What the Promise Means to Me

Another year, another World Thinking Day, the day where Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world think of each other, and their founders who shared a birthday on 22nd February. Guiding is one of the only normal things in my life that I can still cope with at the moment. It’s somewhere I feel useful and among friends which really helps when I’m struggling.

The Guide Promise for the UK changed 18 months ago after a consultations with members and non members. Personally I prefer the new version as although it has the same underlying themes as the previous one I think it is more inclusive and less confusing.

I promise that I will do my best,
To be true to myself and develop my beliefs,
To serve my Queen and my community,
To help other people and
To keep the Guide law

Although I was brought up Church of England, I’m no longer religious. I still believe in many of the same values, however, and I think the new wording reflects this well. I believe in tolerance and respect for all people, that more fortunate people have a duty to help those less fortunate and that everyone should use their abilities in the best way they can. Many of our young members are of an age where peer pressure becomes a significant factor and learning to be ‘true to myself’ is an important skill. Some call me stubborn, stroppy and blunt but I think this can be a good thing if aimed appropriately (that’s my excuse).

I also think it is important for beliefs to be continually developed as that involves really thinking about what you believe and why. We recently had a debate evening at Guides where they picked a news story that was important to them and explained what they thought about it. It was really interesting to hear their views on things like gun control in America, endangered animals and the new Mr Men film.

Serving the Queen and community can be a difficult concept to explain to the Guides but to me it involves things like participating in elections, donating time or money to charity and taking part in community events. Obviously for me running Guides is a good way to serve the community, but I also try to support independent businesses (especially the ones who produce really pretty yarn), use the local library and recycle where possible. Community replaced country in the promise review and I like that as communities can be any size, from within the Guide unit to the whole world.

Helping other people is one of the easiest things to understand, but not always easy to do. I was brought up to believe that if someone needs help and you’re in a position to give it then that is what you should do. Over the past few years I’ve helped with other Guide units when they were short on adults, given people knitting tips and learnt first aid (thankfully never needed yet). I often wish there was more I could do, or regret having agreed to something, especially lately, but every little helps (sorry, couldn’t resist).

The most important part of the promise, however, is the first line. We can only ever ask people to do their best. Lately I’ve not been able to do a lot of the things I would have liked, or feel I should be able to, due to my mental health issues. I find this incredibly frustrating and it fuels the depression, but I have to remember that as long as I’m trying then that’s what counts. My dad says I’m very trying so at least I’m getting that right.

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