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
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.

Perihelion Wed 19-Jun-13 15:02:19

Better than before. My DD got confused with the Rainbow Promise, Love my God part, because she didn't have a god and didn't want to lie. So I don't think the new wording would be anymore confusing for some. I registered my views online for the consultation, to move away from God and the Queen as I do think the Guiding movement is great, but as an atheist republican found the previous promise a bit old school and divisive.

schilke Wed 19-Jun-13 15:03:31

Never actually answered op's question. I don't think my 7 today dd2 will have a clue what she's agreeing to when she starts Brownies in September. As someone else said, it seems more suitable for a Guide.

Nannyowl Wed 19-Jun-13 15:18:46

Hi schilke thank you for your comment. I was hoping some mums of seven year olds would comment. General comments are nice, but it is easy to forget just what a seven year old understands when children are older or not that old yet.
Also the mum who said her daughter told her it was about remembering the words for the badge. That is my experience of how our younger girls view
My problem is; up to now we have always done the promise a few weeks after they join us. So we have just one week to prepare them. Other activities other weeks. I am thinking of waiting a bit longer before they do the promise now. They wiill still wear uniform and be part of the pack, have other badges.books etc. But we can spend more time on helping them to understand. We do promise games/activities once half term. Girlguiding is open to all, and btw the girls dont have to do the promise to be a member.

moggle Wed 19-Jun-13 15:25:55

exexpat - just want to be clear, I didn't mean "precocious" in any kind of pejorative way (I did try a couple of other words but they sounded worse). I do think a 7 year old thinking about religion and belief systems to that extent is fairly rare (though not unheard of, of course) and advanced compared to their peers so precocious in its proper definition fits I think.

Nannyowl we usually end up having 4-6 weeks before doing the promise, it's nice having a bit of a gap, although where we are girls often come in and out of Guiding without telling you, so it's good to make sure they're definitely in it at least for the short term before buying the promise materials!

The Guide and Brownie promises are the same, but the last line is either "and to keep the Guide Law" or "and to keep the Brownie Guide law". The Brownie and Guide Laws are different. Adults make the Guide promise. The Rainbows have a shorter one line promise (which has also been changed along similar lines as it mentioned God). The Senior Section (16-25) did have an extra line in their Promise, but it was about community, so now that's in the main promise I'm not sure what they'll do.

Startail Wed 19-Jun-13 15:31:03

I never did leadership qualifications, I was a brown Owl 17 years ago, before DDs.

I only had a CRB check for the Scout gang show, hides didn't care.

I had been a young leader, I knew the ropes and they were desperate.

PatPig Wed 19-Jun-13 15:32:38

Aren't most Brownie packs linked to churches and involved in church life?

It seems a bit odd to just unilaterally dump the God bit.

ABirdInTheBush Wed 19-Jun-13 15:34:28

The 'true to myself' bit makes me cringe! It sounds like awful American teenager speak. A 7yr old is unlikely to understand it (and I'm not sure if I really do!) but I am overjoyed that they have taken this step and removed the promise to God - it was complete discrimination.

I made the promise at 7 because I was used to saying religious crap at school and thought nothing of it, but I refused to make the promise at 14 and was turfed out of Guides (this was 20+ yrs ago, it may be different now).

exexpat Wed 19-Jun-13 15:40:09

PatPig - they didn't just unilaterally dump it, there was a huge consultation exercise for people involved in the movement currently or in the past, as well as the general public.

moggle Wed 19-Jun-13 15:44:26

Guiding has never been a religious organisation; most of the media reports have been glossing over this fact / not bothered to research it. Certainly the Baden-Powells were Christian and that certainly influenced the ethos, and that is why God was in the Promise to start with, but there's nothing inherent in Guiding's principles or organisational / internal regulations which is exclusively Christian or indeed religious. There have been non-Christian Guides and Brownies since way way back.

Yes quite a lot of units meet in churches but these days this may be more due to necessity - where else in the community has space available to rent at reasonable cost for groups of that size. Also even if they do meet in a church hall the link between the church and the unit may be very strong (church parades etc) or not there at all. Here in central London perhaps I have a skewed view but religion doesn't even come into my Brownie meetings except if I fancy activities based around a religious festival.

ABird these days if a girl doesn't want to make her promise she can still do all the activities that the others do. I imagine some leaders might make more of a fuss over this than others, but by the letter of the "law" no-one HAS to make the promise. It certainly wouldn't bother me although I'd feel happier about it if the girl (or her parents) could at least attempt to articulate why she doesn't feel comfortable making it, as without the Promise is it any different to any after school club!

PatPig Wed 19-Jun-13 15:45:02

Well yes, but if you are a church that has supported a Brownie pack for 50 years or more, then you might not be very impressed.

The new promise is spectacularly awful. You would have thought that they could have come up with something a bit more community-minded, and WTF does 'develop my beliefs' mean?


Not something my DD will ever sign up to.

PatPig Wed 19-Jun-13 15:46:19

Don't know how it differs from Scouting, but my DS's scout group join church parades several times a year. I wouldn't have thought the brownies were different? confused

Pyrrah Wed 19-Jun-13 15:51:00

Another atheist former-Brownie. I recall keeping my fingers crossed behind my back while making the promise.

I didn't have a problem with church services etc - I sang the hymns and counted the other non-believers during the prayers - but having to make a promise about something I didn't believe in was uncomfortable.

I can see that some people might not be happy about the Queen bit, but she is the Head of State and at least you can actually see that beyond all doubt she exists!

New wording sounds fine to me. I'd probably have kept country rather than community though.

Now let's see if the Scouts can follow suit.

Nannyowl Wed 19-Jun-13 16:00:35

Hi all,
Think my thread has been high jacked here confused was hoping to get mums of seven year olds to tell me if they thought their daughters would understand the new promise.
Not if the change a good idea. The change was made after consultation with over forty thousand people both guiding and non-guiding. I just wanted to know; if as a leader I was wrong to assume that it is a little complicated for our youngest seven year old brownies to understand after just one or two activities. Do I need to factor in more time? I wanted a parent’s perspective.

edam Wed 19-Jun-13 16:01:43

"To be true to myself and develop my beliefs,
To serve the Queen and my community"

is a bit waffle and psycho-babbly - as apatchy said, Hannibal Lecter was true to his beliefs... and what's wrong with promising to serve your country? It's far broader than promising to serve your community, which could be taken as quite a narrow group of people.

Appreciate the removal of God - far better than the Scouts chucking children out for not believing in God.

moggle Wed 19-Jun-13 16:05:57

If the Brownies have links to the church, then yes they'll be involved with parades as I said in my post. But I know of a few packs which meet in a church hall but don't have any other links to the church and aren't involved or asked to do parades. Equally my brownie pack has nothing to do with a church and so doesn't do any church parades. It all depends on the group! No Guide or Brownie should be forced to parade either - non-Christian girls are welcome in groups with church links but may not want to go on church parades, it shouldn't be a problem.

The change in the wording of the promise isn't really going to change what each Brownie or Guide group actually does. No church-linked group is going to stop doing church parades as a direct result of this; or at least if they do they have hugely misunderstood. I hope the leaders of any affected groups will be able to communicate this to their church or religious leaders. Guiding is supporting the leaders with the change pretty well.

moggle Wed 19-Jun-13 16:09:45

Sorry Nannyowl! Didn't mean to hijack your thread.

To get back on topic, I realise I'm not a parent but... I reckon actually 7 year olds won't find the new promise any more complicated than the old one. i.e. they will probably find both equally difficult to understand :-) It's us oldies needing to understand it, before we can explain it to them! I'm really interested to hear my girls' points of view on the new words - I'm hoping to get them to share their opinions of what it means before I give them them my thoughts, or GGUK's opinion.

PatPig Wed 19-Jun-13 16:13:37

"The change was made after consultation with over forty thousand people both guiding and non-guiding."

Hmm, but who did they consult? Or were they a self-selecting sample?

"and what's wrong with promising to serve your country? It's far broader than promising to serve your community, which could be taken as quite a narrow group of people."

Well indeed, it could be seen as almost sinister, e.g., if you consider areas where 'the community' for one person is half the local population, and for another the other half.

moggle Wed 19-Jun-13 16:23:03

Every member (girls and adults) was invited and encouraged to take part, everyone with an email address was sent a link, every parent whose email address is on their database was also sent a link I believe, and anyone visiting the guiding website had a message asking them to fill in the questionnaire. Leaders were encouraged to ask parents not on the database to fill it in. The BBC and several papers ran a story on it when it was running and said everyone was invited.

Any survey is self selecting - you can't force people to fill them in. My personal opinion is that in this situation the views of the people involved in Guiding to some degree, or at least taking an interest, were most important, and they did a good job of getting their opinions (to the point of being annoying). Although any member of the public was able to have have their say, I don't really see why some random person on the street who thinks Brownies are purely a chocolate cake should really have an opinion, it isn't like we are taxpayer funded or anything. A lot of people (particularly in the Telegraph comments) are getting very het up about it although they admit they have never had anything remotely to do with Guiding or Scouting in their life!

Nannyowl Wed 19-Jun-13 16:23:03

Thank you Moggle, yes you are right re understanding before explaining is my problem too. Will be interesting to see what our girls think next week.

They took a survey of over 40000 people, mostly members, and the change follows the majority opinions. It's quite close to Australia's promise change a while back.

I believe the Queen is the Patron of Guides, so unlikely to take her out - as others have said, this may be reconsidered some time in the future.

Personally, I prefer community to country, and don't see it as narrow at all. There are many global communities and Guides is an international organization. Why not connect to that rather than nationalism?

OP - I asked my 6yo DD who will likely take it next year. She seemed to get it though it did take some help (though mostly she was concerned on what "the Brownie Guide law" meant) but that was in the last one. She got it quite quicker than the prayer they do now at Rainbows (at a Catholic church hall, they conclude with a prayer to 'Father, Son, and Holy Spirit which my DD thought was Father, Son, and Husband for weeks and eventually told me about it as she wanted to know why there weren't Mummies, Daughters, or Wifes. We had to discuss that for ages...).

exexpat Wed 19-Jun-13 16:36:09

I took part in the survey after seeing a news report on it.

I'm not connected with the guiding movement now, but I was a Brownie and (briefly) a Guide, and I have a 10yo DD who I deliberately did not enrol in Brownies because of the religious element, although in other ways I'm sure DD would enjoy Guides - she loves outdoorsy activities, making things, doing helpful stuff etc.

I thought it would be useful if I responded, because I am exactly the kind of person the old promise has put off.

moggle Wed 19-Jun-13 16:50:28

Yes you are definitely the kind of person they would want to have heard from.
I think I do have a slight skewed view of Guiding now. I grew up in Brownies and Guides in the 80s and 90s in small prosperous, mainly white towns in the home counties, church-affiliated units, very traditional, with Patrol / Six uniform inspections, dancing into the ring and flag ceremonies every week and church parades every term. My adult experience of Guiding has been hugely different, in Central London with a demographic which can only be described as "mixed" - with regards to race, religion, wealth, health etcetera and we are very laid back and accepting of things that would give my old Brown Owl palpitations!

OddSockMonster Wed 19-Jun-13 17:03:13

PatPig, our Scouts has very little at all to do with church, they're all different. The Scouts (and I think the Guides) are faith orgnisations, not church organisations. There has been a very wide consultation on the Scouting promise too, am hoping they will announce the conclusions soon.

schilke Wed 19-Jun-13 17:24:38

Nannyowl - I have ben thinking more on this subject. My dds go to a c of e school and a lot of the children believe in God even if their parents don't...all the God talk at school I think. So a lot of them do have different beliefs to their parents, although I have noticed it only seems to work one way. I don't know any 7 year olds who don't believe in God when their parents do. My 7 year old dd does not believe and I have always been very open on the subject saying some believe this and others don't etc.. I think I may have been unfair on my dd. She would have some clue, but as she doesn't believe in God, I think she might be confused as to what she might be developing!

I think it's a bit sad that Brownies are saying the words without any thought - I'm not criticising anyone by the way, just saying! I know the leader of our Brownies pack is not religious and the Brownies only have church parade a couple of times a year, but she does spend time discussing the promise with them before they say it. At the moment, they go for 5 or 6 weeks before the promise ceremony. I think the community is pushed more than the God element in our pack.

I think Guiding is great. My older dd is looking forward to joining Guides next year. I'm glad she wants to continue. I know our pack needs more help and I'm tempted, but think I'm too quiet!

Sorry for waffling!

Nannyowl Wed 19-Jun-13 17:25:51

I think it is great that some people no longer feel excluded. We need more adult members to join so we can offer more girl places.

Nannyowl Wed 19-Jun-13 17:38:38

Hi schilke
If you are tempted I would say give it ago. Cannot be too quiet, as we all add different skills. Some of the girls may find you more approachable because of that. There is a lot of planning for events and holidays for example.
Re the 'be true to myself and develop my beliefs' good to hear your seven year old would grasp this. We will probably have some training on presenting this in the right way - I hope. I don't disagree with it, but as a volunteer not teacher it is difficult sometimes to be confident presenting complex subjects. Which is why it takes all sorts of volunteers my other guiders may be better grasping this than me iyswim. btw you can register your interest as an adult on JoinUs.

PromQueenWithin Wed 19-Jun-13 17:39:33

I prefer it. DD recently did her Rainbows promise and as a staunch atheist I hate the fact she was made to promise about God. Much prefer the 'develop my beliefs'

Floggingmolly Wed 19-Jun-13 17:45:00

Brownies was always open to all girls regardless of faith.

EduCated Wed 19-Jun-13 17:47:39

When we discussed the promise consultation I was amazed at how eloquent and outspoken our Guides and and Brownies were, especially sme of the younger ones. As part of it we asked them to write their own versions of the Promise - the new one is very similar to a lot of what they suggested! I think they'll pleased smile

Yes, I think this is a good move, and thought Guide rep on "breakfast" this morning was very good, talking about reasons behind the changes. She mentioned they've been listening to people outside of Guiding as well as within, and I thought of thread we had on here maybe last year about this !

I agree with OP though that they could have taken opportunity to make it even simpler, especially for Brownie age group.
"Help other people" is good. The rest is pretty much lost on many I imagine - though if family talk about their beliefs and values it may mean more.
I'm not even sure about promising to always "do your best" - what does that actually mean ? I think you could promise to do your best in a particular situation maybe, but all the time is asking a lot !!

BrianTheMole Wed 19-Jun-13 17:52:15

I think a seven yr old could understand that. My nearly six yr old could understand that after a little conversation about it.

This atheist Brownie Leader is delighted! :-)

When doing promise prep activities with my girls I always explained "to love my god" as being the most personal part of the promise. My understanding of 'god' is different to yours, is different to hers ...

This new version is much more inclusive. It also makes it clear that Guiding is NOT a faith-based organisation, so we can start to break down that stereotype of church parades.

I wonder what we're going to do about the song though?
^We're Brownie Guides, we're Brownie Guides
We're here to lend a hand.
To love our God and serve our Queen
and help our homes and land.^

I don't think it's any more complicated than the old one, and talking through with seven-year-olds what it means is a good first step to setting them on the path to actually doing it.

I'm very encouraged by this move -- good to see Guiding more progressive than Scouting (well, I suppose it would better to see them both being equally progressive) -- and might give DD1 a bit of a push towards Brownies now.

ReadytoOrderSir, you can just about fit in "To be true to ourselves and serve our Queen" if you sing it quickly...

mrsjay Wed 19-Jun-13 20:01:23

dd is a guide so a wee bit older we got the new promise yesterday she quite likes it and i think it is inclusive who ever said about the queen the queen is Patron of the guiding movement in britain so well they need to say the qeenie bit

Dontlookattheknees Wed 19-Jun-13 20:59:01

It god that and inclusive organisation finally has a promise that reflects that.
I'm also pleased that I don't have to lie anymore when I say it (as an atheist little owl)

I would have liked the queen bit gone but don't think there is a big republican vote in GG smile

Dozer Wed 19-Jun-13 21:43:16

I didn't like the Queen or God part aged 7/8 but said it all as wanted to do the brownie salute!

Think the whole promise should be optional, as long as the children behave etc.

Dozer Wed 19-Jun-13 21:44:21

Don't know don'tlookattheknees, there may be a large number of republican brownies!

noddyboulder Wed 19-Jun-13 21:45:51

Ds was thrown out of cubs as he dared to question swearing to love God. He was 6, and knows we don't believe, but that he can choose what he wants to think when he is old enough. The cub leader went nuts, the silly cow. I hope they change their rules too, as I will then take her round a big slice of humble pie.

1 Corinthians, 7 12-14

12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

If it applies to marriage, you'd think she'd tolerate the presence of small children of undecided faith, wouldn't you?

Livelifenow Wed 19-Jun-13 22:08:17

They took God out of school and look what has happened. Poor behaviour, no values etc. I suspect this will be another downhill slope. They may as well change the whole thing and remove the name Brownie and create a new club.

phantomnamechanger Wed 19-Jun-13 22:09:36

Rainbow guider here - i think its great to remove the God part and thats as a christian myself. I have always said that if a child from a non religious or non christian background wanted to join my unit I would let them promise "to do my best to be loving and kind and helpful" - and ignore the God bit - so shoot me! They sign up for the fun and crafts, not to pledge themselves to a religion!

But I also think the new words mean NOTHING to a 5 yr old.
A better version would have been "I promise that i will do my best to be kind and helpful and respect other people and our world" now THAT they would understand - and it is still holding on to a the idea of being upright caring citizens etc.

I am depressed by the embarrassing crapness of our new promise, I really am sad

exexpat Wed 19-Jun-13 22:15:10

'They took the god out of school' - which country are you talking about? Christian worship is still compulsory in British state schools.
And in any case it is perfectly possible to be a good, moral, charitable, law-abiding etc person without being religious.

Livelifenow Wed 19-Jun-13 22:33:15

Good, moral, law abiding, charitable; I think you'll find they are all coming from God, ultimately.

exexpat Wed 19-Jun-13 22:45:14

Livelifenow - please don't try to impose your religious beliefs on others.

LastTangoInDevonshire Wed 19-Jun-13 22:59:03

Livelifenow is entitled to say her piece as much as the atheists on this thread who are whooping for joy, and making sure that their 6 year old children question God.

Livelifenow Wed 19-Jun-13 22:59:20

Would never impose my views. Just like you are entitled to express your views I am entitled to express mine.

Housemum Wed 19-Jun-13 23:03:15

i think the new promise seems a bit waffly - agree with others who say it should be about helping others. "Be true to myself" sounds like some bulls**t from a makeup commercial!

Personally I had no trouble with the reference to "my God" as could see how it related to other faiths, but can understand that it excluded atheists (or presumably those who believe in many gods) so it needed to change if you are asking girls to make a promise. Which is not the same as schools having a "broadly Christian" assembly - no Muslim/Hindu/Jew/Sikh/atheist/whoever is being asked to promise to believe there, they are just expected to listen to the school assembly and respect that particular belief.

exexpat Wed 19-Jun-13 23:03:45

In that case perhaps you could have said that you think those values ultimately come from god, rather than saying that I would find that?

I have been an atheist since the age of 7 or 8 (without any prompting from anyone else, purely from questioning what I was being taught in Sunday school) and I do not find anything of the sort.

loubielou31 Wed 19-Jun-13 23:16:26

I don't think I know what "being true to myself" means, I have no idea how I would explain it to my DD when she comes to make her Brownie promise, (she's a Rainbow now)
Is there going to be some guidance for Guiders to help you with this?
Not being afraid to stand up for yourself? Celebrating our differences and our achievements?

Actually now I'm giving it proper consideration I have no idea what that means. It is just a nonsense imo.

The my beliefs bit is easier because there is are already plenty of recognised beliefs to draw on as examples.

Good luck

PatPig Wed 19-Jun-13 23:41:22

How did they come up with such a shitty pledge?

They could have gone with 'love and support others' or something, but no it's vacuous crap about being true to myself.

ThisIsMummyPig Wed 19-Jun-13 23:41:52

I am a guide leader. For her Leadership Qualification my YL did an evening of promises from around the world, and then asked our girls to come up with their own promise. I think they would be fairly happy with this.

Personally I don't like the community bit. I think it is far more introspective than country. Communities tend (ime) to be based around schools, faith groups, and in some areas employers. The people from the next village, or the other area of town may not be part of your community, but yet it can be so rewarding to reach out to them.

I don't believe in God. I always told my girls that the promise is 'to love my God', so if they think that their god is the god of consumerism, and can be worshiped at the local shopping centre, that's fine by me. I also tended to waffle on about most people believing in something, mother nature, fate, their star signs etc.

Sorry Nannyowl, I don't have a clue about 7yos.

They came up with it by giving people options and taking the ones that most people who chose to respond gave.

I find the community debate interesting - as I've said, Girl Guides is basically an international community organization. Communities can be any size. I would rather my DDs think of the global community and choose their communities than country which makes me think of nationalism .

I think in this context being true to yourself means being true to your principals. Do the right thing, even when it's not the easy thing, don't follow the herd etc. Don't sell yourself short; act in a way you can be proud of, whatever that means for you.

CheerfulYank Thu 20-Jun-13 03:28:36

I don't have a 7 year old DD, but I think I would have understood it to some degree at 7. And I did have independent beliefs at that age as well, I have always been quite Goddy and my parents and brother are not. (Parents are vaguely "spiritual", brother atheist, me a regular church-goer. smile )

My DD aged 6.5 is a believer whilst I am not. She had no problem Witt the old promise but equally I expect her to have no problem thinking about the new one. I think that there is a need for a few activities over a couple of weeks to discuss what it means.

I am a Guide leader myself and I am really pleased with the change.

For me, the promise is not supposed to be easy. It is a solemn promise and I ask my girls and any one else there to think about their promise when we do enrolments. I am due a long service award soon and I will renew my promise with the new one grin

Nannyowl Thu 20-Jun-13 08:02:01

Thank you everyone for your comments, have lots of ideas of how to present it to the girls now.

Punkatheart Thu 20-Jun-13 10:05:38

Good luck, Nanny. You sound like a great and thoughtful guider. I started another thread on the new promise - but this one is a lot more gentle and considered.

Brownies always showed me how thoughtful they were.

'Global community' is spot on! I like that.

Pollaidh Thu 20-Jun-13 10:55:58

I am very pleased by the change. I was both atheist and vegetarian by the age you mention, and decided not to continue Brownies or go on to Guides due to the 'god' promise.

When the law was updated to make it more 'inclusive' a few years ago I was horrified that it still discriminated against atheists and agnostics. It was as though atheist beliefs (and non-beliefs can be as strong as beliefs) were completely ignored or invisible.

My child has atheist and RC parents, and we have spoken to nursery about how religion is addressed (again atheism was forgotten). Even our 3 year old knows that people have different beliefs, and respects them.

I am sure some discussion around what the new wording means would help children to understand if they don't already.

What a load of trite, wishy-washy, meaningless nonsense. I was really pleased when I heard they were changing the pledge. Dd made her Brownie promise recently and doesn't believe in God. She was given the choice of missing out the 'God bit', which she did. I told her about the new one and she said 'what on earth does that mean?!'. I agree!

Emilythornesbff Sat 29-Jun-13 05:52:07

"develop my beliefs"? do they not see contrived that sounds? It's a bit cringeworthy.
And I have come to loathe the word "community"
Another area of life that IMO has been unnecessarily messed with.

So at guides are they planning to include "ensure I make space for me time"
Sorry, not helpful.

I agree that it's a little introspective / complex for a 7 year old but I imagine they'd get the gist of it.
Maybe they should just promise not to drop litter.
That would be enough.

Emilythornesbff Sat 29-Jun-13 05:53:11

holmessweetholmes well put. grin

Emilythornesbff Sat 29-Jun-13 05:55:41

I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to God.
To serve the queen and help other people and keep the Brownie Guide law.

But I can't remember to buy kitchen roll.

nooka Sat 29-Jun-13 06:29:46

My dd joined Guides in Canada when we moved, and like their pledge (better than the new English one to be honest)

I promise to do my best, to be true to myself, my beliefs, and Canada.
I will take action for a better world and respect the Guiding Law.

The be true to yourself bit is something they spend a fair bit of time talking about very much as Rea said and it really focuses on not following the crowd, being a strong role model and growing up as a girl. I like the action for a better world too. Canada has quite a positive type of patriotism, so I was OK with that, it certainly seems more menaingful than pledging to the Queen.

They spent a few years preparing for the pledge, I think it was at the end of their first term, and it was a big deal for dd. She was 9. They use the same pledge for Brownies and I think it's fairly understandable with a little bit of prep. the Sparks (Rainbows in the UK I think) just say "I promise to share and be a friend.

WouldBeHarrietVane Sat 29-Jun-13 06:43:12

I like the new promise.

trice Sat 29-Jun-13 07:41:05

I am glad they dropped the god bit. The prose is terrible though. Very dumbed down. I think the guides at least should come up with their own promise, that is the only way it could be meaningful.

We do the promise in the second week of term and never refer to it again. I am far more interested in providing positive role models and encouraging adventure. As a feminist I find too much emphasis in being good and helpful a bit squashing. I think guiding is about having access to lots of new experiences, having confidence that girls together can make a difference, and doing crafts with chocolate! It is interesting that on this thread we have yet to hear from a religious guider.

I imagine 7 year olds will put more thought into it. My 7 yr old is very careful and serious when she thinks about beliefs and right and wrong.

pussycatwillum Sat 29-Jun-13 14:44:19

"to be true to myself and develop my own beliefs"?
What does that mean exactly. My mother said, rather tartly, well you could say that of Hitler. (She's an ex Guide Captain).

EduCated Sat 29-Jun-13 16:00:54

I hate all this 'you could say that of Hitler' stuff being bandied about. You could also say it of Florence Nightingale, Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Emmeline Pankhurst, Rosa Parks etc. Do people really presume that 7 yo girls have particularly fascist tendencies?

Also, the promise has always been linked to the laws:

A Guide is honest, reliable and can be trusted.
A Guide is helpful and uses her time and abilities wisely.
A Guide faces challenge and learns from her experiences.
A Guide is a good friend and a sister to all Guides.
A Guide is polite and considerate.
A Guide respects all living things and takes care of the world around her.

The laws have always said a lot more about how you should act. Being true to yourself in conjunction with promising to keep the laws is far less dangerous than a belief that everyone should swear allegiance to a religion, whether or not they believe in it.

And before anyone says 'if you don't like it, don't join', the Guides have always been open to all, even during a time when that was actually quite controversial. Unfortunately, the Promise never matched that, partly because it was written during a time when it would be unusual to be open about being non-religious. S we had an organisation with a Promise that didn't match its ethos, this change is simply a long-overdue solution to that.

Pixel Sat 29-Jun-13 17:44:56

*I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to God.
To serve the queen and help other people and keep the Brownie Guide law.* Emily, that's the one I remember too. The 'country' bit must have been added in since. The old promise was all about helping others and duty, the new one is all about me, me, me and trendy waffle. Not keen.

They took the god out of school' - which country are you talking about? Christian worship is still compulsory in British state schools.

Are you serious? Dd has been through the state school system (she's doing A levels now) and I was surprised to discover recently that she has never even heard The Lord's prayer. There has never been any religious content to assemblies, not even singing All things Bright and Beautiful, so what form is this Christian Worship taking?

Pixel Sat 29-Jun-13 18:29:32

All those who object to 'serving the Queen', don't forget she promised to serve us too, and I think she's more than lived up to her side of it.

pussycatwillum Sun 30-Jun-13 09:32:07

Pixel worship has to be broadly Christian in character, which is so vague that schools interpret it in their own way.

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