, if that's your main concern.
    The Guiding promise has always included a section promising to love God, so as a Brownie you will have promised to "love God" yourself - I assume this wasn't an issue for you as a seven year old? If they tried to brainwash you it doesn't seem to have worked anyway...

    Girlguiding is still essentially a Christian movement, though in recent years the phrasing of the promise has been changed to "love my God" to be more inclusive to girls from each different (or no) religion. There may well be religious aspects to the meetings; how much probably depends on the guider. All the units I've been part of and worked in have been led in a closing prayer at the end of the night and Rainbows are sometimes told the story of Noah's ark (the rainbow story), but that's about as far as it goes (certainly at that age). I've never considered Guiding to be particularly religious; nor to my knowledge have my friends (definite non-believers!).

    God/Religion is by no means the focus - it's a small part of a very broad 'curriculum' covered by Guiding, in much the same way schools do. The "Rainbow Roundabout" is split into Look/Love/Laugh/Learn (again specific definitions have changed recently, but the idea is still the same) with the girls helping to choose from a range of activities covering all different aspects of life; nature/baking/arts&craft/drama/etc. Lauren won't (or shouldn't!) be preached to at Rainbows - it's not Sunday School! She'll be exposed to religion far more at school; even there it's a case of teaching children about the different religions so that they understand the world around them and what options are out there, not trying to convert them to one faith or another (which is a common misconception ).
    Quote Originally Posted by Lorna View Post
    Which begs my question, should I put up and shut up and let her have fun with her mates? I think I have just answered my own question. It just angers me.
    I think you have just answered your own question!
    Quote Originally Posted by Lorna View Post
    I am an ex-Brownie myself and loved it.

    I would love Lauren to also enjoy this experience.
    Guiding has been modernised but essentially hasn't changed and is IMO a very enjoyable and valuable experience. Girls still turn up every week to spend time doing a variety of activities with their friends. They are still given opportunities to do things, learn skills and go places they may not otherwise get the chance to (particularly as they get older). Guiding taught me a lot and I'm sure helped shape me as a person, while being primarily a fun place to be and meet new people! Perhaps this is why it's as popular as ever. There's no reason Lauren can't have that experience too. Why not let her go and try it?

    As a final point, Guiders tend to be very approachable people so if you're still worried, don't be afraid to ask! Your unit guider should be happy to answer any questions you have about Guiding in general or about her unit specifically.

    (A word of advice - the vast majority of units/packs have (in some cases very long...) waiting lists - so if Lauren isn't already on one, it may take a while to get her a place, particularly if all her friends are going to the same unit. You might be lucky and get a space in Rainbows, but if she's already 6 now she might have to wait and go into Brownies once she's 7. If you decide to go for it, I'd find out about getting her on a Brownie list too.)

    Hope that helps.

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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    Do it, and then try not to dwell on it yourself.
    I was a Girl Guide and was in it to collect badges, which lead me to look up, learn and absorb all manner of amazing info with which to delight my chums on long car journies to this day.
    It's another place to learn a little teamwork, waiting your turn, sharing, that there are rewards for hard work etc etc.
    Religion never came up in my house (if you don't count Elvis Day) and when I once asked my mother if I was a protestant or a catholic, she told me quite matter of factly that I should say please and thank you, have nice table manners, be polite and not worry about things like that. I still subscribe to this view and remembered it on holiday a couple of weeks ago when some of my fellow travellers scooped their soup by moving the spoon TOWARDS their bodies
    A Girl Guide with her Hostess Badge would never commit such a heinous crime.

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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    It's the 'serve the Queen' bit that really makes my blood boil.

    My daughter has been in the Brownies for about a year and loves it because all her friends are there.

    She really couldn't care less about religion and lets it all wash over her. I find that if I make a fuss over that sort of issue, it just upsets her and causes a problem where there wouldn't have been one.

    Quite often her group are requested to attend Church services in their Brownie uniform but she just doesn't bother going and has never had any hassle for that.

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    Ceroc Teacher Lorna's Avatar
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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    Hi guys,

    thanks for all the help.

    I have been out with the girls to see High School Musical 3. (Great Film BTW)

    Meanwhile Tim has been trawling through forums most of the afternoon to get advice. He found a great idea.....

    We are going to get a goldfish and name it God. Now happy for her to declare her love for her pet goldfish 'God'. We will have an interesting time explaining it to Nana.

    Seriously though, I have e-mailed the website and am waiting for a reply on the matter.

    As for schools. Don't forget I teach in and have taught in dozens of schools and sorry, but it very much depends on the staff as to how religion is taught. I am reminded every day at school that we live in a christian society, and schools are still very much biased towards this religion. They go to christian churches at the end of term, they invite christian ministers to assemblies and all the songs are chosen from christian hymn books. And where on the curriculum does it cater for non-believers?

    I had a conversation with a colleague. (She didn't know my thoughts on the subject) She was expressing her disgust at a child who had completed his homework. The homework was to write about the true meaning of christmas. Immediately I asked her "the true meaning according to who?"
    She didn't answer, in fact she just looked blankly at me and continued to have a rant about how disgusted she was at the child who had written about Santa and the giving and receiving of presents. She had shouted at and lectured this child for not having the same belief as her. She got a major dressing down from me and was told that there would have been serious repercussions if I were the parent on this occasion.
    I am under no illusion as to exactly how religious education is delivered in schools.

    Lotsa love Lorna x-x
    Last edited by Lorna; 25th-October-2008 at 07:38 PM.

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    Forum Bombshell - Our Queen! Lory's Avatar
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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorna View Post
    He found a great idea.....

    We are going to get a goldfish and name it God. Now happy for her to declare her love for her pet goldfish 'God'.
    Love it!

    When I was a kid, I went to Brownies, cos all my friends went but I didn't last long, I hated it.

    I think I must have been a horrible kid as I didn't like most of the other girls there and thought they were all goody goody's. I didn't like the uniform. I didn't like the fact we had to be in groups with stupid names such as pixie's and Gnomes and I hated the fact we had to go to a church service every now and then

    I remember getting a badge but wouldn't let my mum sew it on, cos all the swatty girls had rows of badges.

    But, respect to my Mum, cos she let me try it and make my own mind up that it wasn't for me!
    MODERATOR AT YOUR SERVICE
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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    I think Shiny Wee Star touched on a possible answer (or problem) for you when she said: "There may well be religious aspects to the meetings; how much probably depends on the guider."

    Do you have an opportunity to discuss your concerns with the guider (in your usual lovely non-confrontational way, of course)? You might find that only lip-service is paid to the "religious" aspects of the Brownie time, and while that might offend the purists who think that everyone should be 100% up-front, honest and committed to what they belong to, it's maybe no bad thing for Lauren to learn early that that ain't necessarily so, and that sometimes a little bit of polite hypocricy is necessary!

    Personally, I think there's more potential damage to your daughter in having her think that she's somehow different from her pals (in a way that she isn't yet old enough to fully understand), and/or that her mum & dad are out to spoil her fun by stopping her going to something she wants to, again for some reason she doesn't understand. You might even find that as she gets older your "prohibition" serves only to make her more interested in this "forbidden" subject.

    But in the end, as parents you have to make your own minds up and I wouldn't criticise you, whichever path you take. It's a hell of a job bringing up children, and the chances are you'll make lots of wrong decisions as well as lots of right ones. Just remember Philip Larkin's wise words (even if the last line is a bit late for you!!!:
    They f*** you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
    They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

    But they were f***ked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
    Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another's throats.

    Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don't have any kids yourself.


    As long as you get her dancing like her mum she won't go far wrong.

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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    Brownies?

    Horrible American cake thing which (like American muffins) clings to your teeth like Araldite and has four times as much sugar as necessary to be satisfactorily sweet...

    Not those brownies, then?

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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Shnikov View Post
    Not those brownies, then?
    No, clearly not if you had read any of the OP.

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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    Do Scouts in the UK still have a religious bend? If not, you should consider signing her up there instead.

    If it's anything like Scouts in New Zealand she'll get to lots more fun outdoors activities and learn how to deal with boys!

    Edit: Or at least whichever age-appropriate club you have in the Scout movement over there.....

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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    I agree with Shiny Wee Star. I went through the whole system. Mum was a Brownie leader so I went along from age 3 (before Rainbows were invented!), Brownies, Guides, Rangers, Brownie and Guide leader and loved most of it.
    I changed packs and Companies as new ones started up and found that they are very much dierected (obviously) by the leaders own perspective. The main differences were 'older' style girl-guiding (very formal) and newer (more informal - outdoors, abseiling, panto-producing...)
    I never came across anything overtly religious and it hasn't had any profound effect on my own thoughts/feelings on religion. Do remember that there is a lot of mystic,magick, pagan (please don't shoot me down for getting the wrong terminology) stuff in there too - pixies, elves, kelpies, talking wise owls, jumping over toadstools...
    Try not ot concentrate on the wee bit that you're not so happy about - look at the other 95% (or more) of what your daughter will be getting up to and judge it on that instead!

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    Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorna View Post
    We are going to get a goldfish and name it God. Now happy for her to declare her love for her pet goldfish 'God'. We will have an interesting time explaining it to Nana.

    Quote Originally Posted by NZ Monkey View Post
    Do Scouts in the UK still have a religious bend? If not, you should consider signing her up there instead.
    As far as I'm aware, yes, it's the same situation with the Scouts. In fact there was a news article earlier this year about a boy who refused to say his promise (I think he wanted to join the Cubs) because it was against his (or his mother's ) religion (I've a feeling he was Catholic and his problem was swearing allegiance to the Queen... will see if I can find a link to it).
    Quote Originally Posted by NZ Monkey
    If it's anything like Scouts in New Zealand she'll get to lots more fun outdoors activities and learn how to deal with boys!
    I will concede that Guiding may not be "outdoorsy" in quite the same way as Scouting, but it's probably more so than it used to be and as I've said there's much more involvement of the girls in planning what they do; so if they want to abseil, climb, gorge-walk, raft, trek, whale watch or even ski-do across a glacier (to name but a few), it can be done! Again, of course, to what extent can depend on individual guiders, but there are also national & international camps every year where girls can go to do these types of things - sometimes even with boys!
    Quote Originally Posted by NZ Monkey
    Edit: Or at least whichever age-appropriate club you have in the Scout movement over there.....
    Yep, they have the Beavers (as Gadget mentioned).

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    Talking Re: Brownies - yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by NZ Monkey View Post
    Do Scouts in the UK still have a religious bend? If not, you should consider signing her up there instead.

    If it's anything like Scouts in New Zealand she'll get to lots more fun outdoors activities and learn how to deal with boys!

    Edit: Or at least whichever age-appropriate club you have in the Scout movement over there.....
    I am a scout leader, we are not a relegious movement, and parade twice a year and thats about it for relegion.
    I find that many groups either unfortunately or fortunately (whichever is your point of view) just give lip service to the god bit.
    However if I had said I was an Atheist, I wouldn't have been accepted, however if I said Agnostic - which I did, that is OK. It is more that you can appreciate and accept that some of your scouts may be religious, whatever their belief, and you must allow them to follow their beliefs whether or not you agree.
    The Guides and Brownies units that I know, usually have a similar view and I know there has been a great deal of discussion about this on Guide/ Scout leaders forums.

    However, this may be a greater issue if your chosen unit is sponsored by a relegious establishment, such as a church hall, as they are likely to expect you to join church parades, or attend the odd Christingle service or Harvest festival.

    I'm totally biased, but since January 2007 ALL scout units (or Beavers in your case) have to take girls if they want to join (Even though they have been welcomed since 1990), you should find that there are quite a few mixed groups around now.
    and yes the scouts will offer a slighly more adventurous programme than most guide groups

    BUT your daughter probably wants to join Brownies because her friends go, so don't worry about religion the wholde idea of brownies, cubs, scouts and guides ids to have FUN with a capital F.
    As someone said earlier most guiders (that includes Brown Owl!) and scouters are relatively friendly people so just ask!!

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