Bunny joined the Brownies just before the Summer holidays and was really excited about making her Brownie promise in October.
I was a Brownie myself and am a little saddened that a lot of the old traditions have been lost. There was a lot more structure and formality when I went. We wore full uniform every meeting, we held registration in our sixes and we had to have a small bag with a set list of items in it, every week. For example, a 20p coin in case we needed a phone box, a piece of string in case something needed securing, a safety pin, a hairband, a plaster, etc. Badge ceremonies and promise ceremonies were formal events, where parents attended and we had to skip around the toadstool and re-enact the Brownie story before we made our promise. Badges were always collected from the toadstool, with a salute, whilst our parents watched on proudly. The leaders were named after owls, and the sixes after different types of fairy, so it all coincided with the Brownie story.
Nowadays, it seems nearly all of that has been lost. However, I still wanted to be a part of my daughter’s Brownie journey.
I can’t be a “parent helper” at Bunny’s school, because I have the twins during the day, but in the evening, I have the chance to take a more active role in her interests. And so… I became a Brownie parent helper, with the intention of doing the leadership course and becoming a Brownie leader.
This meant the Brownie pack had to come up with a name for me. The leaders at Bunny’s Brownies are all named after animals. There were some interesting suggestions, but Beaver (the leader) said the children should be considerate and pick a name I wouldn’t be embarrassed to be called in public. (I’m afraid I can’t help but wonder if she knows the slang for beaver?!). Anyway, I didn’t fancy being called rat, guinea pig, dog or cow, so I chose the suggestion of Bluebird.
I am now Bluebird.
Anyway, enough about me…
The day finally came around for Bunny to do her Brownie Promise. She was overexcited and under-rehearsed. Patience is not something that comes easily to Bunny, but her confidence comes in bucket loads. Despite never having rehearsed the steps or what to do with her partner prior to making her promise, she loudly declared she wanted to go first. This always makes me cringe as she doesn’t have the best habit of listening. She rushed through her promise, not entirely sure of what she was doing and made a few mistakes as she refused to watch the other girls first, but she still did it. She recited the promise, but forgot the law. Nevertheless, I was glad I got to witness it and I felt like a very proud Mummy. That was my first baby up there, becoming a fully fledged Brownie. It brought back all the happy memories from my own time at Brownies and I really hope that Bunny has as much fun as I did and takes her promise and the Brownie law as seriously as I did.
The Brownie promise has changed over time too. All references to God have been removed. I don’t really know how to feel about that. I know that in modern society we have to be inclusive, but it’ a shame to alter a tradition that has been around for so many decades.
For me, Brownies instils discipline and routine, as well as an easy outlet for socialising and making new friends. Brownies are meant to always be kind and think of others before themselves, so it’s not the sort of place you ever have to worry about bullying or your child not making friends. She started Brownies not long after turning 7 and she can stay until she is 11 if she chooses.
I’m really looking forward to Bunny receiving her badge book, so we can see which ones she fancies working towards.