Thursday, 17 January 2013

Lessons taught through our kids

A couple weeks back my son decided he wanted to borrow The Lorax from the library. While I have seen the newer movie a few times, I'll admit I had yet to read the actual book! So when we sat down to read it, while I knew the plot, I was amazed at the emotional reaction I had. Something about reading the story of how greed and the desire for wealth can have such a damaging effect on the environment reminded me of what I take for granted as common practice because of how the Velo Family lives.

I'm a child of the 80's, when things like recycling were still a fairly new concept, at least where I grew up. But I remember when I was in grade five, one of my teachers taught my class about eco-systems, the importance of recycling and how plants are so important to the health of our bodies and our surroundings. Since then, I have continued learning what it is I can do to help reduce climate change, whether it be through protecting and planting trees and other plants, composting, recycling or other "green" initiatives. Fast forward to nearly three years ago when we made the biggest jump and sold our car, reducing our carbon footprint to as small as we possibly could.

What I forget, though, is that not everyone lives this way, and I forget that it's still important to teach my children why we live as we do and make the choices we do. Recycling is common practice in our house, but until we were purging at Christmas time, my son had no idea that the things we recycle are broken down and turned into new bottles, papers, or, in this case, turned into new toys (we donated many of their younger toys this year).

My children, and I'm sure many others, are also constantly teaching and reminding us of our responsibilities. As an adult, life gets really complicated, what with starting and maintaining (or even changing) your career path, forging important and lasting relationships, starting a family and all the responsibilities that that entails. With all this going on, it's easy to forget that protecting our environment is important. So when my six year old daughter gives me a dirty look and a talking to when I forget to compost, or my three year old son discusses the meaning of The Lorax, and that when you cut down all the trees the air fills with smog and all the animals leave, which is sad, it's a reminder that as hard as I try, there are still things to be done.

After all, while I still have a long time left to live responsibly, my actions, and the actions of my peers and the generations before me will have a lasting effect on my children's futures. I am confident that I am instilling a sense of responsibility in my children, and my hope is that they continue to protect the world around them. They care about the animals, plants, trees, and even bugs, therefore so should I, for my present and their future.

"UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
 nothing is going to get better. It's not."

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