Yesterday, my son and I were on a road trip. We had stopped at a health food store along the way and purchased a sandwich. As we were driving through the beautiful ancient redwood forest, my son rolled down the window and tossed the remains of his lunch.
I was shocked! My kids have been raised to protect the earth. Why did he think it would be alright to litter?
At first he denied these actions. He knew by my reaction that he had done something wrong. When I asked to see the remains of his sandwich, he admitted his mistake. We turned around.
That’s right. We turned the car around and drove back to find the sandwich, and we found it.
I didn’t want him walking along the side of the road, as I felt it was dangerous. As I walked looking for his litter, I saw a slew of coffee cups, chip bags, plastic water bottles, etc. It broke my heart.
When I returned to the car, my son was genuinely pleased I had found it. I also realized why he thought it might be ok to throw his sandwich from the window.
We live in a rural, mountainous region. On back dirt roads, we do throw out our banana peels, apple cores, etc. I know this food waste will compost, and I know that some animal will not be hit by a car trying to fetch it because there are no cars. Some people feel you should not feed wildlife food scraps, but it is not of great concern to me. I have seen a bear in my compost pile. They will find it anyways if they are animals living where humans also dwell. That being said, I think it is dangerous for animals if you through food scraps out the window on major roads, like I was traveling with my son. Beside, his sandwich had been wrapped in plastic wrap. That was my greatest concern.
As humans, we make mistakes. It’s guaranteed. Our children will make mistakes. How we respond to this mistakes should be to find the lesson in them.
My lesson for my son was not just about littering, it was about correcting your mistakes if you can. When we teach our children to mitigate the negative effects of their actions, they learn to heal, to say I am sorry, to feel compassion, and to hopefully learn from their mistakes.