Leadership - Paying it Forwards

>>  Sunday, February 15, 2015

"take time to give - it is too short a day to be selfish"

I've spent many, many hours recently writing letters, wording reply slips, investigating options, setting up trips, emailing Rangers, texting Rangers, printing letters and handing them out to Rangers. Everything has a reply date on it, some are marked 'urgent - must reply by...'

I have had one parent send me a no, and another parent send me a maybe to one 'urgent response needed' nothing from 17 girls and 2 responses from parents on their behalves.

I feel like I'm slogging away setting up 'opportunities' for girls that don't care and have absolutely no appreciation of work I do for them or the work involved. At meetings they rarely listen to me, Cog is the worst for that, she continues to chat and laugh with her BFF regardless of what I am saying. No respect at all.

I've chased parents for gift aid forms 2, 3 or 4 times over.  I am absolutely positive that only 2 the parents have any idea how much effort I put in for their children.  One is a Scouter (and his wife was Bunny Guider, she spoke to me once about how much I was doing for each girl individually) and the other is my friend who often listens to my moans with tea and blessed sympathy.  There are 4 other Rangers who have parents who are current or ex guiders and scouters but I'm still not sure they get it.  I don't think there is enough contact with parents for them to realise what I am doing or how much the girls don't respond.

A couple of the girls rarely turn up to weekly meetings, which is fine, but I do ask that girls tell me if they won't be coming,  they never let me know.  They often don't bring subs if they do turn up, so they generally owe money.  I see them on a fairly regularly basis about the village, at brownies, where they work etc, they never apologise for not turning up, I write yet more letters asking for the money they owe, one of them never pays it.  They are also the ones that criticise the most.

So you are getting the general gist here I think, I wonder sometimes why the heck I do this.  There is no pay back in the unit running week by week slog.  There is admin, ungrateful parents and teenagers.

One day when they are adults in a particularly important or difficult situation they will get through it because of some Guiding experience they had, whether at Rainbows, Brownies, Guides or Rangers.   They will be more likely to make morally appropriate decisions in their lives, they will be more likely to give to charity, to do volunteer work, to be really decent people for the rest of their lives.  They will make great mums, they might change something important (like the attitude to topless women in family newspapers), or talk to the UN about women's rights, and maybe some of them will become leaders themselves and do the same for another generation.

Sometimes I think I just have to look at my box of admin, the teenagery, criticising eyes of the Rangers and the lack of care from the parents and think:

making a difference to the world one girl at a time, paying it forwards.

"take time to give - it is too short a day to be selfish"

The first time I read this quote was in a book at Our Chalet. It was written by the ladies of the Juliette Low session of 1959. What they gave has been passed through to me by WAGGGS.  I guess it's not always about what's in it for me today, it's about setting out a store for the future.


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