We all want to raise great kids who love God, family, neighbor, country, academics, their planet! Parenting is one of the biggest responsibilities and privileges any individual embarks upon in this lifetime and living into that role responsibly is wise stewardship of a very precious resource entrusted to us by God.
Even if we are perfect stewards of the earth, but fail to teach our children these principles, our impact will only be felt in our lifetime. If we impart this wisdom and routine to our children, the impact could go on long into the future as well as outwards during any given point in history. What are some simple ways to begin?
Below are some ideas to get you started. There is a plethora of resources out there. Start looking around for the action plans that work best for your family. Most of these items are merely taking concepts that we should be living out as stewards of God’s creation but on the child’s level. Doing so will help your child understand why you are doing certain things and also provides a door to open the conversation of shaping and educating him/her on the intricacy, beauty and complexity of this planet we’ve been placed upon:
- Talk about and live out conservation with your children. Discuss the importance of individual action on water conservation, reducing food waste, turning off electrical appliances when not in use, etc. You know the ideas: shorter showers, watering plants with gray water, using power strips to reduce phantom electrical usage, switching to efficient lighting choices, composting, preparing and eating food with an eye towards reducing waste, living smaller in all consumptive ways be it home size, new car, exotic food choices, new toy, etc... Talk to your kids about all these things and more. They will have interesting insights; and, once you harness their power, your household impact will be that much greater.
- Encourage them to look for ways to put these principles into action in their school.
- Volunteer with Wachovia Garden in Old Salem. This is a community garden coordinated by the Sanders family and others in our church family. Fresh produce is grown and harvested and donated to Sunnyside Ministry clients. Contact Ashley Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org or 655-1714 or for more info.
- Teach your children the importance of regular car maintenance and the effect that can have on mileage and then the exponential reduction in fuel use that has over time.
- When in the beautiful natural world anywhere on the planet, talk to your children about the holiness of God’s creation and how he was pleased with it as he made it. He made us stewards of it. Genesis 1.
- Show your kids how you properly dispose of environmentally toxic waste and discuss why this is so very important. They will ask questions you may not know the answer to but you can find the answers together. See March 2013 article in Home to Home newsletter for information on proper disposal. All back articles will soon be posted on the website.
- Carpool and have them work out the math as to how that reduces fuel usage as well as promotes community.
- Work together to produce as little waste as possible in all areas of your home life: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. If your children are working on learning weights and measures, you could start weighing your garbage and trying to reduce the amount that goes to the curb each week.
- This is the perfect season to discuss the importance of home maintenance, insulation and proper use of thermostat controls to reduce home energy use. Show them where the insulation is in the house and what its purpose is and work to reduce drafts under doors, windows, etc. If you have last year’s electrical meter readings or gas usage, see if you can reduce your usage this year. Talk about what you would like to do with the saved money as well as what the reduced fossil fuel usage means for our planet.
Let’s harness our biggest resource: our children!
Proverbs 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
—Helen Bushnell Beets for the Earth Stewards Team