Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Readings Book

Been going through our Guides’ unit ‘readings book’ to sort out the contents for the coming year. Basically moving the ones which have been done too often to the back, weeding out the ones nobody chooses (usually because they are too long and wordy), and putting in some fresh ones. I find that otherwise, you get the same few being read, and since the Guides have heard them too often before, even those who would normally pay attention, switch off. For, despite all the arguments that rage about religion in Guiding, there are a lot of universal themes which we can be encouraging the girls to think about, each from their own starting point – friendship, charity, courage, standing up for beliefs, looking after the environment, setting and pursuing goals, etc.

Ours is an open unit, hence having a book of readings rather than using prayers. They’re stories with a moral, some from books, and a fair number gleaned from the web. There are lots of sites with ‘inspirational stories’, or ‘Scoutmaster’s minute’, (though I sometimes end up doing a bit of weeding and editing, to cut the length and simplify the language.) I feel no guilt about that - Baden-Powell himself said "boredom is not reverence" so I figure what matters is the point of the reading, not complex wording.  Some are prose readings, and some are poems, or even song lyrics.

We have a rota for Patrols to choose the reading, and although some get the giggles, or stumble over half the words, at times they can choose something really relevant, read it well, and you can see that the other Guides have listened, and foudn something in it which gave them food for thought. And getting them to think is, I would suggest, what it’s really all about.

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