Your Child’s Education Beyond the Classroom
Many parents understand their child’s education does not end at 3 PM Monday through Friday. Education outside the classroom is just as important as the math, English, science and history our children learn inside the classroom. The question now is, “What other type of education is there that is important and crucial to my child’s social, emotional and intellectual development?”
Learning to relate to other people is a very important thing to learn from a young age. Parents try very hard to teach that to their children, but it may not be enough. Schools teach that, but it’s always on the back burner to math, English and other traditional subjects. There needs to be another system that focuses entirely on effectively communicating and relating to your peers.
LEARN TO LOVE YOU
Now that’s an important thing to learn. Really learning beyond, “Love yourself, you are special and there is only one you…” is not something the classroom really has time for. Let’s be honest, we all can’t be great at everything—neither can our kids. It’s important that learn what are they good at and what they are great at. They need to understand what they may struggle in can be improved, and as hard as it is to swallow—what they may learn to do well in, but may never be great. That’s okay!
All our kids come to a place (probably during their pre-teen years) where they can admit, “Hey, I just won’t make it to the Olympics. I am still going to be on the swim team and work hard everyday, but I am going to put more of my focus into exploring science careers in my free time.”
They may also say, “Hey! Science just isn’t for me. I struggle in it, but I will work hard to do my best. I will continue to work on my music, because it makes me feel great, and it is an escape and relief from science when I need it.”
Now, that’s how you grow! No need to force your children to excel in everything. Teach them to be great just by being themselves.
EDUCATION IN GIRL SCOUTING
(…or Boy Scouting!)
Traditional schooling, religious schooling, school sports, outside sports—you name it, I did it. However, the most important institution that built the person I am today taught me more than just how to tie knots so your ship doesn’t float away, (actually, more so our tent doesn’t fly away) or so bears can’t get your food. Although I was taught how to fold, unfold and respect the American flag, and how to take care of everything from a paper cut to a broken leg until professionals arrived—the most important things I learned in Girl Scouts were about myself.
Career Planning: One of the most important things I learned was I really hate science and math. Nearly everything is incorporated in the Girl Scout “curriculum,” and badges, projects and small events on and about STEM and STEM careers confirmed that I did not need to waste time and money chasing a stereotype. That’s right—it’s an Asian stereotype to go into STEM careers. I am glad I didn’t waste hope on that one, and if it wasn’t for the projects, and the women speakers in these careers did I learn to put time and effort towards something I really enjoy.
Many successful women are a product of girl scouting, and return to speak with young women about their success in the professional world and how they got there. They also offer experience, answers and even offer mentorship for many.
Public Speaking: Relating to people one-on-one, and speaking to people one-on-ten-thousand. Not many girls will ever give a public speech to such a large audience. I did. It’s a good thing Girl Scouting gave me the skills and confidence I needed to make that speech. I tell girls one-on-ten-thousand is a hundred times easier than one-on-one. When you’re speaking to ten-thousand people, you don’t see anyone’s faces, and not everyone may be able to see yours. You just speak. However, when it comes to one-on-one speaking—that person is all you see, and you are all they see. You can see their reactions—what they show and what they try not to show. I don’t know about you, but that makes me a little self conscious.
Community: Wherever you live—big city or little town. That place does a lot for you—including helping to build the person whom you are today. (It takes a village to raise a child, anyone?) If you don’t look out for it, who will?
Girl Scouting helps girls explore the community. They learn who’s who in their neighborhoods—whom they can help and who can help them. This community helped build them, and now it is time to give back so that generations after you can have that same or even better opportunities to learn and grow.
You’re Not the Only One in this World: That’s a pretty important lesson to learn. I didn’t see much poverty first-hand growing up where I did. In fact, we had to seek it out. I understood the majority of the world don’t need to actively seek out poverty. I know that’s not how the world works, and that I am lucky enough. Girl Scouts made sure I knew more than just that. I learned to get out of my own little world and help those who were struggling in their own. You meet many different people and learn compassion and empathy and grow up to be someone who is always seeking to help those in need.
Girls learn about the different needs people in different communities have. They learn to understand why people in nearby communities or different parts of the world live the way they do, why they struggle and how we can help.
If there was ever a bubble to live in, it’s Orange County.
ALL IN ALL…
There are many different activities, and institutions outside of traditional schooling to help your child grow. Scouting is just one of them, and a pretty awesome one, if I do say so myself. Girl Scouts (and Boy Scouts!) instill confidence and character, produce life-long learners and build the future leaders of the world.
Kimberly Truong is from Huntington Beach, CA where she works hard to pop that bubble. She is a product of Girl Scouting, a lifetime member and still volunteers as a leader for Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts (ages 14-18) at least 4 hours a week with The Girl Scout Council of Orange County to this day. From a little Brownie Girl Scout, this is her 24th year in Girl Scouting. She still meets with one of her Brownie Girl Scout leaders every week. “These are relationships you build for life, and I hope my Girl Scouts today stick around for another twenty or so years.”
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