“Be prepared.” – Baden-Powell, Scouts Motto
Reflecting on my life today and the way I am able to cope with so many seemingly negative things that occur in my life made me wonder where I get my strength, determination and commitment from. And I realise that in most situations, a song, limerick, rhyme or phrase from my youth pops into my brain at just the right time to help me weather the storms and come back stronger. Where did I get this habit from? My younger days…
Brownie Guides taught me the basic principles of selflessness – doing good for others and the community; readying myself for every situation;”busyness” in terms of making things happen, getting things done, and being proactive (the good type of busy); and the importance of doing the right thing above all else.
I am a massive advocate for extracurricular activities for the young, middle-aged and the old. Every person should commit to setting aside time in their lives, away from academia and their career, for a hobby. Hobbies aren’t just for the young. They’re not there simply to pad out your personal statement or CV.
Hobbies develop individuals holistically to enhance their social, cultural and 4D development (mind, body, spirit, soul). For example, as a young child I was involved in a multitude of different sports and activities, including swimming, shooting and flying planes (via ATC), dance and gymnastics. Additionally, at the tender age of 7 I started attending a small girl guides group called ‘Rainbows’. Through the years I advanced from here to Brownies and then Guides. Through all these ventures I learned principles espoused above and many more like them. I also developed relationally, and although I am no longer in contact with many of the friends I made from that time in my life, I loved every single moment of those experiences & I would advocate for every young person to find a hobby (or two or three, four or five ) that they love… and stick at it.
What you learn in your childhood has an incredibly strong influence on your later years. Like any growing structure, to be successful you need a positive, solid foundation.
Thankfully, my foundation included sports and other holistically-developing hobbies that continue to positively impact my life today with principles & skills such as good-manners, helping others, commitment, time-management, teamwork, leadership and perseverance. Even if you didn’t have the opportunity as a child to participate in similar activities, you can still do so today.
How? Join Meetup or a local social club, or your local church, or volunteer at a soup kitchen. Learn a language. Join a professional speakers club like Toastmasters. There you not only improve your public speaking skills, but most importantly your self-confidence and ability to communicate clearly with others – both of which will help you to nurture better relationships, and to create and develop new ones!
Finally, what I love about the clubs I was a part of as a child is this: the words of wisdom stick with me to this day. These are most often in the form of simple songs and limericks, but their truth and authenticity help me to be a better person when it counts. For example:
“Dear Lord Jesus,
Help me to be a good Brownie:
Always busy and bright.
Keep me safe from danger
And help me do things right.
But I recognise the above prayer may not be easily remembered by every reader, so here’s a simpler one I’ll leave you with from the Girl Guide/Scouts community followed by a final thought/challenge:
“LAH LAH LAH”
Translated, it means: “Lend a hand.”
Who will you “lend a hand” to today?