Children are NOT Eco-friendly

I don’t consider environmental concerns to be one of my ‘soapboxes’, but it is something I think is important and tend to watch out for. I recycle, conserve water, buy CFL bulbs and more, both in an effort to conserve my own dollars and the environment. One thing I’ve realized recently that I’ve had to accept is that my children are not very eco-friendly.
I don’t mean in the sense that they take up space, breath air, eat things, defecate and are much like a parasite feeding off this planet (aren’t we all). No, I’m perfectly okay with that, it’s the other things that bug me.

Things like flushing the toilet three times after going (or not going) on the potty. Using half the roll of toilet paper to wipe with each time, or discovering kleenex and tp can wipe your nose and then using multiple pieces at every sniffle. They drop perfectly good food on the floor, slightly soil the occasional disposable diaper forcing me to use more, and their just plain messy (not that I’m not).

When you sit back and look at it, it is kind of funny. I was surprised by the frustration I felt when they flushed the toilet multiple times. I have full control over my toilet flushing decisions, and no control over most other people’s, so it’s never caused much emotion one way or the other. But, when my own children, to whom I’m trying to instill values (both big and small) flushes multiple times, it hit a nerve I didn’t know was there.

The reality is there are some things you just have to let go, and this is definitely one of them. If a few roles of toilet paper and gallons of water are what it takes for my kiddos to potty train, that’s going to have to be okay with me. I’m gonna be okay with wasting tons of paper and crayons, paint and glue, and more as my children learn and explore, grow in their creativity.

I’ll still conserve water and toilet paper, but I won’t let that get in the way of being gracious with my children.

6 thoughts on “Children are NOT Eco-friendly”

  1. That time when children see nothing but abundance passes away. They get old enough to have conversations about waste. About a year and a half ago we stopped recycling because we were in an apartment and didn't have the space to store the recycling. My then 4 1/2 year old dragged me to the computer, sat me down in front of eccoworld (on PBS kids), made me watch a segment on recycling, and then said, "Mom, now do you understand?"

    I think the sentiment that you've put out there has a lot of truth in it, but also I know that there are more shades of gray. My family of five puts much less trash at the curb each week than many families of two on our street. We have a smaller house and are more likely to shop at the thrift store or do without than most smaller families that we know. We are more likely to walk to get places. So if my family flushes the toilet a few more times than the childless family down the street we are still coming out ahead as far as I can tell.

    Many people who are obsessed with population control want to use the fact that children are sometimes wasteful to make the case that parents are irresponsible for ever having child. It is more about how your raise your children. Your children will learn soon not to waste because you set that example.

  2. We have the opposite problem with the toilet. Emma knows about saving water – so she doesn't flush the toilet. Which for the most part is fine – but she doesn't grasp that there are times when you really really should flush. But the wasting food thing drives me nuts.

  3. I'm with you on the wasting food . . . lol . . . when I watched my sister's five year old, I just waited until she was done eating and ate her leftovers . . . lol

    But I think we need to be careful in this conversation. I've had people actually tell me that having a big family is irresponsible and not what God would want when my understanding of the Scriptures shows me with abundant clarity that people are resource creators and inventors and not merely resource consumers – that mindset is the result of seeing a closed and finite world from a materialistic paradigm. That is not the infinite world that God created and has called us to fill and make full of His abundance and goodness. mmm . . praises!

  4. Yes, I totally agree people are important, and this nothing wrong with us being here. People in the USA however, tend to be a little more abusive of our resources then others, something we need to work on.

    As to the leftovers, I've definitely eaten my fair share, and I've got the growing belly to show for it. Yikes!

  5. Children discover new things – and don't consider the impact as they try them out – then they grow, widen their awareness – discover what their values are, which often reflect their parents values and become responsible adults – Look at yourself! – from Ariah's dad.

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