Sometimes you go into the room expecting to teach and, instead, you get schooled. That’s when you have to realize the best thing you can do is get out of your own way and let the lesson evolve organically.
That was the case recently when I had the opportunity to lead a Girl Scout troop through one of the Grace & Grit lessons on Wisdom.
This past May I was the recipient of a Woman of Distinction Award by the Girl Scouts. I was completely shocked the day I learned I had been chosen for the award and I’m still questioning their selection of me. But the opportunity it has provided has been priceless and I’m immensely grateful. Through this award I was able to partner up with a Girl Scout Troop to test a new curriculum I wrote as part of the Grace and Grit line of empowerment tools for girls. The troop leader and I decided on three character traits: Wisdom, Courage, and Perseverance - Sacagawea, Harriet, and Wilma.
Its a small troop with many age levels. They are a sweet and energetic group of girls. They were so happy to be at the girl scout meeting and they greeted each other so warmly. They were also eager and slightly curious as they entered the room and saw me. Their energy picked up when I brought out my bag full of lesson packets and they realized they were going to get something! I admit, I got excited too.
They opened their canvas bags and pulled out the legacy of Sacagawea- Wisdom- we dove in. I wish I had a recording of their words when they opened the bag and saw Sacagawea. They had instant love for this wise teenager.
They were immediately drawn to her picture. In Sacagawea’s illustration she is looking back, over her shoulder. We spent some time thinking about what she was looking back at and what she must have been thinking. They told me that she must have been thinking- “Why are those guys she is leading taking too long?” Close your journals, girls. Lesson over.
I am not giving the lesson, I am receiving a lesson. I was going to tell those fierce girls about the meaning of Wisdom- which is staying calm and making smart choices, I was going to tell them how Sacagawea brought these men through the wilderness to the ocean. But these feisty girls had other plans. They were going to lead me through an hour lesson on the greatness of girls.
So, I pretended to carry on with my lesson as I listened to them tell me about times when they were calm and others were not. I listened to them tell me about women in their lives who were wise- grannies, their beloved troop leader, moms, teachers. I listened to them tell me the difference between intelligence and wisdom- “Being smart is getting an A on you spelling test, being wise is staying calm when there is a bug in your room and everyone else is yelling and you just kill it with a flip flop.”
I watched them help each other through the journal activities and how they smiled as they talked about their answers and help each other spell words. In the end I realized these girls knew exactly what wisdom was, they just weren’t familiar with the word or the woman. They needed an example to bring a deep rooted knowledge, to the surface. They just needed to know it existed, it is a real thing to embrace and inspire to be.
Next month is perseverance and I am sure these girl scouts are going to school me once again -- and you better believe I am looking forward to it.