New brownie promise

(95 Posts)
Nannyowl Wed 19-Jun-13 11:14:28

As a brownie leader; can I ask mums of seven year olds? Would your daughter understand to promise: "to be true to myself and develop my own beliefs"?
That is; do they have independent beliefs from you and their family? Are they able to ignore peer pressure? Do you think it is fair to ask a seven year old to make this promise? As a leader I thing they are too young imo maybe the older girls nine ten can. I not saying they are not good ideas to aspire to, but not sure to promise at seven? Would your daughters understand this?

Startail Wed 19-Jun-13 11:37:05

I would have, I was an atheist attending a CofE school and I hated having to lie to join Brownies.

I decided Jesus said "love thy neighbour" so the helping other people and being kind would have to do for duty to God.

My DDs would have had no trouble with it, because they went to a CofE school, have a CofE dad and a mum, who is still as staunch an atheist as she was at 7. They have always been told they are free to make up their own minds.

Nannyowl Wed 19-Jun-13 12:14:43

Startail I am not saying the old promise was better, I agree hard for a seven year old to understand 'duty to God' if she doesn’t believe in him.
Glad you stuck with brownies. The promise has been changed so that it reflects that it is open to all girls regardless of faith.
I just wonder if it is too complicated for a seven year old to promise?
Should it be simplier?

TurnThatFrownUpsideDown Wed 19-Jun-13 12:22:28

The thing i'm annoyed about is why girls are still expected to swear their love to the queen. If they erased the God part, why not this too?

LippyDiDooDah Wed 19-Jun-13 12:22:31

I'm sure they have been through several options and this one is the best of the lot in their opinion. Most Brownie leaders explain what the promise means and break down all the lines and what they mean so each Brownie knows what they are promising. My DD is a Brownie (8yrs) and did her promise last year so I'm sure this week when she goes they'll have a talk about the new promise and what it means.

We are agnostic but DD is quite a believer so she definitely has independent beliefs to us.

I wouldn't overthink it too much and just explain as and when you need to. I think it's wonderful that they are opening it up to different beliefs as that's what being in a community is all about smile

Startail Wed 19-Jun-13 12:26:26

I actually ended up as Brown Owl grin

Yes the new promise is too complicated. I'd have been happy with the own beliefs bit, but what does true to yourself mean to a 7y.

Honestly, "I promise to be kind, friendly and helpful, at Brownies, at home, at school and in my community"

Would be fine.

OddSockMonster Wed 19-Jun-13 12:36:27

I think if you talk with them about the promise before they make it then it should be clear, though I'm not sure what they'll make of it.

Out of interest, do you know how things stand with aethiest leaders? (am waiting patiently to see what will happen in Scouts, wondering if they'll follow the Guide lead)

eatyourveg Wed 19-Jun-13 12:40:47

To be true to yourself sounds rather selfish to me. My suggestion would be -

I promise that I will do my best,
To do my duty to those around me,
To uphold all that is right and
To keep the brownie guide law.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Wed 19-Jun-13 12:48:03

Wow 30 20 years later that all came back to me without even thinking about it grin

My suggestion would be:

I promise on my honor
To do my best at all times
To serve the Queen and the country
and to keep the Guide law

Just tweaking it a little. No need to completely re-write it.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Wed 19-Jun-13 12:49:13

No I wouldn't expect a 7 year old to understand this fully if they just read it - but I would after a chat or two about it at Brownies, it's not that complicated!

Startail Wed 19-Jun-13 12:56:15

Guiding turns a blind eye to leaders.

I was never asked to renew my promise as an adult and I choose not to remind them.

(I had said it four times, as a Brownie, Guide, Ranger and YL, each time accepting that I was bending the truth, but I lived in a rural area with no alternative organisations to guiding).

Delighted it's changing, do you know if the Rainbow and Guide promises will change too? I didn't think too hard about the words the first time around but remaking my promise as a leader did feel like lying.

Tanith Wed 19-Jun-13 13:15:30

I think they missed an opportunity here to thoroughly modernise it to:

The Promise Rap grin

MirandaWest Wed 19-Jun-13 13:48:39

Rainbow promise is changing too. I had an email this morning saying this:

"The Promise
You may have read in the press today that, following a consultation on our Promise (the pledge your daughter makes to ‘do her best’), we have decided to update the wording. For a long time we had been hearing from members struggling with the Promise, particularly in interpreting what it really means to today’s girls – girls like your daughter as well as all the others out there who could gain so much from joining us.

Nearly 44,000 people – girls and parents, members and potential members – took part in the consultation. Their views have helped us develop an updated Promise, which will make guiding truly open to all and create a space where all girls and women can find a home.

In the new Promise, which will take effect from 1 September 2013, the words ‘to be true to myself and develop my beliefs’ will replace ‘to love my God’, and the words ‘to serve the Queen and my community’ will replace ‘to serve the Queen and my country’.

So the full text of the Promise will be:
I promise that I will do my best:
To be true to myself and develop my beliefs,
To serve the Queen and my community,
To help other people
and
To keep the (Brownie) Guide Law.

And we will still have a special version for Rainbows:

I promise that I will do my best to think about my beliefs and to be kind and helpful.

This exciting step means that we can now open our arms to embrace even more girls, of all faiths and none, and bring them into the guiding family. If your daughter has already made her Promise, there’s no need for her to renew it. And you can be assured that guiding remains a safe place in which your daughter can develop, thrive and explore her beliefs and values.

If you or your daughter would like to know more about the changes, take a look at our FAQs or the youth sites for Rainbows, Brownies or Guides"

My DD is 7 and a Brownie and has had her own thoughts on the existence of any type of God for a while. I think she probably influences others in that repect. She and DS are at a CE school (only one in the village) and there is no brainwashing there from what I can tell.

Madratlady Wed 19-Jun-13 14:04:45

I like it. I'm a Brownie leader and if I have any DDs they will be encouraged to join Rainbows, Brownies and Guides if they want to, but as me and DH are very much not religious the 'God' part never really sat right with me.

I think most 7 year olds could understand the part about being true to themselves and developing their own beliefs if there was some discussion about it with the Brownie group.

MrsStomp Wed 19-Jun-13 14:10:20

I think the change is v positive and my understanding is that there was extensive consultation prior to making the change. By the age of 7 most kids are starting to understand belief systems even if they may not be able to explain what that means.

Both my girls are at Brownies and they felt that they just had to keep their own views to themselves when making their promise (we are an atheist household but have always made it clear to the kids it is their decision as to what they do or don't believe in).

The wording is not perfect, but better than before.

moggle Wed 19-Jun-13 14:17:50

startail you are supposed to renew your promise as an adult in order to get your leadership qualification. In our division at least everyone does it, don't know about others.

Agree it's hard for 7 year olds to understand, but so was the previous wording and particularly what it means "to serve the Queen and my country"... I had a girl ask me, do they have to join the army? And the everpresent idea of being a waitressat Buckingham palace! We just do our best to explain it, that's part of the reason why there are all the promise preparation activities available. They do change a lot over the Brownie age range and something 100% easy for 7 year olds to understand may be too babyish for a 9 year old making her promise.

To me "true to myself" means being true to the things I think are important, and remembering my values all the time, not just when convenient or easy for me. For some people those values will be religious beliefs, for some they will be similar to religious beliefs but without the God figure, etc.

apatchylass Wed 19-Jun-13 14:22:50

'be true to myself and develop my beliefs' is meaningless as a promise of good. You could be Machiavelli or Hannibal Lecter and still honour that part of the promise.
Why can't there be a line that is different depending on faith, as there is for jurors swearing in?

redskyatnight Wed 19-Jun-13 14:31:06

I have a 7 year old who is a brownie. I spent a long time explaining to her what the promise meant. She listened gravely and then told me that I was wrong and it was just the words she had to say so she could get her badge and Brownie Adventure book.

I'm guessing she's not alone in not really understanding the promise as something important to follow at that age (regardless of the wording).

NigellasGuest Wed 19-Jun-13 14:40:17

I'd rather promise to serve God than the Queen!

moggle Wed 19-Jun-13 14:47:57

apatchylass Girlguiding wanted every member within a section to make the same promise, having a variety of different promises was never going to be an option for them.

redskyatnight that's definitely the case for some Brownies but in general they understand some of the promise, if not every single word. They usually understand what "to do my best" and "to help other people" mean and a decent leader should be doing activities periodically that reinforce the different parts of the Promise.
Of course, this isn't just about Brownie aged little girls but also Guides and adult leaders too. There are adults put off membership because of the previous wording of the promise. Of course there are some more precocious / prompted by atheist parents Brownies who at 7 will object for the same reasons too, I've not come across one myself but I know there was a wannabe cub scout in the papers last year who wouldn't say the Scout promise.

moggle Wed 19-Jun-13 14:50:06

I reckon the Queen part may well go in time too, perhaps once the Queen has popped her clogs. The Queen has a long connection to Guiding; I don't think they particularly wanted to offend her, maybe once Charles is King they will ditch that wording. Unless Kate has a girl who ends up being a dedicated Rainbow, Brownie and Guide!
Having said that I think the Countess of Wessex is our Patron now so maybe I'm talking rubbish about dissolving the link to the Royals...

exexpat Wed 19-Jun-13 14:50:08

I'm glad they have taken the god bit out (I was a Brownie, and had decided I didn't believe in god by the age of 7 or 8) but it does sound a bit complicated for that age group.

I think some of the suggested wordings about being kind and helpful would be more appropriate. The 'develop my own beliefs' sounds more appropriate for the Guides - I heard they are also changing their wording, so is it something similar?

I dropped out of Guides after a few months partly because of the religious stuff, and I have never encouraged DD to join Brownies or Guides because of that, so I am very pleased they have now made it accessible to all.

exexpat Wed 19-Jun-13 14:52:54

Moggle - as an atheist Brownie, I guess I must have been precocious, then: I decided pretty early on that I didn't believe in god because I was forced to go to Sunday school and listen to bible stories, but the teachers couldn't give me satisfactory answers to my questions.

schilke Wed 19-Jun-13 14:59:42

I'm not of any religious persuasion. Frequently discuss my lack of any formal beliefs with my girls - one a rainbow and one a brownie. They had no problem with the promise. I told them my God could be anything - a set of values you want to live your life by or a God on a fluffy cloud.

I think it sounds a bit faffy now. The Rainbow one sounds particularly rubbish.

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