What do you all think about this?! (girl scouts) - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 23 Old 01-19-2004, 08:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've got to talk about somethng going on with my daughter"s girl scout troop. Allison, 9, came home from scouts last week and said that they were going to have a "Lord of the Rings" lock down, which is a sleepover at the school where they'll watch the two l.o.t.r videos, and then the next day go see the one that's in the theaters. I was floored, and thought for sure she had her facts twisted,like maybe they were going to read the books or something. So I called the troop leader, and asked her to tell me about the sleepover and she indeed confirmed everything my daughter had said. So, I was like, well are you aware that those movies are all pg13 and that the girls in the troop are all ages 8-12??!! And she got flustered and said it was the other leaders idea. I then asked what in the world this had to do with scouting, and she said that they were getting a badge that had to do with studying a different region of the world because the movies were made in New Zealand? the netherlands? (I forget).

I told her that Allison isn't allowed to watch pg13 movies at home, and so I'm not going to let her go,and she said that was my choice and then abruptly ended the conversation.

So.... am I overreacting? Underreacting? My daughter understands my concern, but as we are new here, she is not happy at the thought of me making a big stink about this. The troop leader's daughter is in Allison's class, and Allison is trying hard to fit in. Also, the troop is going to Savanahh by train this summer, and I told her there was nooooo way I could let her go with them now that I can't really trust their judgement. I told my daughter that she could finish selling cookies, as she has already started, and then we are pulling her out and hopefully finding a better troop.

So help me out here! I really don't know if I'm doing the right thing or not...:

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#2 of 23 Old 01-19-2004, 10:19 AM
 
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That is unbelievable! Do the leaders have any idea how violent those movies are? They're incredibly violent and gory with lots of explicit violence.

I loved the movies, and I have loved the books and have re-read them frequently since I first read them at 7. But there is a difference between violence in books and violence in movies, and the books are not graphically, explicitly violent. I think it would have given me nightmares for weeks, if not years, to see these movies at age 9.

And this thing about studying other cultures is bogus. This is a fictitious world, for crying out loud! It isn't set in New Zealand, it's set in Middle Earth! If they want to study New Zealand through film, they should rent Whale Rider, which is a wonderful multiple-award-winning movie about Maori culture and is very feminist to boot. And isn't that what Girl Scouts is supposed to be about??? empowering girls? The female roles in LOTR are a joke.

See http://www.whaleriderthemovie.com/

I don't think you're overreacting at all. What's next, watching WWF wrestling matches to learn about self-defense? :

I would contact other parents and the other troop leaders. I wonder if they have seen these movies or have any idea what they're letting themselves in for.

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#3 of 23 Old 01-19-2004, 06:43 PM
 
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I saw all three of the LOTR movies and they are extemely violent. They're great movies, and I would be happy to let my teenager watch them, maybe even a mature 11 or 12 year old. But not an 8-10 year old. I don't think that you're overreacting.

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#4 of 23 Old 01-19-2004, 06:54 PM
 
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You are not overreacting at all!

Our friends let their 10 yo ds watch the Fellowship at home, not on the big screen. He is pretty mature and a short way into it he told his parents he just wasn't ready for it yet.

Definitely not images you want in your child's psyche...
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#5 of 23 Old 01-19-2004, 07:01 PM
 
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I don't think you're overreacting, but I think you may want to tone it down a bit for your daughter's sake. True, she doesn't need to play w/girls who have drastically diff. family values. But, it's always good to keep peace w/classmates' families, esp in a small school or community. It's such a judgement call. NO WAY my kids would see those movies, but to some parents...so what?

Good luck
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#6 of 23 Old 01-19-2004, 07:04 PM
 
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Not overreacting at all. Are they even allowed to do this? Does the main GS office know about this? I would check that out and find your daughter a better troop, or think about putting a troop together yourself or becoming a co leader of another group
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#7 of 23 Old 01-19-2004, 07:17 PM
 
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I do not think you are overreacting. Sounds like you handled the phone call well. My dd is a first year Brownie and what I am learning is that troops vary considerably with the leaders. Also, my dd, who is homeschooled, is 8, but we report to the school district for second grade, so she has the option of staying in Brownies one more year before moving to junior GS. I am thinking we may well do that.

How is your dd feeling now? It is hard to not let her do something with her troop, but this seems pretty clear cut, for your family. Good luck!

~Joan, Happy mom to 2 beautiful kiddos, one new puppy and 2 lovely felines
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#8 of 23 Old 01-19-2004, 10:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the encouragment. I am still going to pull her out, and I would like to call the main office and let them know. I am worried about it causing trouble for her at school though. I am also contemplating writing a letter just to the two leaders explaining my issues and why she will no longer be in that troop. It's a fine line between standing up for what I feel is right and keeping peace for my daughter, who is longing for some friends... this makes the baby days seem so easy!:

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#9 of 23 Old 01-19-2004, 11:02 PM
 
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#10 of 23 Old 01-20-2004, 02:36 AM
 
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My mother and I got together, and colead a GS troop just so my girls and my neices could avoid the problems you're talking about. As a coleader I think it is inappropriate and also think the local Council would think it is inappropriate. Most activities like this have to be approved by the local governing council and I doubt that this one was. What does watching LOTR movies have to do with studying New Zealand? Nothing. World Thinking Day is coming up soon and is a wonderful way for our girls to learn about other countries and cultures. The local troops get together and share food, toys and language/customs from the country the council assigns them. Your leaders have missed the point about what the girls are supposed to get from this activity. We aren't supposed to learn about Hollywood glam or and the make believe world of movies, or violence but quit the opposite.... how different and alike all girls around the world are, how to appreciate other people's ways of doing things and even adopting the things we love about other cultures! There are GS Guides (as they are called in most other countries) all over the world! WE are a world association!

Form Your Own Troop!!!! GS values are actually very DEAR!

The GS Law: I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resourses wisely, make this world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout!

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#11 of 23 Old 01-20-2004, 03:14 AM
 
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Amazing. Have these leaders themselves seen the movies?

Personally ... I read the books 20-plus years ago, fanatically reread them every so often through the years ... and still could not sit through the entire movie (the first; never even tried the second). Was too freaked out by the visuals. Much scarier than anything my own mind conjured up in reading the books ...

And this from someone who has two original edition HP Lovecraft books, mind you.




It's hard with the peer pressure, though. She might get really really really mad at you, mightn't she.



The leaders have put you in a very difficult position here. Have you spoken to the other leader yet? Would they be willing to discuss changing the movie?
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#12 of 23 Old 01-20-2004, 08:12 AM
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There was a mother in another forum bragging a bit about her daughter being 4 and knowing the whole story of the first LOTR (that she saw when she was 2).

I'm not sure about violence on movies, but if my kid really wanted to see a movie I would watch it with him.

I don't think that taking the blood away to rate a movie universal (like they do in disney movies) is realistic. If you stab an animal or a person, they bleed, right?
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#13 of 23 Old 01-20-2004, 07:15 PM
 
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that is just wrong...I mean what if they wanted to show r-rated movies to high school kids....I would call the head of the operation and say you don't think your daughter should have to miss an exciting event because some troop leader picked the wrong movie...I wonder how the other troop moms feel..surely they don't want their girls watching it....good luck..I'd call the office too...its wrong to make parental judgements about other peoples kids. You can be sure the office wil get call after they show the movies...moms complaining about nightmares..those LOTR movies are violent! Let us know how it turns out.

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#14 of 23 Old 01-21-2004, 08:01 PM
 
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You are right that these movies are inappropriate for kids under 13 unless their parents have made an informed decision for their individual kids. I think it is a particularly bad choice to show them at a slumber party, where kids won't be able to seek reassurance from their parents if they're afraid, AND to show them back-to-back so that there's peer pressure to watch all of them even if you're scared!

You're also right that these movies have no connection to New Zealand except the scenery, and thus they should not fill any requirement for an international badge! :

I think it is a good idea to keep Allison home from this event. However, I think pulling her from the troop is drastic if this is the only time the leaders have shown poor judgment. I would stick with the troop and get more involved. For example, you could find a movie that includes some actual information about New Zealand (like the one Quirky suggested) and tell the leaders about it; you could even host a slumber party at your house (if the troop isn't huge) to watch it. You could let Allison go on the trip to Savannah if you go as a chaperone.

Finding a different troop or starting your own is a decent idea, but it may not be very effective, depending on how Girl Scouts operate in your area. In some places, every troop includes girls from several grades and schools, and girls who are in the same class might belong to several different troops...but in other places, each troop is "THE fourth-grade troop for Central School" and it can be difficult to fit in with another troop or to attract enough girls for a new troop.

Riotkrrn has a good point about not wrecking Allison's social life by being the overbearing mom who seems to disapprove of everything. OTOH, it's important not to violate your values and disregard your judgment about Allison's needs just to avoid embarrassing her. I think you and Allison should talk about how to compromise on this issue.

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#15 of 23 Old 01-21-2004, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the additional support everyone. The leaders did do two other things since she joined that raised my eyebrows- first, they gave her a recipe from a different country to bring to a potluck type meeting where each girl brought a food from a specific area. Her recipe had vodka in it, which didn't offend me, cause we occasionally enjoy, but it seemed odd. The other thing was a halloween party they did "survival" style, and the girls had to do bizarre things like bob for onions instead of apples, in vinegar instead of water. the girls that could do it won some troop funds for this summer trip.... so i have had my doubts here. this is kinda like the straw that broke the camels back, kwim? And I should add that Allison wants to quit- in fact she's mad that i'm making her fufill her commitment to finish out the cookie sale.

About starting another troop- I wish i could but I am starting school and trying to open up a new lll group, so no more room in my schedule right now. thanks so much for the imput, it is good to hear what everyone thinks!

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#16 of 23 Old 01-21-2004, 09:16 PM
 
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I totally understand Heather, that is very bizarre and unfortunate. You are a good Mama under stress!

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#17 of 23 Old 01-22-2004, 01:39 AM
 
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Ok I didn't read most of the replies because I am just floored. Since when does seeing 3 Hollywood movies substitute for actually learning about another country???? What ever happened to reading about them, sampling the food, making some native crafts???

That isn't even the worst part. Something like that should NEVER have been planned without first consulting the parents. I myself as a former girl scout and the friend of a troop leader would call the head office about that. That is just plain and simple wrong. There is a reason that they put ratings on movies and these leaders were obviously not thinking when they planned this. I bet most of the parents have no idea what the movies are even about???

I think you handled the call great. I think you might call some of the other mothers in the troop and find out how they feel about it. But I myself would def call the district office and complain.

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#18 of 23 Old 01-22-2004, 05:15 PM
 
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I don't understand their reasoning either. The only thing those movies have to do with New Zealand is that they were shot there, which means you get to see what Parts of the countryside look like. That teaches next to Nothing about the country and nothing about its culture.

We have let our DD watch the movies, but I took her out during the first one when things got intense. She's since enjoyed both it and the second one on DVD, which being on our TV means it's smaller scale and less overwhelming. She's also free to play elsewhere in the house if she wishes.

But I would never just assume that other families would feel these movies were right for their own kids. This kind of decision needs parental input!

"What will you do once you know?"
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#19 of 23 Old 01-24-2004, 01:23 AM
 
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I think you handled the whole situation very well.

I'd probably be tempted to just try something new altogether ... like Campfire or Earth Scouts or 4H.

That bobbing in vinegar thing is more than a little disturbing to me. It seems abusive. After you shared this, I began to wonder if maybe serious thought might be given to taking this a bit further. I know you were advised otherwise, which I can completely understand too. It just sounds like hazing and like there's a power trip between the adults and the kids.

I would encourage you to ALWAYS trust your instincts. You sound very wise -- especially about putting the kabosh on that train trip.

Also, it's not easy to stand up and confront. I congratulate you for being so mature and articulate.

The other kids are going to know that your daughter's mother stood up for her. They may enjoy the controversy for a bit, but
quickly, it'll be something new.

It's not worth fitting in if the cost is a violated childhood.
Also, if the door closes on some girls in the class for your daughter, that always means that another door opens. This is often how new, and maybe even better, friends are made.

I would guess that your daughter will remember this when she's grown and be very proud of you.

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#20 of 23 Old 01-27-2004, 10:48 AM
 
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Beyond the content of the movies, I worry about the immersion in the movie’s theme over a sub 24-hour period, only compounded by the group dynamics and peer pressure of watching the movies as a troop. Add some serious sleep deprivation and I think you have the ingredients for some serious nightmares and reality issues.

It might just be me, but watching three violent movies in a row at a young age is the same as taking drugs. I cannot imagine that those young girls will emerge from the experience as better people.

Just my $0.02.

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#21 of 23 Old 01-27-2004, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the additional support. i am still kind of on the fence as to how far I should take this, but I do know she's not going anymore.

Teastaigh, can you tell me more about campfire or earth scouts? I do know what 4h is,and that sounds like a good idea. Thanks!

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#22 of 23 Old 01-27-2004, 07:50 PM
 
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the girls had to do bizarre things like bob for onions instead of apples, in vinegar instead of water. the girls that could do it won some troop funds for this summer trip....
In addition to the total inappropriateness of even suggesting that children stick their faces into a tub of vinegar, this activity violates Girl Scout policy!! Troop funds are to be shared by the entire troop. The only exception is that girls who do not participate in a fundraiser do not get to do activities financed by that fundraiser unless they pay their own way; because the bobbing was not the fundraiser, that rule doesn't apply here. Troop funds used to pay for the summer trip must be divided equally among all girls who decide to go on the trip.

With the new info you've given, I think Allison should finish up the cookie sale but not attend any more troop events, and you should call or write the council and tell them these things.

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#23 of 23 Old 01-28-2004, 02:19 AM
 
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My stepsons' school pulled this same thing last year - PG13 movie shown to 7-12yos at an overnight. Because why? Because they're stupid. Nice people, they like kids, they're just STUPID. For me, this is the really painful thing about restricting my stepsons' activities - if the activities I was restricting were run by eeeevil people, it would be simple, but no, they're run by well-meaning idiots.
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