Babies enter the world with very basic needs. But over time, kids' lives get filled with superfluous stuff and convoluted ideas, largely imposed on them by parents, media and a culture obsessed with materialism. Essentially, maintaining, encouraging and protecting a child's inherent simplicity and purity would make him and the world as a whole, a much better place. There's a great deal to be learned from little kids who have not yet been programmed to desire material things, kids who are in awe of and fully appreciate nature and all it has to offer. We could all benefit from stripping away our baggage and hitting the reset button to once again attain the grace of a young child. Here are 6 things our little kids can teach us about living green, which have the capacity to transform lives both on an individual and global scale.
Support Local Farmers & Grow Your Own Fruits and Vegetables
Most little kids absolutely love gardening — and it blows their minds that by planting some tiny seeds, fruits and vegetables spring forth, right before their eyes. Every single day my kids revel in watering our back garden, and when I took them strawberry picking at a local farm, it was clearly a version of heaven on earth for them. Rows and rows of their favorite, succulent red fruit lined the land, just waiting to be picked and devoured. We left the fields covered in strawberry juice. So follow your kid’s enthusiastic lead and start sewing the seeds of growing your own produce at home — even if it’s just one item in an indoor pot. And head to your local farm to partake in their fresh bounty every season.
Look, But Don’t Touch
As we age, we tend to meddle more and more with our surroundings. Of course, there’s good meddling and bad meddling — but maintaining the “look, but don’t touch” philosophy we drill into our kids is a lesson most adults, and the human race at large could use as well. Think of what a better place the world would be if people left nature alone and how they found it in its natural state — and if we didn’t impose our will or actions on every aspect of the planet. We can learn from our children to enjoy and respect the great outdoors, and then only take away with them the memories of their time there, as not to tarnish or diminish the land in any way.
There’s Nothing Cooler Than Riding Your Bike
Kids take so much pride in their bicycles, and they’d ride them all day long if we let them. We could all benefit from this same penchant for peddling as an alternative to driving. Bicycling as a family is an awesome way to bond and get exercise, and it will save you money on fuel while saving the planet from CO2 emissions from your car.
Clean Up Your Mess, & Leave A Light Carbon Footprint
What parent doesn’t know the “clean-up” song? We’ve all belted out the tune at one time or another in an effort to get our kiddos to wrangle their mess and put everything back where it belongs. But as adults, do we clean-up the messes we make when it comes to preserving the planet? It can be as simple as not littering, or as life-changing as not polluting an ocean with oil — but we must admit that almost daily we are leaving little messes in our wake. So why not apply the snappy clean-up tune to our eco repertoire and manage or eliminate our messes entirely, to leave as light a carbon footprint as possible.
Sometimes The Biggest Impact Is Made With The Smallest Gesture
“It’s the little things…” Children really are overjoyed by the smallest gestures. Oftentimes, especially around the holidays or birthdays, parents want to give their kids a pile of gifts to open. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with giving your child presents, but there’s a lesson to be learned in the fact that many times, younger children want nothing to do with the actual contents, they just want to play with the cardboard box or bubble wrap said offering was packaged in. This is a reminder from the universe that sometimes adults impose their own ideals on little kids. We think it will make kids happier to have x, y, or z… but truth be told, spending more one-on-one time with you, committing to read them a chapter from your favorite children’s book each night, or engaging in their hobby with them, be it baking or painting is what will really put the wind in your kid’s sails. It’s really not about the stuff.
Always Be In Awe Of Mother Earth & Ask Lots Of Difficult Questions
Little kids are shining examples and poignant reminders of the adage, “take time to stop and smell the roses.” EVERYTHING is AMAZING to them, and my own kids literally stop and smell most flowers we walk by. Kids’ questions about the environment are endless. Just last night my five year-old asked me, “where does water go once it goes down the drain?” And it blew her mind when I explained to her that some people “in other countries” have to walk countless miles to just find one glass of suitable drinking water. “Really!? Will that ever happen in this country?” she asked. Curiosity and questioning are two great ways to live green because it enables you to turn the tide with your actions and learn how to conserve water, food, electricity, etc.
And picture your kids the last time you took them to the zoo. Weren’t they utterly transfixed at the sight of a peacock strutting his plumage? Or a chimpanzee eating an entire cauliflower? As adults, somehow this all becomes old hat to us… but if we saw the world through the eyes and appreciation of a child, imagine how much better off we’d all be?