Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Broken hearts, broken future ..

Look into those eyes. Into those deep blue eyes on each of my boys. Tell me if you could tell them the awful truth and watch the crushing weight of reality break their hearts and hopes.
And, that is exactly what I did today. I'm a horrible, awful, cruel and honest mother. I had gotten the newest post from All Natural Me today: & was watching the video on it. Shannon came in the room, as did Tristan, and began watching it with me. Watch the video, you'll be glad you did.
We watched about how plastics are polluting our oceans, watched as they showed the insides of animals that had eaten plastics, saw that those poor creatures were more plastic inside than animal. We saw kids floating (you couldn't really call it swimming or playing) in ocean water that looked like a liquid trash-can. I talked to Shannon about going to the beach, and asked him if he could imagine trying to swim and play at a beach like that. I saw sadness sweep over his sweet little face. He was crushed.
Then I held up the lids to the plastic milk jugs (we do get raw milk, but it comes in plastic jugs now, and we put it into glass jars) & told him how we can't recycle the lids of the jugs. I asked him if he knew where trash goes after it is picked up. He said "no". I told him how they take it, they dig a big hole in the ground, and they put the trash in there, and how that is called a landfill. The sadness swept over his face again, and he looked like he might bust into tears.
He began talking about recycling, about how we could "do this" instead, like he was frantically trying to find an answer to the horrors of what I had just told him.
We're pretty honest about being Earth Friendly with our kids. We tell them what things are bad, and encourage them to do good things. They're pretty smart kids. But, I have to admit that how much he seemed to "get" from what I was saying shocked me. The way he reacted shocked me and made me feel so sad. We always hear how we're ruining the world, or need to save it, for future generations ... really, what happened in our kitchen this afternoon should be made into a commercial. It would break your heart and turn everyone into a committed activist.
I couldn't bear to let him feel the weight and responsibility of it all. I was still holding the lids of the jugs, and I told him to look. I bent over and picked up the three now crushed milk jugs out of the recycling bin. I held them in one hand, their lids in the other. I told him how, because WE RECYCLE, these milk jugs won't go into the ground, they won't be trash, they'll be recycled. Yes, the lids will go in the trash, and that is sad, but look how much we've kept from going into the garbage can. His face lightened.
Then, I went and picked up the glass yogurt cups that go to the yogurt maker a friend recently gave us. I clinked them with my rings, and showed the boys how they were made of glass. I told them how Vicki had given them to us, and how she had used them for her kids, which meant the whole thing was as old as me ... and that must be pretty old, huh?? This made them laugh, and I told them "see, we're REUSING them", they won't go in the trash, and we won't need to buy new stuff. Spirits began lifting.
Finally, as I was folding the laundry, I held up something and asked Shannon what it was. He answered that it was a napkin. I pointed out that it used to be a wash-cloth, and this other one used to be just a rag, but now we use them for our daily kitchen rags and napkins (little boys can make some BIG messes!!). We're not buying new napkins, we're reusing old ones & thereby REDUCING what comes into the house. They got a big kick out of figuring out that one of the napkins was, once upon a time, one of Tristan's cloth diapers - but was now tie-dyed and cleaned and perfect for kitchen life.
The sadness was now gone from their eyes. I told them to always remember the "three R's": Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. I asked Tristan if he was an Earth Helper, and he sweetly replied "yes", Shannon began bouncing in his chair proclaiming that he was an Earth Helper too.
Their future, as far as the Earth and the balance of nature goes, is far from certain. But at least today they learned to have hope, that there are things you can do. And I learned that even a 5 year old can get weighed down and crushed by the horror of it all, so it is important to find ways to remain positive, to acknowledge the bad, to do whatever you can to make things right, but also to remember the positive that you are already doing, and to be happy in that.
I don't think I can bear to see sadness like that in those eyes again.


Sadie from said...

Oh - I'm so sorry! My little guy is pretty sensitive too - I never let him anywhere near that ol' all natural me place :)

Actually I've been keeping the computer screen covered all day with a piece of pretty fabric like it's not even there and have been waiting until after bedtime to log on.

Hence all the late posts! Last night I even fell asleep without my end of the day fix...amazing. I guess I can live without it for one day.

I really love the way your brought the atmosphere back to positive too Mama - way to go!

As always, you rock!!

Carrie and Justin said...

Although in the future I will monitor what I let him watch a little more closely, since I now know he is pretty sensitive to it, it's actually made for lots of positivity around here.
He's been SO excited - way more than usual - about recycling and reusing things!! He's definitely a gung-ho Earth Helper! That is really cool to get to watch.
I'm trying to pry myself off the computer some too. I console myself in knowing that it is often the only non-kid interaction I get during the day .. much less getting to "do" stuff that I like and am interested in -- pretty much it allows me to feel like I still have a life of my own. :P
But still, trying to cut back here and there.
By the way - when is Dreg gonna make up some more coloring pages?? Our boys loved those!