I promise…to love my God

Last night I was a very proud mummy. My husband, son and I watched as our daughter was officially enrolled into Brownies. She has been uber excited for weeks, and yes, I’ll admit, it did bring a lump to my throat. Particularly because Brownies has been the one thing that has really helped her this term. She has been bullied by a close friend and starting Brownies has been a fantastic way for her to make friends outside of school and to build her self-esteem back up (man I could not believe how much a young child’s sense of self could get knocked down!). But, that huge issue aside, what really struck me was the words of the Brownie promise she made:

I promise that I will do my best:
To love my God,
To serve the Queen and my country,
To help other people
To keep the Brownie Guide Law.

Now copying that out from her Brownie book I’ve noticed the two asterisks after ‘God’ and  ‘country’ that refer to a note saying that Brownies can ask to insert different words at these points instead. That, to me, is a little sad. But… understandable. Indeed, on our walk home we met a friend from church. When we explained where we had been, and said a little bit of the promise, his response was, ‘Was there really a mention of God in there – surely that has been taken out by now?’ And he had a point. Everywhere in our British, national culture the parts that draw on a Christian heritage are being deliberately eroded away. Think about it. There’s so little left. I think that is why I was so struck by the words of the promise – because you don’t hear that sort of thing said much these days, particularly not in schools or children’s groups because it is not politically correct. So watching a group of excited girls all rooting for my daughter while she said those words was so refreshing. I understand that there will be those that say we can’t impose our beliefs on others – and I get that. Just hearing those words made me realise afresh how much our culture has been secularised – and I guess it made me mourn a little. I’m all for treating others equally, and for not making judgements based on religion, race or gender, but does that really mean we should simply give away all parts of our heritage and traditions that have any basis in Christianity, however small?

Moving on to a less contentious issue!… My daughter is 7. She is quite matter of fact, and prayed a prayer asking Jesus into her heart when it appeared in her daily bible notes when she was quite a bit younger. Now she is totally convinced she is a Christian, and I don’t doubt it, but I know she has a lot to learn and understand about what that means. But pondering the promise she made last night I thought it would be a good starting point – a good motto for life. I’m not particularly patriotic, but I do love my country – and I certainly love my God. So, actually, I think it would be a pretty good motto for me too! What about you? Fancy taking the Brownie promise as your motto for at least today?

6 thoughts on “I promise…to love my God

  1. Helen Murray says:

    Thankyou for this; really relevant to me today. I too have a seven year old daughter who is being bullied at school and cried and cried last night because one of the bullies is supposed to be her friend. I spoke to her for ages about how precious and unique and wonderful she is but she doesn’t believe it. I prayed over her as she slept and asked how I could help her to understand how special she is.
    She’s mentioned Brownies to me but never having been involved in anything like that I’ve sort of overlooked it. I wonder…
    Might make a few phone calls.

  2. clairemusters says:

    Hi Helen Thanks for your comment – that really encourages me. It is so so hard to watch your child suffer isn’t it, particularly when it is a friend who is doing the bullying? I know I’ve got so much wrong, particularly when she has shut down and I’ve got frustrated trying to get information out of her, and we still have a long way to go, but Brownies has been brilliant for her. I’ll be praying your daughter finds a way through this awful situation. x

    • Helen Murray says:

      Thankyou. Appreciate your honesty and your prayers. I worry that because I tend towards perfectionism and often am too critical that I have contributed towards Elizabeth’s low self-esteem and that she doesn’t think enough of herself to realise that some friends aren’t friends at all. Sigh. Being a Mummy is hard sometimes indeed.
      I really will think about Brownies though. A different pack from the child in question!

      • clairemusters says:

        You know some days I feel my daughter’s pain so acutely because it is like replaying scenes from my own childhood. And I worry about her because I know how I reacted and, as my mum has reminded me, she is reacting so similarly. Yes motherhood is really hard! But rather than worrying about our own failings and what they may be doing to our kids we MUST try and concentrate on the positives, keep praying for them and doing what we believe is best. But also taking the time to listen to them too – something I sometimes find hard in the midst of my busy life.

        • Helen Murray says:

          Yep, with you there too. It happened to me and it’s only as an adult that I’ve started to learn that God can heal old, old wounds too. (http://hmarewenearlythereyet.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/sisterhood-and-suspicion.html) Elizabeth has just moved to Junior School and the walk there is longer than it used to be. It’s been a great time for chatting, just the two of us, but along with the excitement and enthusiasm she’s revealed a lot of hurt and worry. I wish I could make it better but she’s got to learn to navigate the mean kids.
          I’ve googled local Brownie groups. Just checking with another Mum which ones to avoid!
          Thanks Claire. Had one of those ‘So it’s not just me’ moments this morning thanks to you.

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