There is a creek near the elementary school that is littered, REALLY littered. Water bottles, cans, wrappers, plastic bags, bottle caps, and paper litter both sides of the creek.
For weeks, I have stared at it during pick-up time thinking something needs to be done. “When their Dad can do it with us . . . .”
And, I realized that I was selling my kids short. As long as I gave them parameters for safety, we could figure out a way to get into the creek, collect the garbage, and get back up without getting hurt. I was a bit fearful of snakes, but if I was careful and prepared, we should be fine.
I grabbed trash bags, a rake (for me to check for snakes and reach for trash), gloves, and mud boots.
We picked up my 6 year old from school, walked 30 paces, and we got right to it. Collecting trash from a yucky, muddy, and stinky creek. (Mind you, if there wasn’t so much trash in it, I don’t think it would stink as much.)
I used the rake to pull the trash out. Handed it to the boys and they were able to get it into the bags. We also walked a bit down the creek and collected from the bank of the creek.
And, you know what, kids were asking what we were doing. Kids wanted to do it with us (a couple of moms did kind of look on in horror–it was gross–but we didn’t let that stop us).
My boys said things like:
“We are doing a little service. Our penny of time.”
“We are helping our environment.”
“We are trying to take care of our earth.”
And the cool moms said things like:
“You are making this look so much better.”
“Let me know when you want to do this again and we’ll help.”
We bagged up our trash, cleaned our hands, and took the trash home to do the really yucky part. Sorting the trash. I teach my boys the importance of recycling and being good stewards of our resources, the Earth’s resources. I just couldn’t toss a couple of litter bags that have things we recycle at home straight into the trash.
So, I got out that yucky litter, and we sorted it. Thankfully, there was nothing in good enough shape to reuse because it really did stink. We recycled what needed to be recycled and trashed what needed to be trashed.