Digital Girl Scout Cookies: Good or Bad?

I was a die-hard Girl Scout. Yes, I enjoyed the campouts, badge earning, and other activities — but my favorite time of year was selling Girl Scout cookies. I am extremely competitive, and each year I would challenge myself to do better than the prior year. No one put me up to it. My parents did not pressure me or push me to sell a specific number of boxes. They also did not reward me for my achievement. It was my own crazy self that worked my ass off to do more than I ever had.

One year, one of the prizes from the local community of Girl Scout troops was a 10-speed bike. I did not have a 10-speed and wanted one badly. I knew it would take a lot of babysitting and tips from my paper route to be able to purchase that bike, not to mention selling my parents on my spending my hard-earned money. The next best way to ensure I had that bike was to sell the number of boxes required to win the bike — and I did.

A different year there was a trip to an amusement park in Ohio. I had been a few times on school trips, and absolutely loved amusement parks, so of course it was on my list to win a trip. I had my goals in mind and I made sure I met them, however crazy I was to find ways to sell boxes. Since I lived on the edge of a University campus, I would go to fraternity houses, their student center, apartment complexes, and dorms, not to mention door-to-door in my entire neighborhood to sell as many boxes as possible. I learned a lot — specifically on how to cater my communication and language to the person on the other side of the door, or the one with cash in their hands. I learned how to warm up my audience, be cute when needed, or spout off the benefits of the different types of cookies – whatever I could do to make sure they walked away with boxes of cookies in their hands.

So when I found out that Girl Scout cookies have gone online, I had mixed feelings. Girl Scouts will now be able to take credit cards and transact business via an app online. They can have family and friends in other parts of the country place an order through their specific online webpage. Here is why I have mixed feelings — yes they learn business techniques for 2015, online sales, webpages, social media, and credit cards, but I feel a lot is lost. It feels much like what happens when parents sell for their kids at work, but their kids never have to do a thing. How is that good for the kid? My parents did not sell a box for me. I sold every single one.

With selling cookies now online, I fear that kids will no longer know how to make change, do math in their heads as buyers put them on the spot with questions, and my largest concern is that they have now taken the human side out of selling cookies. Maybe I am old school, but I feel that the learning experience has dwindled for these girls.

What do you think?

It is an American issue.

Of course I have baby on the brain. I have six weeks left, and part of preparing for the birth of my son, is making sure I am prepared to leave work for maternity leave. Lots to do to make sure coverage is in place, and that I am not missing anything, all while trying to navigate the spectrum of “short-term disability” and use of my vacation time and how to make it all work. It is shocking that in our country having a baby is considered “short-term disability.” I am not sure how having a baby makes you “disabled.”

That is why I wanted to share this TEDx talk from Jessica Shortall. She discusses “The American Case for Paid Maternity Leave.” Her talk is just under 16 minutes and worth listening to — especially if you think it is absurd that the US is the 2nd to last country in the world in terms of benefits offered for mothers-to-be (fathers to). I love what she says near the end of the video: “It is not a women’s issue, or a mom issue, it is an American issue.” She is right.

What do you think after watching the video?

Write: Let it trickle then flood

Write, write, write. I continue to find books, articles, and blogs that discuss creativity and the urgent need for so many individuals to write. I am always instantly enamored with reading more on this topic. Writing to me is the way that I make sense of the world. There are always so many ideas happening inside my head that often writing them down allows me to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

A recent article (it is long but worth the read) shares many ideas from well-known authors called “Great Artists Write” by Paul Jun says:

“It helps us not only gain new ideas, but also articulate them. It untangles the messiness in our lives and allows for clearer thinking.”

and later he says:

“The psychological benefits are like the slow and steady benefits of exercising. You may not see the gains yet, but the transformation is happening underneath: dots are being connected, ideas are crystallizing, and feelings are not merely passing through but rather examined and questioned.”

There are many times each week when I sit down to write a blog, or endeavor on a piece for work where I have no idea what to write. Usually as I allow my thoughts to open up the words come out, sometimes in a trickle, and sometimes with a flood of words. That does not mean that every piece that comes out is ever seen by anyone else — plenty stays on my computer — but I know when my fingers are ready to go and the words come forth.

If you write and want to feel inspired, are curious what writing could add to your life, or are just trying to process and resolve a jumble of ideas in your mind take some time out to pick up a pen and paper, or your computer and let the ideas make themselves evident. You never know what you might learn.