The NYT published an article last week about how some parents stay green because their kids hound them about it. This is characterized in the article as cute, noble and totally annoying behavior. “Heh heh! Those little rascals! Now stop making me feel all guilty and eat your dinner.” What particularly struck me about this article is how the parents tend to complain that their kids are really good at remembering to be “green”, sharing what they’ve learned, and expressing their convictions. One telling bit:
Liz DiVittorio, of Raleigh, N.C., a mother of three, recalled walking with her 10-year-old son, Michael, this summer after a rainstorm and seeing a neighbor running his sprinkler.
“My son looked at him and said, ‘Why are you watering your lawn? It just rained,’ ” said Ms. DiVittorio, who works for a software company. “I sat there and cringed.”
Cringed? Seriously? Kid, that was a good question. Do not listen to your mother; keep asking questions. Just because you know that overwatering is a bad idea, both for grass and the planet, does not mean that these things occur to other people. Go ahead, push them outside of their comfort zone- and after they stop being appalled at your “rude behavior”, they’ll come to their senses.
One interviewee does get to the heart of the matter.
“One of the fascinating things about children is that they don’t separate what you are doing from what you should be doing,” Ms. Bovey said. “Here’s this information about how we can help the environment, and kids are not able to rationalize it away the way that adults do.”
Yeah. So the next time your kids or anybody else asks you why your actions don’t conform with your ideals, be prepared to admit your hypocrisy. Maybe you have a good reason. Explain it, but don’t excuse it. We’re all hypocrites about something. Don’t blame the tiny messengers. Sheesh.
PS. In what I assume is an attempt at journalistic unbias, the article helpfully points out that some people think “turning children into stewards of the environment is an inappropriate use of taxpayer money.” Who are these people, these citizens who honestly think that it’s a bad idea to instill a respect for their environment in schoolchildren? Will one or more of these people please get in touch with me so we can have exchanges of opinion? I’ll refrain from telling them what I actually think of them if they give me one good reason why they make any sense at all.