I don’t think it’s just me who has noticed that the Girl Scouts are everywhere these days – And apparently, they’ve been around 100 years. Yep, the Girl Scouts were founded in Savannah, Georgia in 1912. My friend Missy Rainer keeps me posted on all things Girl Scouts. And I am so proud of my friend Connie Lindsey in Chicago, who has Chaired the GS for the last couple of years and Linda Descano, new on your national board, lives right across the street from me. So these three women have something to do with me being “uber” aware of the Girl Scouts. These three women Missy, Connie and Linda all have something unique in common, and I think of them when I think of the Girl Scouts. They go above and beyond, always doing something for someone else..…I admire them, and I have great admiration for the G.S. – And I do have a confession to make… I keep a jar of cookies filled in my kitchen – so I am reminded everyday how special the GSs sales acumen is and how yummy your cookies are. It is a great honor for me to be invited as the speaker for the Heart of the South Girl Scouts 2012 annual meeting. I may live in New York….. but my heart never leaves the South. I still say please and thank you and excuse me everyday on the subway, which sometimes sounds like one of the many foreign languages being spoken in New York. When I look back at being a Brownie in Memphis, Tennessee, I had so much fun. My mother had five children and she made time to be my Brownie den mother. It was a commitment for her, and we had the chance, even for a small time after school to spend time together, just she and I. The lessons my mother and father taught me inspired me to write From Cinderella to CEO. Nine foreign translations later, I’ve learned that Fairy Tales are universal. But have YOU noticed lately how Hollywood has been infatuated and reformulated so many classic fairy tales into movies? At least a dozen movies have come out in the last few years. Tangled-based on Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Shrek I, II, III (and of course there’s the Broadway Play); Mirror, Mirror starring Julia Roberts, based on Snow White, and Snow White and the Huntsman with Charlene Therzon, opening June 1. Beastly, Beauty and the Beast, and don’t forget Narnia Chronicles and Lord of the Rings, which led the pack. And who has seen Hunger Games or read the books? I’ve just scratched the surface. Bottom line, there are new fairy tale heroines in town, sisters and brothers… These movies have universal appeal, and overall they are featuring women and girls in positive roles. Disney fairy tales, based in the 50’s mentality of princes rescuing princess are fading into the background. A recent finding bucks the old Brothers Grimm versions of fairy tales. Click here to read more. So what is it that intrigues us about fairy tales? Why do we keep these simple stories alive? Rumor has it that the story of Cinderella was discovered 3000 years ago in China and before that in Greece. The story of Cinderella has been told over and over again, across oceans and miles, by adults and children alike…. and this was all before what? All before the Internet!!! That my friends, is the power of fairy tales. They entertain, they hold mystique and it’s been said, they are part of the human DNA, and I believe, our innate desire to do the right thing when faced with challenges. And w/all the translations and languages and embellishments, oh my’s and oh wow’s….the story of Cinderella has pretty much stayed the same over all these centuries w/the same message. Dreams can and DO come true…. I have been speaking and writing about this concept for the past 5 years and I think the comfort of fairy tales and the connection they make is needed more than ever now – all generations, all genders, in all countries. When I started out on this journey, I thought “oh boy, this is never going to work.” Fairy tales are too simple to compare to business lessons. I believe Fairy Tales have been around for 1000’s of years, because they are rooted in goodness and good things last…and yes, there’s always a dark side, a flaw that gets in the way, but we learn through fairy tale lessons that we can overcome… Think About it….If someone found your Cinderella Story 3,000 years into the Future, what would they think? They might think that Oprah was a fairy godmother for sure! If time travel existed (and who knows one of you girls out there may invent it), what would you want girls in the future to find and learn about from you? You’d want to tell them the real story I think. Which by the way, that made me think….What will the GS uniform look like 100 years from now? I love what Halle Berry wears as Storm in the movie X-men. But seriously, What lessons will we share? What stories will we pass on to others?– not just electronically but over the dinner table, camp fires, slumber parties and perhaps even one day….telepathically! (I’m serious) How did Cinderella attract such a powerful, generous spirit as a fairy godmother? Well what I’ve come to believe after studying fairy tales, is it’s because Cinderella had good intentions and worked hard to do the best job she could do despite her crummy circumstances. She attracted someone to help her out of her situation. Now it was up to Cinderella to stay focused and keep doing the right thing. She wasn’t perfect either. Cinderella did get off course a couple of times, but her Godmother “had her back.” Found her a dress, helped her find her shoe, gave her guidance. Even forgave her… So whether there was a prince involved or not, Cinderella would not have made it to the Palace if it had not been for her Fairy god mother – And we all need Fairy godmothers in our lives. Your Girl Scout Leader, your teachers, our mothers, our aunts, our sisters, and yes, men can be godmentors too – and are. So Cinderella is a simple story. Do the right thing, and you will find supporters. But in reality, our lives are not so simple are they? Girls and women are complex and we have such responsibilities on our shoulders. The pressures of what the ideal girl and woman today should be are massive and quite frankly, unattainable – it’s just plain silly. So how do Girl Scouts in particular help lead the way and take the shallow, media-driven, tabloid type pressures off our future and present girls? If you were to write your own book, what words of wisdom would you share? Do any of you keep diaries anymore? We didn’t immediately share everything like we do now on Facebook and Twitter now. I used to keep my diary tucked away, writing under the covers by the light of a flashlight, so as not disturb my sister sleeping in the bed next to me. Sometimes my little brother found it, and read it! That’s a whole ‘nother story…. I believe we women and girls can “own” the message of the ideal woman and girl. We have to not only do the right things, and support each other (and this is key), but we have to forgive each other for our flaws and embrace them – even celebrate them as well. We are leaders. We are strong. We are all Cinderellas, despite our politics, our societal beliefs, even our accents. I encourage you to write, and tell your stories. Share them with each other. Laugh a lot. Cry a lot. Be each other’s fairy godmothers. A diary is just as powerful as a book. We’ve all heard of Anne Frank – she wrote in her diary every day and her writings have influenced the entire world. So from me and from many others from lands far, far away. Happy 100th Birthday Girl Scouts! You are our fairy godmothers. And please keep making our dreams come true.
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