I promise, on my honour To do my best, to do my DUTY To God, the Queen and my country. To help other people at all times And to obey the Guide Laws. (Girl Guides of Canada Promise)
Today I had hallway duty in the morning and detention duty at lunch time. As I was looking ahead at the end of the work day I found myself sighing with relief that I didn’t have any more duty today. Then I gave my head a shake. I had many things left in my day that would be considered duties.
- The duty to check in on my kids
- The duty to be sure my family is fed
- The duty to look after the dog
- The duty of planning anthems for my choir
- The duty of running choir practice
- The duty of picking up my daughter after work
- The duty of posting a blog entry
From where do our duty lists come? I remember in Guides when we went to camp there was always a duty list to check. It told you whether you were in charge of cleaning outhouses, cooking, clean-up, or fetching hot and cold water from the lodge. We all groaned when we drew outhouse cleaning and many of us enjoyed the cooking. Clean-up was ok if it wasn’t after porridge for breakfast, and water detail involved a lovely little walk through the woods and the fun of trying to keep the water buckets from tipping off the wagons we used for transport. Those are not the duties referred to in the Guide Promise. While it doesn’t exclude these specific types of duty I believe the promise had something more fundamental in mind.
Some of our duties come from our jobs and, like the camp duty lists, are clearly laid out. Most of the more major duties are put in place through our cultures and may indeed be more in our heads than they are reality. I teach my students about the functions of the family: socialization, reproduction, economic, sexual, and emotional. These are all really duties of the parents. It is our duty, or our job to; keep the race going by having children; having given birth to children to raise them to be respectful and law-abiding citizens with clear sense of right and wrong; to lead the family through bringing in and managing the money so as to provide of the needs of all the members; and to offer emotional support and feelings of safety in our households. Failure to perform some of these duties may cause your children to be taken away, but they largely represent cultural norms.
We talk about our civic duty. This would include voting, paying taxes, doing jury duty, obeying the law, turning in people who do not obey the law, cleaning up our dog’s messes etc.
So that largely covers our duties to “Queen and country” and that leaves our duty to God. Hmmm. As Christians we look to the New Testament for our directives. fundamentally our duty as Christians is to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our minds, and to love our neighbours as ourselves. (Matt 22:37-39) These items have been the topic of several other entries on my blog so I won’t go into detail on those.
I believe there is more.
- We were told to go into all the world and preach God’s Gospel to every nation. (Mark 16:15) So evangelism is part of our duty. Some evangelism is done through forums like blogs and social media. Much is done in one-on-one discussions with people and for many it is done through the example of your own life.
- We are called to worship God. Often in Psalms it says to make a joyful noise to the lord. We need to remember all the great things the Lord has done in the world throughout history and offer thanks and prayers for that.
- We are told to help the weak, the poor, and the widows which requires watching out for where there is need and then taking time and resources to answer those needs. This section is not just about direct assistance but also within our communities working to have fair systems and programs in place to continue the help and ideally take these people off the list of the needy.
- Those who believe have been forgiven their sins, but they need to accept that forgiveness, which is sometimes harder than it might seem, and pass it along to others.
So I realize that the Girl Guides of Canada Promise has actually changed to make it more politically correct, but humour me and join in to make this modified version now;
I promise on my honour, To do my best, to do my DUTY To God, the Queen and my country. To help other people at all times And to obey the Law.