I never really talk to my kids in a formal way about the environment. I didn’t even realize it until I sat down to write this. I don’t talk to them about it, even though it’s very important to me to raise kids who respect and enjoy plants, animals, and the great outdoors.
Enjoying God’s creation can be a powerful form of worship, and one I want my kids to experience fully for their entire lives.
This stuff comes naturally to kids, though, which is why I’ve never had to give them lessons. Kids have to be taught to put their toys away, to ask to be excused from dinner. They do not have to be taught to be fascinated by a butterfly, or to kneel down to look at a flower unfurling. They instinctively pause to watch an ant line marching by; they will not waste a snowy day.
My kids have all, always, loved being outside most of all, especially when they’re too young to notice things like humidity and gnats.
When I have talked about environmentalism with my kids, it always makes perfect sense. They aren’t burdened by things like politics, money, or even bad habits. Why wouldn’t we do everything we can to care for the Earth?
Now that my big kids are in school, learning about the environment is part of their curriculum. It is really fun seeing them come home with big ideas about reusing things, and hearing them ask if something is recyclable before they throw it in the trash. Once when I came home from the grocery store with plastic bags David met me at the door, “Oh, I see you forgot your reusable bags!”
Yes, I did. And now you can help me remember, son.
One evening before putting the kids to bed I was closing their drapes.
“Who opens these every morning?” I asked Mary.
We’re not really in their room during the day, especially when they’re at school. And as far as I know the kids just wake up and run downstairs, so I was curious about who opened the drapes every day.
“David does,” she answered. “He said we have to do it to help the polar bears.”
“Help what polar bears?” I asked.
“David said that if we waste light it kills polar bears.”
What’s that saying? Something like, “Global warming won’t be stopped by a few people living perfect lifestyles for the sake of the environment, but by everyone living imperfect lifestyles for the sake of the environment.”
I’m sure I butchered that.
The point is that we should all be doing what we can, small steps, big changes — our very own versions of saving light to help the polar bears.