We've had some excitement this past week at Maison Forrest. What you might call a teachable moment.
Daring Daughter has been in a Girl Scout troop for the past couple of years, and has enjoyed a variety of fun activities. When she went to the first meeting of the year last Wednesday, she was surprised to learn that the troop had shrunk from eight to five. Three of the girls had decided not to continue. As the meeting progressed, it became clear that the
Daring Daughter may not have yet studied the psychology of Groupthink, but she definitely favors individual rights. We're talking a big free speech advocate here. The cliquishness had previously been evident, but with a smaller group to
I've tried to pass on two good rules to live by, and my daughter applied them in this case.
1. You have to pick your fights. Yes, she could have struggled against this situation, but why bother? There are plenty of opportunities to be with people who are more agreeable and do interesting and worthwhile things.
2. If it's not fun, why do it? These immortal words on a Ben and Jerry's bumper sticker should guide us all. There's lots of fun to be had out there without having to endure meanness.
The upshot is that they won't have Daring Daughter to kick around anymore. She's planning some fun outings with other friends to the zoo, the museum, and a camping trip at the coast in a yurt. She is going to volunteer for the Stream Team, planting trees by creeks to help water quality. And she's started Broadway Musical Theatre for Kids at the local community center.
It's like my Mom always says, everything happens for a reason.
All of this is not to say that groups and peer pressure can't be applied for good. Take me, for example. I'm part of a gang that its founder describes as "an online fitness revolution started by peer pressure from fellow bloggers." Club HASAY (Half as Small as You) is open to any blogger who's trying to achieve a fitness goal. I love the different posts that members write about their efforts, and the encouragement and camaraderie that our posts elicit from each other. My fellow HASAYers emphasize gradual, healthy weight loss through eating better and being more active. That's the kind of groupthink I can support. There's no whispering and pointing, just lots of jokes and teasing, and "you can do it" comments. There are good ideas and motivating tips.
So my report for this month is that I have walked a wee bit outside with a friend, I went to the pool and walked against the current with Professor X, and I've conciously tried not to eat until I'm stuffed. Those may seem like little things, but they're big changes for me. We went up to Seattle last weekend, and ate at Buca di Beppo. In the past, we would have ordered a LOT more food. But I encouraged everyone to be satisfied with less. Super Son and Professor X could have eaten more and burned it off instantly with their mutant metabolisms, but Daring Daughter and I would have been in trouble. I think portions are really key. We can still have great food, but we need to downsize dramatically from our earlier evil ways. Daring Daughter is now old enough to use the community center's treadmill, exercycle, and elliptical machines. So we'll be headed there this afternoon and as many days as possible this fall and winter to work out.
And as we accomplish our fitness goals, if anyone wants to whisper and point at us, it's okay. We'll just assume they're saying "Wow! Look at how those two have shaped up!"