Thank you for being so kind and warm to my little girl as she walked around in the freezing cold selling Girl Scout cookies at your door. I know a lot of girls no longer sell that way, but her dad and I feel it is important for her to get that experience. I appreciate you rewarding her efforts, even when you had already purchased cookies from a different Scout. I’m sure you could tell by her face and voice she was nervous, but what you couldn’t see under her winter coat and Brownie shirt was a little heart beating hard and fast.
It may have looked like she wasn’t putting in that much effort with her dad pulling the wagon full of cookies, her brother working as her runner, and me helping her ring doorbells and greet people. I just wanted you to know we weren’t there so she could take it easy, we were there to show her that family shows up for each other and that we will always be her people.
You see, my little girl has anxiety and ringing door bells and talking to strangers is terrifying for her. She has the heart of a lion and I’ve seen her demonstrate courage in remarkable ways. But everyday things like going to school or selling cookies is difficult for her. A lot of people think anxiety and courage are mutually exclusive, I assure you they are not. Yes she was scared, but courage is showing up and doing it anyway.
Thank you for being willing to pause your movie and leave the cozy spot on the couch, to get up from the dinner table, to fetch five dollars from the bottom of your purse, to wrangle your toddler and wrestle with the baby gate to answer the door when you weren’t expecting anyone. Selling Girl Scout cookies is about teaching girls to use their voices, something I am passionate about. It is about building confidence and character. I know that is a lot to ask of a cookie.
Empowering girls is a hot topic these days and I see tens of thousands of people discussing and fretting and trying to figure it out. Often times the most difficult questions have the simplest of answers. It isn’t the cookies that make a difference for these girls. They aren’t absorbing power from those Thin Mints they deal out. They are soaking up the pride and self-confidence gained from the connection made with each customer. Sometimes, empowering a girl is as simple as answering your doorbell. It is by acting like a community, showing our girls what they care about and what they have to say is important, that we build them up.
Days like yesterday are my daughter’s Everest. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for helping her climb.
Melissa Atkins Wardy is a speaker, media consultant, and the author of “Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween”. She is the creator and owner of Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies, a company that has been offering empowering apparel and gifts to Full of Awesome kids since 2009 www.pigtailpals.com.