Do you ever stop to think about who’s responsibility the outcome of our future is? I know I do, all the time. Its all of ours, we all share an equal portion of the tremendous responsibility. So don’t despair, it’s not all on you. However its easy to forget, in all the chaos of the modern world, that the best way to make a lasting difference is not by donating all your money to the Sierra club or other such organization, but to devote your time to teaching the next generation. Our children are our future, and it is our responsibility to teach them to respect our earth and one another and to find joy in the simple things in life.
I was recently reminded of how easy this is when I was reading a blog on hillward.org here on WordPress. It was about the experience the author had of volunteering in a life lab class recently. It was many of the children’s first experience with gardening, and the joy and fascination that the author experienced watching them explore their natural world was simply heart warming. Children are so impressionable, everything they see and hear, they do and say. If you ever want to know how people see you just have a kid and watch them. I have found it to be a very enlightening experience, to say the least.
Now before you dismiss your self from this responsibility because you’re not a parent, stop and think, I bet you have at least one child in your life. One of the most influential people in my life was an old bachelor living alone across the creek and up the mountain from my child hood home. He taught my brothers and I so much about the world a round us , how to be self sufficient and how to be respectful of the natural world and our selves. But before he was our most influential teacher he was just a stranger, but he ended up having a tremendous affect on us as chidden and as adults.
So all you Aunts and uncles, cousins and friends, teachers, school bus drivers, neighbors, radio hosts, TV producers, and random persons cleaning up the local beach. You are all influencing the people around you, and most importantly you are influencing the children who are watching and listening. Those children will grow up to make decisions about our future based on what they learned as children watching the world around them, and they will teach the next generation in turn.
So think about all those children in your life and what kind of people you would like to see them become, then teach by example. It is the most effective teaching method, and it has the added benefit of keeping you from being a hypocrite. No body likes to lectured by a hypocrite! If you want a cleaner beach start cleaning. If you want them to eat organic food then eat organic food. You want them to make decisions based on logic rather than emotion, then simply do so your self.
Particularly when they are very young children will pick up on anything they see and hear, whether it’s their parents or other children or any one in-between. My children have amazed me with their ability to learn anything and everything, and it’s not just skills and general knowledge that they pick up on so quickly. They are extremely good at picking
up on your impressions of the world your mannerisms, your fears, your likes and dislikes and adopting them for their own. For instance my mother-in-law, does not like to be licked by our dog, and so she is always shooing her away and exclaiming “Gross! Ewww!” whenever she is accosted my our loving pooch. My children, who have spent their entire life with this dog, now after only short time yell “NOOOO Hidie, Ewww!” whenever she greets them with a lick and they scream and push her away. Neither my wife nor I act that way. On a similar note they quickly picked up on my dislike of youtube commercials, and they are quick to declare anything that they don’t want to watch a commercial and protest loudly until it is dismissed. It is fascinating and little terrifying, how easily their little minds are affected by the outside world. But it also gives me hope, because with a little bit of responsible effort on our part we can quickly change our children’s view of the world and what is important to them.
The worlds problems are many and mighty but the solutions are few and simple. Having said that, simple does not mean easy, but how often is anything really worth doing easy?So get out there with twinkle in your eye and a skip in your step and start changing the world one lesson at a time. To save the world we need only to help our children see why its worth saving.
Yours Truly and Enthusiastically,
The Captain Enthusiastic