Scouting for the girls

Published 6:16 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2009

&dquo;Pam, we don&squo;t swear in the Bluebirds.&dquo; reprimanded our leader.

Thinking the word, &dquo;swear,&dquo; meant taking an oath, I shrugged over this piece of relatively uninteresting trivia which must have been taken as indifference, and was never invited back.

However, I always look forward to seeing Girl Scouts this time of year as they remind me of values easily forgotten in these days of technology: curiosity, helpfulness, an appreciation for nature and adventure. The problem is, I rarely actually see them.

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What I see are parents tackling co-workers in cubicles with sign-up order sheets for Thin Mints and Lemon Creams. I see parents&bsp; approaching&bsp; strangers in grocery stores and I see parents driving their children to each house in the neighborhood.

&dquo;My Mindy sold 230 boxes this year!&dquo; gushed one, overly-motivated mother.

&dquo;That&squo;s terrific,&dquo; replied another. &dquo;But I think I&squo;ve got you beat: Clare sold 300!&dquo;

Actually, both Mindy and Clare had sat comfortably in the backseat of their respective mother&squo;s minivan, watching a DVD of Hannah Montana while Mom parked and strode&bsp; purposely to the front door of each house, brandishing a clipboard, order sheets and pen with the assertiveness of Billy Mays, selling a case of &squo;Kaboom!&squo;

Don&squo;t children do anything for themselves anymore? Good Lord, had I scraped up the courage to ask my mother or father to be chauffeured about to sell anything, the response would have been a tart, &dquo;Oh, are your legs broken?&dquo;

Look, I understand that certainly no one wants to send their children to the homes of complete strangers~ that privilege is reserved for the dark, moonless nights during Halloween when you also ask these complete strangers for food ‐ but there is absolutely no reason a parent can&squo;t tag along, discreetly, and wait by the street while Mindy and Clare actually walk (this is a gait that is commonly used when approaching a refrigerator) through their neighborhood, explaining their cause with fresh faces and irresistible smiles.

I look forward to ordering my Girl Scout cookies this year. From a Girl Scout. Back off, Mom.