Heidi Trautmann

Heidi Trautmann Column 60 - Let's talk about culture and... the World Thinking Day

Let’s talk about culture and …The World Thinking Day 2014 on 22 February


When I first saw this announcement I could not believe my eyes: a world thinking day and immediately some thoughts sprang up like: why must we have a special day to start thinking…do we need a push from the United Nations to make us aware of a sense they think we have overlooked? Just as everything of any value gets a world commemoration day?

You know, when you start thinking about it – I take the freedom to think of my own every minute of the day – then a sort of a roller coaster starts developing and all kind of images appear at the front of my mind.

What is thinking, really? A simple answer: It is an automatic process on the basis of experience, using a sort of math formula taking into consideration the facts weighed against similar images already experienced. For a thinking process one needs a free vision, self-confidence, time, distance and the freedom to make one’s own conclusions and to live by them if possible. I think, emotions only play a secondary role in the process, or should be disregarded altogether to get a proper image, although emotions are also based on experience, as caused by smell, touch, taste.

Do we live by this formula? I mean the free thinking mode, not the one controlled by settings, settings of time, daily schedule, traditions, do’s and don’ts ?

Usually one tries to find the easiest way out, avoid complications and evil reactions by others, always under cover; that is understandable and human, that has nothing to do with thinking as through the thinking process we are supposed to find out all the facts about a theme that stands in front of us, and we must regard it from all sides.

To come back to the reason for the ‘World Thinking Day’….it is not for us to start thinking but a day to put up themes to think about for the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world…and it says…also by some boy-oriented associations….(why not including all boy scouts and guides?) It is thought as an opportunity to think about their ‘sisters and brothers’ around the world, the meaning of guiding and its global impact. And on 22 February – which by the way is the birthday of the founder of the Guiding and Scouting idea, Robert Baden-Powell and his wife Olave Baden Powell, the World Chief Girls Guide. Each year they select a special theme, for example focusing on a country to understand and appreciate its culture and thus increasing awareness and sensitivity on global concerns. Other themes are ‘Think about food, about water….about world poverty….. or:  that empowering girls will change our world, that was in 2011….not a bad idea…and for 2014 it is ‘Providing universal access to primary education’.

In 1910 the founder Robert Baden-Powell decided that girls should have their separate association to develop their character, leading qualities and skills, also the ability to survive by their own strength and resources and their motto is “Together we can change the world”.


There are Girl Scouts and Guides in Cyprus, one in the South and one in the North; the one in the North is cooperating with the association in Turkey which was founded in 1909 also.

I have met the then Chairwoman of the association, Dr. Ayten Salih Berkalp; I had written down her life story on 17 pages which was published in Cyprus Observer and on my website last year in four parts  (just enter Heidi Trautmann and her name if you want to read more about her). She was the perfect image of a girl guide.

The programme of the association is very idealistic and I like it; it prepares young people much better for life and forms their character. One of my boys was with the South African Boy Scouts so I know a little about the organisation and motivations. The WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) reaches 10 million girls and young women in 145 countries located in five regions: Africa, Arab, Asia Pacific, Europe and Western Hemisphere. WAGGGS also runs four World Centres: Pax Lodge in London, Our Cabaña in Mexico, Our Chalet in Switzerland and Sangam in India.


 “Be prepared!” which means that one should always be ready in body and mind to cope with a situation. We could all do with some training with it, don’t you agree? At least we can pick up the idea of starting to think about matters that count but I would suggest that we make it an everyday habit, everyday a good deed, every day a thought for others – which does not prevent us from having a good thought for ourselves.



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