Wanna buy a cookie?

Girl Scout Cookies

This time of year, Girl Scout cookies are everywhere. Yes, they’re more expensive this year, and yes, some of the packages are smaller.

You should still buy a box.

It’s not about the cookies. Girl Scout cookies have passionate fans, but I find them dry and kind of boring (give me a soft, buttery, homemade cookie any day).

It’s about teaching our girls the value of closing the deal. This year I watched my own 7-year-old absorb that lesson and run all the way to the bank with it.

Girl Scouts sell approximately 200 million boxes of cookies every year. With prices ranging from $3.50 to $5 per box, that’s some serious cash. What’s been getting more attention—and it should—is that these very young ladies learn five skills on the job that come from rocking the cookie sale: goal setting, decision-making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.

Big stuff for a first-grader; priceless for all women.

Surely you’ve been accosted by a mom or dad waving a sales form in your face. But that’s not how it’s supposed to go. Girl Scout leaders encourage the girls to do the footwork, calling friends and family, approaching people in public, tallying orders and making change.

Of course, it is unwise these days to send your child selling anything door-to-door. That’s why the Girl Scouts operate public booths in malls, in front of grocery stores, outside churches, etc. This turned out to be a wonderfully safe, high-reward way for the shy children in my daughter’s troop to get a taste of success.

The first day we sold cookies, at an old-fashioned meat market in our town, my daughter planted herself behind the table of cookies and struggled to make eye contact with prospective customers. Her sweet, soft voice floated off in the wind as she murmured her sales pitch.

Thankfully, people are drawn to cute kids peddling baked goods, so she and her partner sold about 30 boxes in an hour. At the end of the shift, she was beaming, and I asked her what she’d enjoyed about selling.

“Mommy,” she said, “I loved seeing all that money. And we made that money!”

A few weeks later, the girls ran a booth at the local mall. This time, Nora marched confidently away from me, smiling at shoppers and asking them, politely and clearly, if they would like to buy some cookies.

My daughter’s partners that day included some of the quietest girls in the troop. Their moms and I laughed in wonderment as we drifted into the background and watched them work together, feeding off each other’s strength.

Our girls made a conscious choice that day that they would not be overlooked; they would not sit in a corner hoping no one would notice; they would not let their bolder sisters do all the work or gain all the glory.

How often are little girls encouraged to set a goal, to confront a stranger, to ask someone to buy something, to handle money? How often do we teach our daughters to plow past rejection and just keep working?

My daughter found her voice this year.

And that is why you should buy Girl Scout cookies.