Take-Action Tuesday is the day we share one way you can take action and get involved in your community. Today we are talking about sharing your reasons for caring about a cause or issue with your family and peers. The more we know and understand, the more we care and the more we can change.
Second to “No” I think “”Because” might be the most despised word in a child’s vocabulary.
“Why do I have to go to sleep early?”
“Why do I have to eat my vegies?”
“Because I said so!”
“Why don’t the stars fall out of the sky?”
“Just because, my dear.”
The word “because” can answer the question, but on its own it lacks the ability to give understanding. And understanding is imperative to truly changing how someone sees and reacts to a certain issue.
For example, I didn’t think much about stormwater runoff until I knew how bad it could really be. I would see trash in parking lots and think that it looked horrible, but I didn’t question where it would go. Then I saw a video that showed me exactly where it went and it was even worse than what I saw in the parking lot. It opened my eyes to yet another area where the environment needed protecting.
But I don’t litter, so what could I do with this information? I decided to share it with my kids so they would know why it is wrong to litter and how that action degrades out environment. On a rainy morning on the drive to school, the kids noticed trash on the streets. I asked them what they thought happened to the trash on the street. They didn’t know the answer. I told them that the rain would go to the storm drains (or the nearest creek) and take with it anything in its path, including the trash. That trash would then be spit out into Dog River and then make its way into Mobile Bay. And not just that trash they saw in that lot, but all the trash on the streets in the city. That’s a lot of trash.
What was their response? “Yuck!” And they hadn’t even seen the pictures I had seen earlier. Rather than saying we don’t litter, because well we just don’t litter, I told them why and it made all the difference. They don’t want to look at, swim in, or fish in a waterway full of trash! Who wants to reel in a deflated basketball? Now they know that in order to keep the River and the Bay clean, they need to do their part and throw trash away properly and tell their friends to do the same.
Educating our kids (and our friends and the rest of our family members) is one of the most important things we can do. When they understand where we are coming from, why we do and believe in certain things, it makes it much easier for them to identify with those issues and actions. For example, now when it’s raining and I ask my kids about where the trash on the road goes, they tell me, “Dog River, mom!” I know they wouldn’t know that if I just told them “Because, we just don’t litter.” And I know that over the years they will continue to learn and come to appreciate why our local waterways and environment are so important. Then they too can take care of the environment for their kids and share with them what they learned when they were kids.
For today’s Take Action Tuesday, take some time to share with your friends and family how and why you help to take care of the environment. Whether it is recycling, composting, using eco-friendly products or anything in between, tell them why it’s important to you. You may just find that they see it your way and start taking care of the environment too!
This week is also Environmental Education Week! This is a great resource for teaching kids about nature, wildlife, and the environment: http://eeweek.org/children_and_nature