When I think of the Girl Scouts, my mind immediately gravitates toward Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties (OMG-Yum!); but having been a Girl Scout waaaaaay back when, I can tell you this worldwide organization is so much more than cookies.
A case in point is 16-year-old girl scout Lucie Myslíková from the Czech Republic city of Brno. Lucie and some fellow troop members gathered with others in preparation for a May Day counter-protest against fascism at a neo-Nazi rally in her hometown.
When the nationalist neo-Nazi’s showed up spewing hateful rhetoric against refugees, they were met by the counter-protesters in colorful costumes (and, in Lucie and her friend’s case, girl scout uniforms), upbeat music, bright banners, soap bubbles and… bravery. The idea was to counter hate with love.
Lucie and her fellow troop members were soon confronted by a very angry man who engaged them in an argument about nationalism, warning them that refugees would rape them. Lucie told him that she wasn’t afraid of refugees, “because a white or a Czech guy could do the same; it’s not a question of race or nation.”
As they continued talking, something very interesting happened. The man pictured below began letting his guard down and told Lucie that he was afraid for his daughter. Fear was at the root of his hatred.
Fear can cause even well-meaning people to turn to hatred and, in that moment, perhaps this man began to see another way forward in this girl scout.
Later, Lucie told a reporter that “she did her best to explain to him that when lives are at stake, borders and states cease to exist.” She also said she was not afraid. “I think fear and xenophobia can be the reason for his opinions. There is a lot of misinformation in the world and it brings a lot of uncertainty and fear. That’s the reason I don’t judge anyone.”
I, for one, was not surprised to hear this kind of wisdom and courage coming from a Girl Scout. Part of what you learn as a scout is to be “courageous and strong” and to “make the world a better place;” so naturally, in big and little ways, you will make your voice be heard. The Girl Scouts teach about the importance of diversity, peace and understanding. It empowers scouts to unleash their “inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)” and recognizes their ability to contribute to the world in meaningful ways.
Next Girl Scout cookie season, think of Lucie and her fellow scouts and remember how they’re learning to choose love instead of hate as a defense against fear, and then to order up! Or better yet, contribute now to this wonderful institution that is working quietly and consistently to empower girls around the world.
#GirlScouts, #Scouts, #LoveNotFear
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