This weekend my eight year old daughter came to me, held up a toy perfume atomizer and said, “I have invented a breath freshener! Wanna try?” Ah… a cure for morning breath. Awesome.
My daughter breath freshening her dolls.
“Of course, let me try the cure for horrendous smelling breath!” She squirted a liquid in my mouth. Hmmm… tasted kinda mintish with a hint of clean. I asked for another squirt. Hmmm… reminds me of water. Only a slight change in the smell of my breath, however, I was drinking coffee prior to the taste session and that takes a mighty powerful cure.
Without skipping a beat I looked her in the eye and said, “How is it good for the environment? How is this remarkable product of yours ‘green’?”
This threw her into a stuttering reply much like the recent Kouric/Palin interview, “well… uh… uh… hmmm…” She then walked off aimlessly looking at the ceiling.
Five minutes later she came running back with joy spattered all over her face, “I’ve got it! I have an ingredient that’s recyclable.” Apparently, the breath freshener was developed in a laboratory (the kitchen) by a professional (her) with only the best ingredients (water, toothpaste, and pulverized Altoids). These delectable ingredients were made into a fine mist spray you can squirt in your mouth via a toy perfume atomizer for a refreshing morning breath cure. Not a thing that’s recyclable that I can see. “Remember, Mom? We recycle the Altoids boxes for underprivileged children to hold crayons in.”
So close! She’s almost got it, but recycling packaging is not the same as a recycled or rescued ingredient. With a twinkle in my eye, I smiled at my soon-to-be lecture victim. She looked warily back at me thinking, “Oh oh – looks like a lecture.” Carefully, I explained what “reduce, reuse, and recycle” means.
How will our children understand the concept unless we discuss it with them at home? They, of course, will learn to recycle by watching and imitating our actions, but considering most schools fall woefully short in teaching children the basics about how to be good to our environment, I decided this was my special opportunity to educate a young mind.
Surprisingly, she participated in our discussion. She enthusiastically told me ways she reuses her craft supplies and toys instead of throwing them out. We talked about our home reduce, reuse, and recycle practices and how these things touch the world and make it better. It was a wonderful conversation between a mother and her child, and I hope you also have a similar conversation with children close to you. Educate them so they make better choices the rest of their lives.
After our talk she ran off to play, but came dashing back after she remembered an important point: “WAIT! One of the ingredients was recycled because I saved it from the landfill!”
My heart went pitter-pat, the child actually understood my lecture. She got it! She saved something from the landfill! Choirs were singing. Happy people were dancing. The world is filled with rainbows and unicorns! IT IS A MIRACLE!
Smiling, eyes brimming with tears, I asked, “What was it that you saved from the landfill?”
“The Altoid! I dropped it in the garage and was going to throw it in the trash, but THEN I decided to make breath freshener out of it instead.” She grinned evilly at me and ran away before I could tackle her.
UGH! ACK! CHOKE! Well… she definitely saved an Altoid from a landfill, and I learned an important lesson: always ask your child where their scientific experiment ingredients come from.
Shawna Coronado says Get Health! Get Green! Get Community!