Tuesday’s Brownie Meeting – will my daughter behave?

I forgot to talk about my recent Brownie Meeting this past Tuesday evening. As you may remember, my daughter is supposedly the loud, insubordinate, back talking, rebel of the Brownie Troop. She already has a two page police blotter on her behavior written up by Troop Leader J. You can read the letter here at this blog post

Before this meeting, I had a talk with my daughter about her behavior. As we were driving to the meeting, I reminded her and her friend to be on their best behavior during the meeting. She did express her concerns to me that she felt Troop Leader J doesn’t like her. I told her that you just need to kill her with kindness. If someone wants to find every possible thing wrong, they will. They are looking for you to mess up. Instead, you must be sweet, kind, and polite.

I told her that when she saw the Troop Leader to say “Hello Mrs. J, it’s so nice to see you again.” And like a good little Girl Scout, she did it and Mrs. J sucked it up.

Nothing annoys mean people more than when you are nice to them. In their twisted sense of self-worth, this diffuses them. You take away their power and in turn you don’t allow them to bother you. They can’t be hostile to a person being nice to them; it defeats the purpose of being mean.

Overall, the meeting went over well with out a conflict or a hitch. We had a guest coming in to thank the girls for some craft projects they had made for the veterans at the Seattle VA hospital. She was a good guest for the girls to meet because she was 40% blind, a US veteran, and very upbeat person. She showed the girls how she is uses her walking cane and let them try it out for themselves.

Now, my daughter’s behavior was fine this whole meeting. I did however have to step in and tell a few girls not to write on the white board and to stop playing with the puppet masks. I’ll be writing up those girls into my own police blotter. Shockingly, one of them was J’s own daughter! Curiously, J failed to notice her own daughter disobeying the rules during the meeting. Troop Leader J strictly enforces the rules with other girls yet turns a blind eye to her daughters own behavior. Clearly, I’ll have to write this own one down in my little police blotter.

My daughter’s overall behavior is nothing compare to some of the other girls in the troop. Some of them are loud and say things that are mean. One girl made a point to comment that she had more patches than my daughter. I overheard this and my daughter also told me about it. I told her not to worry about it. She might be pointing out a fact and yes, it was rude, but don’t let comments like than bother you.

I guess I could have said something but I don’t think it really would have matter. This girl says stupid things like that all the time. Her mouth has no filter. Besides, I’ll be using her as an example when I give my little introduction speech at the next meeting about being kind to others. I’m also going to talk about not writing on the white board after I told other girls not to write on it. All of this will be looped into Troop Leader J’s own comments where she’ll know that you really shouldn’t be so nit picky if you don’t want it to happen to you.

Remember, don’t step into the cow pasture if you don’t want to get your boots dirty.

Girl Scout Brownie Update #2

Girl Scout Brownie Update #2

Last night, I attended another class in the Girl Scout leaders training series. Since I have decided to become a leader in my daughter’s Brownie Troop, I am taking all the training necessary to be one. I’ve been tapped to be the Outdoor Specialist (actually title) in our troop. I could also be the actually Troop Leader with all this training if the need arises.

Since I am an Eagle Scout and still active in the Boy Scouts, the Outdoor Training shouldn’t be too difficult. I’m looking forward to it.

This one was Leader Essentials and overall, I pretty impressed with the Girl Scout program. It has some great short term and long term goals and the program is there to raise the girls into strong young ladies.

Currently, the Girl Scouts are in a transition phase with all the badges, patches, and awards. This makes the leader’s role a little confusing because you don’t quite now what you are suppose to be doing for advancement. As in my previous class, I learned that the current Try It patches are being phased out while at the same time, the Journey program was introduced. Confused? Me too! Luckily, I wasn’t the only one confused and this confusion was cleared up last night.

This evening, I am headed back up to Seattle for my Outdoor 1 class. The commute yesterday wasn’t too bad (only one accident on Interstate 5) and I’m hoping tonight will be the same or better.

The big Girl Scout training adventure for me will be my Outdoor 2 training which will actually take place outside. I’ll be headed to one of the Girl Scout camps for two nights for the last weekend of March. Yes, March in the Pacific Northwest is still wet and cold. However, I’ve heard we’ll be housed in open air shelters. We won’t be wet but we’ll still be cold. Since I am a male in Girl Scouting, I’ll be probably getting my own shelter which will be sweet!

Good Morning! It’s cat puke for Valentine’s Day!

This morning, I discovered cat puke outside my office door. Oh yeah! A few years back, I built my office behind my main house and to access it, I must leave my main house and walk a short distance to my office. Normally, I don’t mind this commute. However, when you have cat puke in front of your office door, it makes the commute less attractive.

I figured I’d just squirt off the cat’s gift with a little garden hose action. I walked over to the garden hose, put the nozzle on, and took the coil of hose off the hanger. Of course, it is raining and I’m getting wetter than I had planned. I’m also wearing my slippers. I turn the water on, start dragging the hose, it gets caught on something and I almost fall flat on my back. Cursing, I go back to wear the spot where the hose is caught and proceed to sink into our wet lawn. My slippers are now getting muddy and wet on the inside. Arrghhh.

In an elegant manner fit for a ballerina, I manage to free the hose, clean off the cat’s gift from my office porch (spraying myself with the hose as well) and miss the dog piles in the yard. Oh right! Mission accomplished! I wind the hose back up, again it gets caught on something while I do this and finish this unpleasant task with a flurry.

Now, my favorite slippers are wet, I’m wet, and I still haven’t made it into my office. The kicker of this whole thing is that we don’t even own a cat! It had to be one of the 12 cats that live within the four houses in our cul-de-sac. We have so many cats I feel like we are a pet store. This is really when I was living back on Kauai or least there on vacation at my parent’s guest house www.makanacrest.com.

I almost forgot it was Valentine’s Day! Speaking of which, I wonder if my parents have any weddings today. They live on Kauai (in the State of Hawaii) and operate www.kauaiweddings.com.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Making Money Online…can a small fish survive?

Jeez, where do you start with building your virtual online business? I have a few websites for my current business ventures (www.hellriegelstudio.com, www.kevinre.com, www.redstarhomes.com, www.kevinhellriegel.com) but these are mostly informational websites that don’t sell anything (except the http://www.hellriegelstudio.com has links to my client’s portrait images). I want to build a website that has e-commerce component to it and will generate money even when I’m not there. But then again, isn’t that everyone’s dream?

Considering the real estate market is in the toilet and all my equity (and my net worth) has disappeared in the real estate crash, I’d like to have some kind of additional income coming in besides my primary business of photography.

Some people have told me that I should get into writing and copywriting. I wouldn’t mind doing that. I enjoy my simple blog and the joy it brings to others (in my arrogant opinion). However, could I write for others as well as I do myself? And is my writing much better than the average “Joe” out there? I must admit that I do try to spell correctly (thanks to spell check!) and get my thoughts out in a concise and easy to understand matter.

I also enjoy making direct mail pieces and writing the copy for my promotional internet pieces. However, I don’t know much about copywriting in general and how to market myself as a copywriter. I don’t have a lot of experience outside my own website and marketing pieces when it comes to copywriting. I suppose that with every new adventure, you need to start somewhere (even if you don’t know exactly where that starting point is).

Ideally, I’d like to make money online by building a new website and calling it something like Hellriegel Creative Services. Then again, no one can spell “Hellriegel” so that wouldn’t work that well. If you take some time and put some thought into, my current Hellriegel’s Foto 1 isn’t exactly easy to remember right now. I’ll have to thank my Dad for that easy to remember name.

Perhaps it would be better to stick to a generic sounding name like HCS or HC Services. Easy to remember…maybe something like Hell Services? Maybe KGHServices?

If any of you dear blog readers have some ideas, drop me an email or leave them in a comment here on this page.

Making Money Online isn’t too easy. I also don’t want a name that sounds like a fly by night web operation located off the coast of Jamaica. Hmmm, “SuperKevintellsall.com”: a website about how to cry yourself to sleep with your empty bank account and your upside down investment properties!

I guess I’ll keep working on the website name and sign up for some more affiliate marketing websites! Oh, and I can work on my self-help ideas as well! I can see my future now (that’s called “visualization”) and it is bright (maybe I’m looking into the sun?)

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome!

Brownie (Girl Scout) Leader Update

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.” Abraham Lincoln

As you know, I received a nasty letter from my daughter’s Brownie troop leaders and was quite upset with them about the overall tone of the letter. Frankly, the letter read like a police blotter on everything my daughter had done wrong over the past two Brownie troop meetings. Honestly, I don’t think my daughter is really as bad as this letter portrayed her to be. Of course, every parent thinks their child is perfect. I know she isn’t perfect but whose child is? Well, besides the troop leader’s daughter, right?

Since I was quite upset about this letter, I did think it was for the best to meet with the two Brownie troop leaders in person and discuss the letter and my daughter’s behavior. Note: To read the letter and my response that I almost sent, please refer to my pervious blog “Is my child really that bad?” Now, I did hold back on sending that letter because I thought I should meet these two ladies face to face. It was a sharp response letter and I’m not sure if they could have handled it. When I’m upset, I tend to have a critical tongue. One might say it is a bit blunt and to the point.

I did have to send two requests for this meeting. Upon arrival, only one of the leaders was there. We’ll call her “J” and the other one (we’ll call her “T”) was late. J led me to believe with her spoken comments that she thought T might have some reservations meeting with me. Hmmm, already setting the stage for a confrontation with me? Did she think that I was going to off the handle on them?

Before this meeting, I was prepared to pull my daughter from the troop and either look for another troop or start our own troop. However, my daughter did convey to me that she liked her friends in the troop and did want to stay in Girl Scouts. To be honest, I’m not a quitter and either is my family. I might lose a battle here and there, but in the end I will win the war. Overall, I want my daughter to enjoy her experience in Girl Scouts yet I didn’t want her to be afraid of the leader. Girl Scouts is supposed to be fun; not nit picky. I reflected that I have made a commitment to Boys Scouts with my son and therefore, I should make a commitment to my daughter’s Girl Scout experience as well. With this in mind, I filled out my adult leader application, signed the volunteer agreement, and faxed it in on Friday (prior to my Sunday afternoon meeting). I’m proud to say I am now a registered Girl Scout leader!

The conversation drifted around like a life raft in the South Pacific. J likes to talk and express her unique opinion and her parenting views. She was prepared to go on the defensive with a copy of the behavior contract my wife had signed. Her trump card was this behavior contract. Her mistake was the fact she had it in her hands prepared to whip it out if I started to counter that my daughter’s behavior wasn’t all that bad. However, she left it out where I could see it. I knew I should avoid saying anything that she’d be able refer to the contract and argue that we signed a behavior contact.

Besides, as a new Girl Scout leader, I have to work with her over the next several years. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That is why I always like to compliment my opponents and agree with their position before introducing my position. Since my position is right (and superior), I like to lure my opponents into a false sense of security. I believe that T really didn’t think that the letter wasn’t that bad. Clearly, J had written it and T had just signed her name to it. T didn’t seem too worried about this meeting (contrarily to what J wanted me to believe). We had never had a conflict with T in the past and currently don’t have a problem with her. She is a nice person and honestly wants her daughter to have a great Girl Scout experience.

J on the other hand is another whole other matter. She likes to hide behind the veil of a “detailed” individual. This is her reason and justification of being mean to other people. She thinks that by detailing out all the faults and problems she perceives, it is perfectly alright to point out these out to you because she is “helping” you. Again, everyone has faults and constructive criticism can be a useful tool; when applied correctly.

J does not accept that all people are different. Her world is black and white. She draws her lines in the sand and will not adjust her thinking no matter how wrong she is. It is cemented her brain that her thinking is correct. She can not fathom nor see the other side of an argument. Due to this narrow minded position, she thinks of only one possible outcome: her outcome. This causes conflict with others and leaves her at a serious disadvantage. On the contrast, I can see an argument, a counter argument, and another five possible arguments. She sees her own opinion as the only correct and possible outcome.

This behavior is misguided and convoluted. J is a bully whether she likes it or not. She might believe she is helpful but she isn’t. Her thoughts, words, and actions define her behavior and tell us she is a bully. It is unacceptable behavior and I will not stand idly to the side and let this behavior continued unchecked.

I informed T and J that I thought they were overwhelmed. T agreed with me and J stated that it was hard to get people to volunteer. I agreed with that. I even apologized for not helping out more. I then informed them that I was going to help out more and come to every meeting from now on. T thought this was a wonderful idea and thanked me. J wasn’t as happy and was quick to inform me that I had to be a registered adult leader to be a leader.

Here is what separates the complainers from doers. I wish I could properly express the look on J’s face when I told her I had already faxed in my adult leader application, volunteer agreement, and background check. Her look of “Oh shit…he is coming on board whether I approve or not” was priceless. If you don’t want to get your shoes dirty, then don’t step out in the cow pasture. Don’t send me a letter complaining about my daughter and expect me to roll over and do nothing. That isn’t going to happen.

If there is a problem; I’ll correct it. It is my utmost pleasure to correct the problem and eliminate the friction it is causing.

It was quite delightful to let them know that I had scheduled the following day, my three hour Introduction Course at the Girl Scout office. I believe that J was caught off guard by this. She thought she could stall me out and I’d roll over and go away like other fathers when it comes to their daughters. Really, I’m just father that doesn’t attend any meetings and has no interest in Girl Scouting, right?

Her perception was that I was going to complain that my daughter was being treated unfairly, she shouldn’t be so mean, and I would have my say. She would successfully deflect my complanients when she referred to the behavior contract in her hand. This plan had come screeching to a halt. Instead, I had offered to help. She now found herself in a position of either accepting my help (that she had earlier agreed that she needed) or not accepting it. How could she not accept my help? How could she turn down my years of experience?

In my humble opinion, T and I left the meeting satisfied with the outcome. J had other thoughts about the outcome of the meeting. I didn’t know this until the next day at my Introduction to Girl Scout training at the Girl Scout office.

The following day, training started out quite well with Wendy our local Girl Scout leader. She is very knowledgeable, easy to work with, and overall has a nice personality. She thanked me for volunteering and getting involved in my daughter’s Girl Scout career. I told her that I was an Eagle Scout, I was my son’s Cub Scout den leader for 5 years (with 11 Cub Scouts), and currently a registered assistant scoutmaster with my son’s Boy Scout troop. Furthermore, I know Girl Scouts is not Boy Scouts and I will do everything that the Girl Scouts require of me to be the best leader possible. I have no problem attending classes and camps to make sure I fulfill the needed Girl Scout leader requirements. I will do whatever it takes to be a great Girl Scout leader.

About an hour into our training, Wendys let me know that J had called her about me! She said J had some concerns about me becoming a Girl Scout leader. Can you believe that? The question of why I wanted to be a Girl Scout leader had also been brought up by my wife. My wife asked me why I was becoming a Girl Scout leader. Reflecting on my reasons, I can honestly say that it boils down to this: Scouting is supposed to be fun. Why shouldn’t I give my children equal attention? Whether it is a Boy Scout or Girl Scout activities, I should be there for both of them. As a parent, shouldn’t I protect my children? Isn’t becoming a Girl Scout leader taking that step toward becoming an involved parent? Is being a part of my daughter’s Scouting career a bad thing? With my commitment to Scouting and its values, shouldn’t I pay it forward?

I have gained a great deal over the years from Boy Scouts and I live my life by the Boy Scout Oath and the Boy Scout Law. One of the twelve points of the Boy Scout Law is: A Scout is helpful. I see this as an opportunity to live up to promise I made to myself many years back. A Scout is helpful. My daughter’s Brownie Troop needs help and I’m here to help.

Upon conclusion of my training, I did give Wendy the letter I received from J and T. I told her that this encouraged me to be more active Her impression of J is that J gets bogged down in the details and J forgets that scouting is supposed to be fun. I told her that I had shown the letter to two other Girl Scout troop leaders and they said the same thing: Girl Scouts is supposed to be fun. The letter J wrote didn’t express this. They both said that this leader needs to get a grip when it comes to dealing with 7 and 8 year old girls.

This past week on Wednesday night, I went to the local council’s area meeting. J couldn’t make it because she was feeling “under the weather”. It probably would have burned her up inside if she knew I was there. She didn’t have a chance to tell everyone about me before I made my first Girl Scout leader appearance. As the only male there, I’m sure I’ll be remembered. J will now face an uphill battle if she plans to paint a bad picture of me. I’m the only father willing to be a part of my daughter’s Girl Scout experience and I’m willing to come to this Leader’s meeting to prove it.

Our next Girl Scout Brownie meeting is scheduled for Tuesday February 15. I can’t wait! I plan to make quite a splash with my introduction speech to the parents and the girls present. It should be a night to remember!