I have been a Girl Scout leader for a long time, and this past weekend my troop went for a mountain bike ride.  (Hey, it’s Colorado–it’s what we do!) I am part of “Troop Xtreme” –a bunch of girls that have together since 1st grade that like to push life to the limits and do go deeds at the same time. Not a bad gig, really!

I was reflecting on why I am still a leader after 7 years, and realized that so much of what I do in life, and believe about life, can be summed up the Girl Scout laws.  Here’s the law, and following it, is how I try to live it.

“I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.”

Honest and Fair: just this past week, a patient asked me not to tell his wife his diagnosis.  I was torn, but, I told the patient that I couldn’t lie–I had to tell the truth, and if she asked me, I would tell her the truth.

Friendly and Helpful/Considerate and Caring: isn’t that why we all became doctors?

Courageous and Strong: I think we are required to be strong, especially in the face of crises.  No one wants a shrinking violet running a code!

Responsible for what I say and do: I have to say that one of my most basic core values of all is responsibility.  I don’t think we can be physicians unless we are willing and able to shoulder responsibility for not just the small things, but major ones–like some one’s life.  Sometimes, I have to admit, the weight of patient care seems overwhelming, however.

Respect for myself and others: as a physician, this has been my greatest area of growth over the last 5 years.  Now that I am more comfortable in my own skin, I can see other’s view points, and finally recognize that my way is not the only way.  This learning process especially is relevant when I have  different view points than patients.  I remind myself that what they believe is as equally relevant and important as my beliefs.

Use resources wisely:I’m better at recycling because of this law, but we all could use our medical resources more wisely!  I think this is the reason health care reform is so important–we are not using our health care resources wisely–for many reasons.  (E.g.: malpractice, tort reform, the public’s unrealistic expectations, etc…)

Make the world a better place: time will tell if I’ve left a mark.  I have to say that sometimes, it doesn’t feel that way.  I thought, back when I was 5 and thought I would save the world as a physician, that it would be much easier! I hope I am giving back.

A sister to every Girl Scout: this is one of the best things about being a Girl Scout–everywhere I go I meet leaders and former Girl Scouts.  It’s a great sorority to belong to!

I’d love to hear about how Girl or Boy Scouting shaped your life–I’m a big believer in it!!!

Everything I learned, I learned in Girl Scouts

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