The Things We Tell Our Children
As my oldest becomes firmly entrenched in the the three-and-a-halfs, she’s getting better at asking me tough questions. Of course, she doesn’t realize that they’re tough. I also fully recognize that I make it harder on myself.
The place where I’m really struggling to explain things to her are those areas that embarrass me or the areas of traditional American culture that are really starting to get to me, now that I’m kind of seeing them for what they are. Let me give you an example. We worked in the yard the other day and put all our yard waste in the dumpster like good neighbors. A few days later, she wanted to know if those things were still in the dumpster, so I was trying to explain to her that, no, the dump truck comes and empties out our trash, and takes the whole lot down to the town dump.
This is about the time that it hit me that I’m kind of disturbed by how quick we are to make trash and pile it all up somewhere and think that’s okay. Now, really, I’m not an environmental fanatic. I do believe in good stewardship of resources, but I’m not going to chain myself to a tree. However, it’s really starting to make me ill to think of all that trash piling up and how often we don’t even really try to re-use, repair, or repurpose things in our “use it and toss it” society. I’ve been completely guilty of it. Even when I want to change it, I many times don’t even know how to begin (think composting).
Here’s another related example. We went out to eat over the weekend. Hey, kids ate free! So, the waiter keeps coming back to wait on us, and I’m looking at the mess we’re making on the table (and that we always make, because we bring two small kids and it’s not like we’re trying to be neat)… Yeah, it kind of grossed me out. This feeling of “how is this okay?” And “what am I teaching my children?” I guess that it’s okay for people to wait on us and for us to be total slobs.
You see, there are all these messages I’m constantly giving my children. We’re teaching them by our very example. And we’re doing the same things our parents did when we were little, and it wasn’t a big deal. So, why does it all make me feel so….ick? Maybe it’s because the more I think about the rest of the world and how they live and how the way we live impacts them, the more I can’t stand it.
Anyway, you can thank me for bringing you down in the Comments section…