The Badges

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17

Abundant Awards

My granddaughters belong to an American Heritage Girls troop at our church. They engage in fun activities while learning life skills grounded in Christian values. In the process, they have an opportunity to earn badges. Lyla, age 9, has been doing so for the past three years, but Emma, who just turned 7, became eligible to earn badges last fall.

Once the meetings resumed last August after a summer break, Lyla and Emma dedicated themselves to completing the requirements for various badges and patches. Between the two of them, they brought home 28 after the December awards night. I’m super proud of them, but my fingers cringed at the thought of stitching so many onto their vests.

When Lyla earned her first few badges, she said some of her friends glued theirs on. I was skeptical but tried doing the same with one of hers. I doubted the longevity of such an application, plus the glue soaked through the fabric and didn’t look good on the inside of the vest. For a longtime seamstress like me, that wasn’t going to be satisfactory.

Thus I determined to sew them on instead. Imagine fingers achy from age and years of gardening, handicrafts, typing, and texting, confronted with badges edged with dense stitching. It was so hard to get the needle through those edges; however, I persevered through Lyla’s first batch and subsequent batches.

But I’d never had anywhere near 28 at one time.

A Grand Plan

Fortunately, there was a break of almost a month between Awards Night and the first meeting of the new year. If I planned well, I’d have plenty of days to sew one or two on at a time and still have all the badges stitched on by that first meeting.

So much for my grand plan! I turned my attention to Christmas and birthday celebrations. A week before meetings resumed, barely any badges had made their way out of the bags they arrived in and onto my granddaughters’ vests.

Plan B

Never fear! My late husband’s alma mater, South Dakota State University, qualified for the FCS football championship game. I relished the opportunity to watch the Jackrabbits play and would have at least three hours to work on badges while I cheered them on.

Ah, one badge securely stitched onto Emma’s vest, and the Jacks were ahead in the game. Uh oh! A closer look revealed something wasn’t quite right. I’d started with the swimming badge but sewed it on upside down. The swimmer looked like she was doing the backstroke instead of freestyle. For the briefest moment, I thought about leaving it. Emma has quite a sense of humor, plus I had so many badges left, and the tips of my fingers were already starting to complain.

But then one of Mom’s mottos[1] pierced my thoughts: “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.”

I snipped the stitches, turned the badge right side up, and reattached it to the vest. I stitched on the one next to it, then another, and laid the vest flat to check my progress. Nooooo!! The badges weren’t aligned with the edge of the vest. That would never do since they were setting the foundation for the rest of the badges on that side. Off they came again.

With all the re-dos, only two badges made it onto Emma’s vest that afternoon – but at least they were positioned correctly!

Spiritual Stitches

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’ve no doubt noticed that I’m a ponderer, so it probably won’t surprise you that contemplating the events of that trying experience brought several Biblical principles to my mind:

  • Like most of Mom’s mottos, the one I referenced above has a scriptural tie-in. Colossians 3:17 (the introductory verse for this post), as well as 1 Corinthians 10:31 and Colossians 3:23, encourage us to do our best no matter the task before us as a way to honor God.
  • And those slanted badges? They reminded me not only of Jesus’ teaching on the importance of a firm faith foundation (Matthew 7:24-27) but also that He is our Cornerstone, precious and chosen, joining together the household of God (1 Peter 2:6; Ephesians 2:20-21).
  • Watching the football game while I worked was fun, but it was also distracting and probably contributed to my mistakes. Likewise, many things can distract us from walking single-mindedly with the Lord. Numerous passages remind us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and follow His example of perseverance. Philippians 3:12-14 and Hebrews 12:1-2 are two of my favorites.
  • The badges represent the troop leaders’ diligence in teaching and mentoring the troop members and the girls’ efforts to master new skills and serve their communities. Similarly, the working of the Spirit in our lives produces fruit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – outward manifestations of our life in Christ (Galatians 5:22-23).


In case you’re wondering, South Dakota State, more focused on their task than I was on mine that Sunday afternoon,  won the championship game. I spent countless hours in the week leading up to the first AHG meeting of the year sewing on badges. My fingers paid the price for my procrastination, but Lyla and Emma’s vests were adorned with the awards they’d worked so hard to earn. And I can even laugh now about the “backstroke badge” since it gave me some fun reminders of spiritual principles to pass along. I hope they’ll make you smile too.

[1] If you would like to read more of Mom’s mottos, please see “Thanks, Mom! (Reprise)” in Archives, November 2022.

2 thoughts on “The Badges

  1. God has lessons for us, even in the simplest of tasks. Thanks for such an endearing story and for the spiritual principles. “Sew” much to ponder!

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