Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Girl Guides and Organic Beef

It's Spring Break this week. My kids are home with me, spending time playing together, sewing doll clothes, reading a lot and generally enjoying each other's company. Tonight I was speaking to a woman with older children who commented that so many people overschedule their children's time. One of the effects of that is their inability to entertain themselves. I'd have to agree with that and we've resisted many of the kids' requests to join too many groups and go to day camps, lessons and clubs that would take them out of the house and into organized time. I love it when they have free time. As it is, there are a few activities that I think are important. I want them to take part in music, and I think it's important to learn how to swim because many summer activities involve boats, swimming and other water activities and I want them to feel and be safe. Sunday School and church youth clubs aren't really optional in my mind. Even with these restrictions, it turns out that they are each involved in two or three activities. Luckily some of them are combined, but all together, it's starting to make coordinating our lives difficult at times. My week of unplanned choir practices threw things for a loop last week. Next year Beth starts junior high. That means a few changes in her schedule. She'll start at a new school, join band and learn French. Quit Sunday School and join a weekly Youth Group. Quit Girl Guides and possibly join Pathfinders. She has talked about quitting Guides altogether and while I think she might like the free time this creates, the activities the older girls get to do and the leadership training is appealing. She acted as a Page last Saturday at the Alberta Guides Parliament Debates. They were mostly Rangers (high school Guides) and I think she liked to hear the intelligent debates and could also distinguish who didn't really know their stuff. I stuck around because Beth wasn't feeling well and I wanted to be there if she needed to abandon her post. The debate was interesting to me too as it turned out. The topic: The passing of a bill that by 2014 all livestock in Alberta would be free ranged and organic. The girls all knew the topic a few weeks ago, but were not told whether they would be pro or con. They had to research and prepare for both situations. Some did their homework well, others were great speakers and convincing. Others made me want to stand up and tell them they were ridiculous and join the debate. I don't know whether she'll stick with the program, but Beth left the debate interested and asking questions. She can get these opportunities elsewhere too, but I'm not-so-secretly hoping she'll stick with the Guides and see where it takes her. I think she'll be good at this stuff.

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