Sparks: First Steps First – Learn the Law and Promise

Every level of Girl Scouts and every meeting for Girl Scouts begins with a reminder of the Girl Scout Law and Promise. For those unfamiliar with the Law and Promise, here is the Promise:

On my honor, I will try:

to serve God and my country,

to help people at all times,

and to live by the Girl Scout Law.

and the Law:

I will do my best to be

honest and fair,

friendly and helpful,

considerate and caring,

courageous and strong, and

responsible for what I say and do, and to

respect myself and others,

respect authority,

use resources wisely,

make the world a better place, and

be a sister to every Girl Scout.

Juliette Low, the founder of Girl Scouts was inspired by the law and promise from the British Girl Guides which was her inspiration for Girl Scouts in America. I love the Law and Promise and think the world would be a better place if we all lived by the ideals set forth in both.  Some of the things I most love about the Law and Promise:

  1. The Law begins first with the idea of “serving” – God, country, others.  We don’t often focus on service to others in our world today and it certainly isn’t the first priority in most cases.  But, with Girl Scouts, it is the first thing girls promise.  It aligns well with God’s message to us as well: “It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.” (Ephesians 2:10).  So, for me, it all aligns well.  If we all focused on service to others, the world could not help but be a better place.
  2. The Law and Promise are both what we strive for, perfection is not required.  The Law starts with “I will try” and the Promise starts with “I will do my best”.  There is no “I will definitely” or “I have to”.  They are based on what we should strive to be and do, not only in achievement.  The entire program is based on learning by trying and doing.  I am someone who is often stopped from doing things, trying things and finishing things because of fear it won’t be perfect.  I like the idea of trying one’s best being good enough. The key here is trying one’s BEST.
  3. The Promise focuses on being a good person.  Period.  Honest, fair, friendly, helpful, considerate, caring, courageous, strong, responsible, respectful, and making the world a better place.  Again, if we would all try to be those things in our everyday life, whether being watched or judged or evaluated.

So, there you have it.  My spark this week is to try to live life by the Girl Scout Law and Promise on a daily basis.  I am going to work on a personal Law and Promise soon – kind of like a mission statement.  Those guiding ideas are so important when the hard decisions need to be made.


Family Kaper Chart

I’ve decided that our family needs its own Kaper Chart!  For those unfamiliar with the Kaper Chart, it is basically a chore chart for a Girl Scout troop. You can find a more developed description at Girl Scout Leader 101. They come in many designs.  I made one for our troop last year that looked like this:

kaper chart example
This Kaper Chart from Etsy is no longer available, so I tried to make my own. It wasn’t nearly as pretty as this one. For other cute GS items, visit TidyLadyPrintables on Etsy!


It wasn’t nearly as fancy as this one, but it used a three-fold and had the areas for announcements and chores and the girl’s names on sticky notes so I could move them around each meeting.  This year, I’ve been using a whiteboard and magnets, but it hasn’t worked nearly as well, so next year I will be going back to the three-fold board.  I am amazed at what having a large, clear and cheery chart does for the girls.  This year, we have not been nearly as good about doing all the different aspects of the meeting each time and I think part of that is really just not having a large enough chart for the girls and me to focus on during the meeting.

So, what lesson can I learn from this for other areas of my life?  Well, first of all, my family is in desperate need of a Kaper Chart!  I have tried regular chore charts in the past, but I don’t think they were large enough or cheery enough for anyone to want to pay attention to them.  I also think they were pretty static.  The nice thing about the Kaper Chart is you can move girls’ names around on the chart and have them doing different things each meeting.  That could work at home too.  Instead of having to do the dishes every. single. day., someone can move their marker to another chore and trade with someone else’s marker.  It does seem like it would work better with a larger family than ours (there are only three of us), but I think I’m going to try it anyway.  It would be nice to have some help around here and maybe this is the motivation everyone needs!

I also can use this at my job coaching Speech and Debate.  I can have a Tournament Kaper Chart where students get assigned things that I have been doing all along – taking pictures, choosing restaurants and making reservations, sending out schedules for each day, etc.  It would relieve me of some of the myriads of things I have to do and empower the students to take some ownership of the team.  Girl Scouts theme is “Girl Led” because the girls are supposed to be learning leadership and organization and cooperation.  I think those same lessons are good for college students to learn as well!

I will be getting on choosing a design for our Family Kaper Chart soon.  I’ll let you know how it works!

What about you?  What do you do to keep your family on track for getting things done around the house?  Do you take it all on yourself?  Do you use a traditional chore chart?  Do you pay your kids to do chores?  I’m curious!  Please comment with a link to a blog post or telling us your strategy for making sure you aren’t the only in the house doing house”work”.