My youngest daughter, Ciara, is a Brownie. My eldest daughter, Rhiannon, used to be a Brownie, but left at nine and a half and didn't want to be a Guide, so she isn't. Ciara, on the other hand, is an extremely sociable child and loves the interaction, so she won't leave before she's ten and will probably want to be a Guide.
I was a Brownie, (they didn't have Rainbows when I was a child, but these to were both Rainbows) and I was a Guide until I was about fifteen I suppose, but I can also boast Girls Brigade, Sea Cadets and the local Youth Orchestra (the windband and the recorder orchestra sections). In my day, Brownies was about being a little girl and learning useful things, like polishing shoes, making fairy cakes, plaiting newspapers to make a packaway seat, all sorts of stuff.
We had a Brownie parent meeting the other evening, to decide on the future of the pack, how to support the current leaders and collect ideas for activities. One mother suggested a pamper evening. For the Brownies. You know, make-up, nail varnish that sort of thing. There sat the other mothers nodding approval and "Ooo"s and "Ahhh"s from all corners.
Me, I'm silently screaming "NOOOOOO!".
Call me old fashioned or a prude, but I don't want to encourage my daughter to wear make-up, short skirts and cropped tops, to make herself appear older than her tender eight years and available. To make her vulnerable.
At first I thought I will just make Ciara 'busy' that night, so that I don't have to confess my austerity in public. Then I decided I will have a private word with Brown Owl and explain why I am unhappy for my daughter to take part in this activity. If other parents don't have a problem it's entirely up to them obviously, I don't want to make an issue of it, but it's just not for me and my daughter.
Although Ciara probably won't agree. She would probably love it.