By Margaret Bishop
This year, my daughter began a rite of passage for thousands of young girls across the country. She became a Girl Scout! Along with this honor, she also was tasked with the important responsibility of selling Girl Scout cookies, and boy, did she take her responsibility seriously. When she attended her troop cookie training, she came home with two pages of notes of all the things she needed to do to ensure a successful sale. “Ask only people that you know; never sell cookies alone without an adult; give a Girl Scout smile and say thank you!” Armed with that information, she was ready for business.
On the opening day of cookie sales, she was so excited that she could hardly stand to wait until 10 am – the time that I had designated as acceptable to ring our neighbors’ doorbells. When the appointed hour arrived, she was out the door and literally running down the street to sell to our closest friends. As expected, they were enthusiastic buyers, and from that point, nothing could slow her down. While selling to the family of one of her younger friends, she was invited over for a play date, but no thanks, she had more customers to approach and preferred to tag along on my errands.
Along the way, we decided to pick up lunch to bring home, and naturally, she wanted to know if she could approach the restaurant employees with her cookie sheets. “I don’t think that’s appropriate,” I replied and tucked the sheet under my arm for safekeeping. Imagine her satisfaction when the restaurant owner noticed the sheet and asked that we come back at a slower time, so that they could make purchases. Why on earth would I think that anyone would not be interested in buying cookies? Shows how much moms know!
When we went back to the restaurant, the owner shook her hand and invited my daughter to sit down with her as everyone placed their orders. She treated her with such professional courtesy – one businesswoman to another – that I, too, began to wonder where my reticence came from in trying to direct whom she could or could not approach. My daughter had started her cookie sale with a strong belief in her product and in her own ability to be successful. She wasn’t weighted down by the fears of rejection or presumptions that rattled around my 37 year old brain. She was fearless!
After selling almost 90 boxes in her first day out, she was satisfied with a job well done and was at home playing with her babysitter and brothers when the phone apparently rang with more orders. I looked at her cookie sheet on the counter confusedly when I returned home and asked from where the additional orders (written in a 2nd grader’s hand) had come. Casually, she replied, “Oh, Mrs. Michele from the restaurant called. There were more people that wanted to order cookies.” I looked questioningly at my teenage babysitter who shrugged. “She said that she had an important call.”
When my daughter started her cookie sale, I subconsciously tried to direct her to the easiest route. I only offered to drive her to friends and family that I knew would buy; people that I knew wouldn’t mind; people that I knew would not reject her offerings or crush her enthusiasm. I didn’t want her to experience rejection, but in trying to protect her, I almost let her miss out on the wonderful feeling that comes from unqualified success, from giving something your all and being rewarded with a “yes!” Thank you, Mrs. Michele, and thank you my fearless daughter, for reminding me that giving it your all is always worth it!
About this writer
- Margaret Bishop and her husband, Matt, reside in Camden, SC with their three children, David, Olivia, and Thomas. Margaret is a full-time stay at home mom and an occasional freelance writer.