Girl Scouting with Anxiety; Cookies are a Problem

Last week my daughter had a break through.

She actually said good morning to her teacher at morning meeting. It’s February and she utterly adores her teacher, but this was still the first time she’s every done more than shrink into herself and vehemently shake her head no.

Then, at her girl scout meeting, she raised her hand and answered a question. This was the first time she has ever done this in a meeting. Ever. In two years. And I’m the leader.

This is the kind of anxiety we’re up against and with Girl Scout cookie season starting today, I already feel defeated. How is a girl who can’t even say good morning to her beloved teacher in front of the class sell 196 boxes of cookies? How can she learn these important lessons in entrepreneurship and

I want to take a minute to say I support cookie sales 100%. Do I hate doing it because I’m not a natural sales person and because I’d rather cuddle under the covers on a Saturday morning than go out in 30 degree weather schlepping cookies door to door? Sure. But I completely recognize the value for not only the troop but also the girl doing the sales. She’s learning about money, she’s setting and striving for goals, etc. I just wish cookie sales would take into consideration that some girls simply can’t do it. That they can set all the goals they want in their meetings, but when they’re out there selling, anxiety keeps them silent and scared, unable to say a single word. Over and over, door to door they feel like they fail. But still they’re supposed to keep on trucking, keep on striving. It’s grit but at what point do we have to put our foot down and say no more. At what point is this harming my child’s psyche?

I wish there were more ways to reward these girls like my daughter. I wish we could give them a patch for just ringing a doorbell, an award for smiling shyly at a customer, a party for not hiding behind me when the door opens. I wish we could get cookie credits every time she puts on her vest and just shows up. For being the girl behind the booth making the tally marks while her fellow girl scouts make the sales (which is what she did last year and thank god the other mom at the booth was completely understanding about it!).  Girl Scouts celebrates all girls, but when it comes to girls with anxiety, I think cookie sales are coming up short.

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