Friday, September 6, 2013

Eco Modelling with Kids

Queen Composter shares the impact of living by example. 

Sometimes I worry that I am not explicit enough about the reasons for my actions, and that my views about living mindfully and being environmentally conscious are not clear to my daughters. Sometimes, however, we don’t need to be explicit and vocal because our actions speak louder than words.

I am passionate about gardening, and as a newbie gardener who has so much left to learn, I am often reading about gardening, talking about my garden and spending time in my garden just walking around and observing everything. My daughters eventually follow me outside and wander around with me, asking questions about what I am doing.

After watching me observing things and then coming inside and googling something I am wondering about, my girls decided that they wanted to learn more about the life cycle of ladybugs that were all over my plants, feasting on aphids. They now consider themselves ladybug experts and they delight in telling adults that ladybug larvae cannot be trusted. More importantly, they have learned about natural pest control, as well as respecting other garden pest predators like wasps. They also know the importance of bees because for a time my squash were not developing when they were not getting pollinated. 

My girls love these images from our garden; ladybug larva, pupa and adult.

This summer my daughters have spent a great deal of time playing “farmer”. They dress up in their farmer boots and wander around my garden wearing their garden gloves, with their toy wheelbarrow and shovel. 

My three year old is harvesting pumpkins from our
backyard pumpkin patch.

I realized I needed to give them their own gardening plot to plant seeds and really be farmers (I am a little bit controlling about “my garden”). They are so proud of their garden and want to know if the food at our table is from their garden bed. They now feel like stewards of any seeds or little plants they find and are forever planting seeds in any available dirt.

My little farmers (see their boots?) are watering their garden.

I believe in the power of modeling to change behaviour because it does not involve preaching, it involves doing. Children do not have to listen, they just have to watch, which is much easier to process.

This summer at a local beach we watched a large group leave garbage all over. I began picking up the plastic cups that were strewn about, and after watching me, my six year old ran down to the water’s edge to pick up plastic water bottles and cups that were starting to float away. She ran back to me with her cache and said that she was so worried about the animals in the ocean getting sick or hurt by the plastic.

Sadly, we found all this in five minutes.

This world does need vocal advocates and activists to inspire people to make change. We need people like David Suzuki to lead the climate change battle to convince corporations and governments to take action. If we want the next generation move beyond our rhetoric and take action, however, we need to live mindful lives now. Never underestimate the power of modelling. 

1 comment:

Betsy (Eco-novice) said...

Love this post, Amber. Super inspiring -- esp. the kids having their own garden.


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