Girl Scouts

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Thaibebop
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Re: Girl Scouts

Post by Thaibebop » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:22 pm

baratgab wrote:
Thaibebop wrote:... She has also started asking questions about Christianity before we even brought it up. It disturbed us greatly. So, we know someone has been talking to her about it, we think it might just be her friends, they all go to church on Sunday and talk about. So, we think they have asked her questions or made statements that has her asking questions of us. Right now she doesn't want to tell us who has been talking about it, which makes us think that maybe there is an adult which is somewhere in this. We hope that isn't the case. Believe me, here in Kansas any effort we put up that others would view as an attack or disagreement with Christianity would not go over well. ...
There are a lot of good atheist/scientific sources nowadays. The most prominent atheists, like Dawkins (though, granted, he is from the arrogant ones), basically don't say anything negative about Buddhism, as far as I know. What they try to expose is the theist belief and the surrounding dogmatic attitude, because they see it as a cause of ignorance and social injustice. What is more, intelligent atheists are usually quite keen on the idea of non-violence towards other sentient beings. So I think all in all it could be a good course of action to introduce some peaceful, purely rational atheist materials, if you consider your daughter mature enough.

If you are interested, you can find a lot of full-length lectures from the Dawkins Foundation at their YouTube-page:
http://www.youtube.com/user/richarddawkinsdotnet" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

As an interesting side-note, recently I found a discussion between Richard Dawkins and Peter Singer (prominent philosopher) on the moral status of non-human animals; I think this is a fine example of the good prospects of the current scientific approach:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYYNY2oKVWU" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

By the way, are familiar with Pat Condell's videos on YouTube? :smile: Well, it's not exactly the best example of right speech, from Buddhist perspective, but you may find his videos interesting (he is a vegetarian, and did not mention Buddhism negatively):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjO4duhMRZk" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

All the best :smile:
Thanks for all these links. I am familiar with Dawkins and didn't know the last one. I do prefer Sam Harris's approach to the subject matter as well as Christopher Hichtens.

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Thaibebop
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Re: Girl Scouts

Post by Thaibebop » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:40 pm

Dan74 wrote:Hi Thabebop, :hello:

It's an interesting dilemma and many thoughtful suggestions.

I have a six-year-old and they can sure be very impressionable and quickly pick up things from their peers, including beliefs. On the other hand I don't want to set my children against others who may have different beliefs to us. So while I share stories from the suttas and the Buddha's teachings with him, he knows that most other people (including grandparents) follow different teachings and believe in god and that's OK. I teach him that all religions encourage us to be kind to one another and do good while avoiding doing bad stuff. And that's a good thing so we respect all religions.

That way he doesn't set himself in opposition to others, think he is right and they are wrong, etc. At school they have RE (religious education) which tends to be about god at least so far. I try to ask him critical questions and promote an agnostic attitude but on the other hand, serving god can be translated as doing good, since god is meant to be a force of good after all.

So I'd encourage Buddhist parents who are embedded in Christian cultures to do this "translation work" - after all, it's not like the kids are told to do anything bad, it's just the Christian lingo that's used. Besides I think it's a good idea to be respectful of the dominant religion no matter where we are. This promotes a healthy open attitude rather than hostility.

In any case, Good Luck, thaibebop!!!
Thanks for the post. I have to disagree with you though. Taking on a religion is a choice and all choices can be criticized. This does not mean being uncivil or rude, or attacking, it means criticzing. People are making decisions from how to treat someone to how to vote based off of religious ideas. This means it effects others and thus others have every right to criticize, rationally I might add. The fact they include their religion in my daughters homework is a thought out decision. They know full well how some will view this and that is part of their goal.

So, I don't believe that all religions have some core that is similar to each other. Buddhism can rarely be twisted to justify the violence that the Abrahamic religions have no trouble justifying. I am not teaching my children to hate or to look down on people who choose such beliefs. I am teaching them to see the choices made for what they are, and all sides. People can not live in a free society when such a huge part of how that society works can't be talked about, is off limits because it might hurt poeple's feelings. Yet, these same folks can justify hate speech against those that don't fit their view because it is part of their religion.

Sorry, kind of rambling, hope you see my point. This is a subject I sometimes get worked up over. There are Christians in America working against the peace process in the Middle East because they believe that certain events, which includes a massive war, will bring about the 2nd coming of Jesus. So, these rich and powerful folks spend money buying congressmen to help keep war going in the Middle East, for their religious beliefs. This should be critized from dawn to dusk every chance anyone gets, I don't care that it offends them, their actions, based on their beliefs are killing poeple.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Girl Scouts

Post by Kim OHara » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:48 pm

Thaibebop wrote: Well, my oldest daughter is now seven and asking questions, so I think she can understand alot. ... Right now she doesn't want to tell us who has been talking about it, which makes us think that maybe there is an adult which is somewhere in this. We hope that isn't the case.
Hi, Thaibebop,
Somehow the sentence I have bolded jumped out at me when I saw it again in Baratgab's post. I do sympathise with the pressures on you, but feel I should mention a different possibility for her reluctance: could she be picking up on your negativity about Christianity and be worrying that you will prevent her from seeing her friends if she identifies them as the source?

Metta,

Kim

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Thaibebop
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Re: Girl Scouts

Post by Thaibebop » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:56 pm

RayfieldNeel wrote:The Scouting experience will vary widely, depending on the leader and the group..my own time in the Boy Scouts (30 years ago) involved nothing that was overtly or forcibly religious, and certainly nothing that was paramilitary. Churches tend to be the hosts for Scout troops in my area, and I suppose some churches may be more involved than others.

Parenting and religious beliefs...whew, this can be a topic with a lot of contention. For me, growing up in the Methodist Church, the key factor was my parents. They were Christians, and we attended, but my parents were somewhat open-minded, and never tried to use fear to force a belief down my throat. This, to me, was a much bigger factor than the fact that I was in Boy Scouts, was baptized, went through Methodist Confirmation, etc. All of that happened to me, yet here I sit, years later, more Buddhist than anything else.

Long story short...I'm not sure I'd worry so much about a tiny bit of God indoctrination. If the parenting is done correctly, without fear and hate, and with good example, the kid will find the path that suits them...and that's the goal, right? Not to make little clones of ourselves. Where ever you move, there will be someone around that wants to convince them that their belief system is the best one. Just make sure that the kid has the intellectual tools and open mind to figure things out. :smile:

This is how I'm raising my 2 daughters. My eldest is now to the point where I think she'd detect when we're trying to hold her back from something...and that might intrigue her with it all the more. She's a bright kid..certainly smarter than her old man. :tongue:
I want them to think for themselves> I believe that the subject of religious should be tackled when they are older and can look at the reasons why, how, and all that through a lens of critical analysis, not indoctrination. Indoctrintion does not teach it manipulates. Religion even in small doses it not a subject for 1st graders in a public school. It's underhanded to attempt to introduce it in such a way and I am sure the folks in charge know this, yet place their faith as more important so such underhanded actions are justified. I understand what you are saying, and my wife who is just as upset as me is saying just let it go, it's not a fight we want to take on. However, it's wrong and I feel they will only go further is no one says anything.

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Thaibebop
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Re: Girl Scouts

Post by Thaibebop » Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:09 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Thaibebop wrote: Well, my oldest daughter is now seven and asking questions, so I think she can understand alot. ... Right now she doesn't want to tell us who has been talking about it, which makes us think that maybe there is an adult which is somewhere in this. We hope that isn't the case.
Hi, Thaibebop,
Somehow the sentence I have bolded jumped out at me when I saw it again in Baratgab's post. I do sympathise with the pressures on you, but feel I should mention a different possibility for her reluctance: could she be picking up on your negativity about Christianity and be worrying that you will prevent her from seeing her friends if she identifies them as the source?

Metta,

Kim
Yes, I can see how I can be viewed as hating Christianity. Hate leads to suffering this I know. I do get upset, but it is over what is done. I don't hate the people who believe but I do feel that when their actions effect the lives of others and these actions are based in their faith individuals have every right to speak out, to criticize. Buddhism has taught me separate the action from the person. A person is not bad or evil, the action however can be one that causes suffering and thus should be viewed as a negative.

I want my children to view subjects under as much truth as possible, the pros and the cons of each subject they view. I don't want them being given a view that is fuzzy and warm (so to speak) only to be surprised later. She was also taught recently about the Mexican War (in 1st grade!) and all she was given was that the good Texans wanted to be apart of American so them fought the bad Mexicans to achieve this. They are glorifying war to 1st graders. What about my daughters Mexican friends in class? Did the teacher make a point of telling them they aren't a part of the evil Mexican Empire that held texas down? I use this as an example to show that I am upset at the choices here. I am not teaching my daughter to hate Christians, I am teaching her not to take anything at face view and seek the truth.

notself
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Re: Girl Scouts

Post by notself » Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:21 am

As others have said, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are basically religious and nationalistic in nature. So what. I was a girl scout and it didn't kill me. What you should do is always ask your daughter what she thinks of things. Use the scouts as an opportunity to teach her to accept the rights of others to believe in "whatever" without joining them. It is a good opportunity for you to open clear communication about Buddhism.

Pulling her out of scouts will just delay the inevitable peer pressure she will be subjected to later on in school. She will be pressured to conform to Christianity by her peers and here teachers. America is not a tolerant of differences as we would all like to believe. It is a predominately Christian nation and evangelicals are taught to seek out positions where they can influence and convert others. Scouting is one of many such organizations that they join. Your daughter needs to develop mental protection as soon as she can. Besides, the scouts can teach her a lot of practical things. Why don't you join her troop as a co-leader?

Buy this book and keep the troop on track to qualify for as many badges as possible, besides the cookie badge.

http://www.girlscoutshop.com/GSUSAOnlin ... icked=true" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103

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Thaibebop
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Re: Girl Scouts

Post by Thaibebop » Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:30 am

notself wrote:As others have said, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are basically religious and nationalistic in nature. So what. I was a girl scout and it didn't kill me. What you should do is always ask your daughter what she thinks of things. Use the scouts as an opportunity to teach her to accept the rights of others to believe in "whatever" without joining them. It is a good opportunity for you to open clear communication about Buddhism.

Pulling her out of scouts will just delay the inevitable peer pressure she will be subjected to later on in school. She will be pressured to conform to Christianity by her peers and here teachers. America is not a tolerant of differences as we would all like to believe. It is a predominately Christian nation and evangelicals are taught to seek out positions where they can influence and convert others. Scouting is one of many such organizations that they join. Your daughter needs to develop mental protection as soon as she can. Besides, the scouts can teach her a lot of practical things. Why don't you join her troop as a co-leader?

Buy these two books and keep the troop on track to qualify for as many badges as possible, besides the cookie badge.

http://www.girlscoutshop.com/GSUSAOnlin ... icked=true" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Yes, I understand all you have said, which is why we feel besieged. I am trying to just that, making this a learning experience, however, she does have other intertests so I am thinking why not devote more time to other things she wants to do. Most of the time I attend the meetings, not in a offical capacity but observer. The last meeting I missed. I am finishing up school so time is an issue and other adults are already leading the troop so I am 'not needed'. So, I really think that she will have enough 'learning experiences' from school and doesn't need anymore in her after school acitivies. Thus, I think I will encourge her other interests, like learning the violin and art. She wants to take art classes, that has to be better, right?


By the way, thanks everyone for taking to the time to read and post. It helps us.
:anjali:

notself
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Re: Girl Scouts

Post by notself » Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:34 am

Well, you have your solution. She needs to focus her activities a bit, spending more time with some and dropping others. Happens all the time.

As for the books in school, take her to the library and get books that coordinate with her texts. If she is studying the Alamo, then get her a book about how little Mexican girls live. There are lots and lots of books for children that are specifically aimed at correcting the drivel of American text books. You don't want her to be argumentative or suspicious of school. You want her to be well informed and able to analyze information.

You might as well start watching NOVA right now, because her text books certainly won't cover evolution, the scientific method or any other scientific material.
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103

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Thaibebop
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Re: Girl Scouts

Post by Thaibebop » Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:38 am

notself wrote:Well, you have your solution. She needs to focus her activities a bit, spending more time with some and dropping others. Happens all the time.

As for the books in school, take her to the library and get books that coordinate with her texts. If she is studying the Alamo, then get her a book about how little Mexican girls live. There are lots and lots of books for children that are specifically aimed at correcting the drivel of American text books. You don't want her to be argumentative or suspicious of school. You want her to be well informed and able to analyze information.

You might as well start watching NOVA right now, because her text books certainly won't cover evolution, the scientific method or any other scientific material.
Pretty much. Darwin is a dirty word in Kansas. We covered the Big Bang theory over dinner last night. She really has a sponge like mind and a desire to learn more complex things.

notself
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Re: Girl Scouts

Post by notself » Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:04 am

Thaibebop wrote:
notself wrote:Well, you have your solution. She needs to focus her activities a bit, spending more time with some and dropping others. Happens all the time.

As for the books in school, take her to the library and get books that coordinate with her texts. If she is studying the Alamo, then get her a book about how little Mexican girls live. There are lots and lots of books for children that are specifically aimed at correcting the drivel of American text books. You don't want her to be argumentative or suspicious of school. You want her to be well informed and able to analyze information.

You might as well start watching NOVA right now, because her text books certainly won't cover evolution, the scientific method or any other scientific material.
Pretty much. Darwin is a dirty word in Kansas. We covered the Big Bang theory over dinner last night. She really has a sponge like mind and a desire to learn more complex things.
Kansas is actively teaching Intelligent Design as Science in schools. This is in contradiction of every Supreme Court ruling ever handed down. Kansas is so controlled by fundamentalists that no one dare object. You are most likely going to be doing supplemental teaching. Here is an excellent site. It cost $20 a year to join but the materials are well worth it. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/Home.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Also check to see if the is a GATE program at your school. GATE stands for Gifted and Talented Education.
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103

nschauer
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Re: Girl Scouts

Post by nschauer » Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:13 am

My concern is that being surrounded by Christians she would really be joining a group of Christians who just all happen to be in the Girl Scouts. I know that many meetings and what not take place in churches and such. My wife thinks this would be good for her and she is born and raised in Thailand as a Buddhist so their is no leanings or fear of any kind in her mind. I am still not sure so I was wondering if anyone here has had any experiences with the Girl Scouts that they would be willing to share, good or bad, and advice is welcome.


I tried taking my boys to Boy Scouts and it was the hypocrisy that made me decide against the whole thing. They were preaching one thing and the boys were doing something very different. There was also a lot of gamesmanship about badges that bothered me. The Christianity factor doesn't bother me - but if i were to have told them my ideas - they would have been bothered.

Bottom line - if you want to spend quality time with your daughter doing things - just do it - you don't need a group to do that. She probably would like the friends but she won't necessarily meet people she likes at Girl Scouts - most of the boys in Boy Scouts were - just not the kind of kids my kids liked. I was once told by someone wiser than me - "Find something you both enjoy doing together - something you can keep going for a lifetime." That was good advice.
Nate

PeterB
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Re: Girl Scouts

Post by PeterB » Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:46 pm

baratgab wrote:
PeterB wrote:Those who aquaint themselves with Dr Dawkin's stance on the status of non human beings should also aquaint themselves with his prominent and vigorous role in promoting a new facility for vivisection experiments on Primates , a campaign which was successful and which led to the facility opening last year, and is even as we speak, conducting a range of experiments on a number of Primate species. These include Anthropoid Apes.
That sounds rather strangle, especially that abolishing vivisection is a topic on which, I think, much more people agree than on vegetarianism. :? Do you know some sources that I could review to get some more information? I did a quick search on Google with the keywords "Dawkins vivisection" and "Dawkins animal experiments", but I did not see any directly relevant pages so far.
This is way off topic on this thread baratgab, but there was initially a lot of opposition to the new Primate Lab, and Dawkins led the campaign in support of it, including leading a march through the streets of Oxford which attracted much media attention, he was all over the TV for a day or two.

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Annapurna
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Re: Girl Scouts

Post by Annapurna » Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:32 pm

Thaibebop wrote: See, this is the issue. I would never sign her up for such thing. They approached her at school, she is only in 1st grade, six years old, right. She came home today saying that she really wants to do this. My wife doesn't think it's such a bad idea and said that we should go to this meeting that they are having Tuesday at the school to learn more about it. I have seen too mant Girl Scouts den mothers to even think I like this idea. So I am torn about letting her experience it for herself and maybe saving her from something that might end poorly.

If she wants to do this so much, and her girlfriends and schoolmates do it too, and you won't let her, you're making her an outsider, and that will end poorly for sure!

Thank God -no pun intended- did my parents not alienate me from whatever groups-activities I wanted to join.

And despite myself and my Dad being atheists, I cheerfully hung out with Christians and sang along with them, and I am still that open and hang out with people from all nations and religions and don't have any trouble with any group.

I think that would be a nice goal too for your girl!

TRUST her, like mine trusted me. They never told me what to believe in.

I was told I am free to choose.

Isn't that gorgeous?

And look where I ended up! :anjali:

Best wishes, and let go of fear.

What her karma has in stock is not for you to know. Just offer your thoughts, but don't bend her little neck under any yokes, not even a Buddhist one.

ANYTHING that is forced upon her will be that yoke...
Last edited by Annapurna on Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PeterB
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Re: Girl Scouts

Post by PeterB » Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:38 pm

I agree entirely Anna. I was a Cub and a Scout until I grow bored with it and discovered Rock And Roll. It had little lasting impact on me and did no harm at all.

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Annapurna
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Re: Girl Scouts

Post by Annapurna » Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:44 pm

genkaku wrote: If all your daughter ever learns is to be like you, how will she ever learn how to be herself?
Wow, Genkaku... :bow:

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