A Training School For Womanhood – 1918

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Call me crazy but I enjoy reading books and stories written years and years ago. Why? Because I believe they tell us of the perceptions and expectations society had regarding women. These stories were the ones our great-great grandmothers, great-grandmothers, grandmothers and mothers read and heard - and, these were the generations that help to influence how girls and women are perceived today.

I find history fascinating!

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Kate Douglas Wiggins (1853-1923) was a well-educated children’s author and American educator.

Here is an excerpt from an article Kate Douglas Wiggins wrote in 1918 for the Girl Scouts of America entitled “A Training School for Womanhood.” Enjoy . . .

The very words “A lone scout” suggested a story to me that I have never written, but wish that these words might reach the eye of a girl who would like to practise the scout virtues, even if she cannot belong to the great band.

It is hard, without the companionship and inspiration of a large friendly company, to follow a secret ideal and an imaginary leader, to be a lone scout yet to be working with thousands of unknown little sisters.

All the while that the “lone scout” is learning to be a woman-true, brave, busy, thrifty, cheerful, she can say to herself: “To help a little is to do the work of the world.”   That is the real slogan of the Girl Scouts since for the most part they do little duties, assume small responsibilities, carry the lighter burdens.

Above all, they learn to “Carry on!” doing a woman’s work in a woman’s way, doing small things that women have always done as well as the new things that have opened to women, either by their own pluck or because men have at least given women a chance, and doing them patiently, self-forgettingly, with the old-fashioned touch of a woman’s hand.

The world isn’t in need of women who are duplicates of men. A girl should try to be the best scout in the world, if it is in her to go so far, but she must remember that after all she is a Girl, not a Boy Scout.

Copyright © 2009 Sharon Michaels – All Rights Reserved

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