I’m not much of an environmentalist. I did recycle for a couple of years way before it was cool, when I lived in Nashville. The city provided us with recycling bins, and it was so easy, I figured, why not just throw the paper and the plastic in the proper bin? But, I have never felt really convicted to do that type of thing. I know that’s hard for lots of my friends to understand. I’m not sure why–I just have never really thought much about it one way or another.
Then I had children. And every television show they watch and every class at school teaches them that recycling and taking care of the environment is the moral thing to do. At first when that started happening, I thought it was a little overboard. I thought it was a bit much to imply that good people recycle. I really thought it was all a little silly.
But, after awhile I started to realize: What’s so wrong with them wanting to take care of the earth? What’s so ridiculous about them being responsible citizens of the planet?
Adelade has often mentioned recycling. I always just kind of agreed with her that it’s a good thing to do in a somewhat dismissive way. Then one day it dawned on me that this is going to be a major tenet of her life. It’s extremely important to her and to her entire generation. And I realized that I didn’t want her to grow up thinking that I don’t take her convictions seriously. I didn’t want her to grow older and think to herself, “My mother is so out of it. She just doesn’t understand.” I wanted her to know that I respect her feelings and that I will help her do what she feels is right.
So, we’re recycling. The kids made signs to hang on a diaper box, and we’re throwing all of our paper into it. Adelade’s sign explains why this is important to her. She wrote:
Help the Earth! Earth is the only place we can survive, so we need to take care of it. Recycling can really, really help. Some of earth’s natural resources don’t replenish, and that is when conserving comes in. The trees are able to replenish, but it can take a long time. To recycle is a lot faster. Try and put paper here!
Sawyer drew a recycling box with the “reduce, reuse, recycle” symbol on it.
I never want my kids to think that I am unwilling to try to understand their viewpoint. Even when I don’t quite understand it. And, after I read the recycling plea on Adelade’s sign, I felt like I understood her a little better. As usual, my kids are teaching me to be a better person. It’s so interesting how that happens.
Both kids also have heart failure if anyone leaves the water running while brushing their teeth. They got Chad and me out of that habit several years ago. I pray that I will remember how much I can learn from these little earth conscious darlings. I have so much hope for this generation. They care about things. And they have a lot to teach us.