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?