I had the opportunity to lead Anaiya’s Girl Scout Troop meeting yesterday. The original goal was something around one of the books I’d written at Dream Village, Where Kids Build Better Tomorrows; but we quickly realized that the meeting fell perfectly on World Thinking Day 2021, with a theme of Peacebuilding.
How would I connect Just Shoes, a story about all the people involved in bringing a simple pair of shoes to life (helping kids realize a simple pair of shoes aren’t so simple)?
It clicked though as I thought more about it. When I wrote Just Shoes I wanted Anaiya to appreciate that everything has a story. And I realized that’s kind of the basis of Peacebuilding.
Taking the time to understand that everyone, everything has a story. And when you invite that story to be told, and when you hear it, you’ve inevitably set the first brick for a peaceful interaction.
That was the narrative arc I tried, inelegantly, to walk the Troop through. We started with defining peace. Than building. We then brought pants and shirts and read the tags about where all their clothes were made. We set up the “everything has a story” vibe.
I then quickly read through Just Shoes.
And tried to bring it together. If your shoes have a story. Imagine what your classmate has? Your sibling? Parent? At a time when they do something that maybe doesn’t make you feel happy.
You can be upset at what they did. That’s fair. But as peacebuilders, at some point, the best way forward is to start by asking them “why”, and then hearing their story.
It’s not just relevant for our kids. It’s a lesson for me as an adult too.
We closed with “Random Act of Kindness” Bingo for the Troop to do at home over the next month; ideally every Troop member gets a new badge when they hit their RAK. One of the highlights of the night? Was having each Troop Member start by doing one of the Bingo actions, which was fun and adorable and heartwarming.
The night ended with my tucking Anaiya in and asking her how she felt about the day. She was hyperactive during the session. All over the place. When I asked her about how she felt she said she was so excited she couldn’t control herself. Not a bad way to close my night.