Do you learn about sustainable living in a classroom? Or is sustainability something that is experienced through practice in every day life? What if you live in the city, or in the suburbs? When you think about sustainable living, how do you limit yourself and tell yourself it is too hard … or it won’t work for you … or you don’t know where to start.
I promise it is not too hard to start. It takes a decision to create something sustainable, and maybe some fond memories. Hmmm, let’s give it a go now.
What are the times you most remember from your childhood? What are the first things that spring to mind?
I bet your answer is not about the things, but about times … moments … occasions. I remember the times my mum used to pick me up from school on her bike, and we would ride to the local skating rink once a week. I remember my Dad taking me jogging, and teaching me tai-chi. I remember the holiday when my mum took us all to Great Keppel Island camping. Fun times. When I remember these times I remember the love, the presence, the connection.
Creating future Blue Planet Custodians doesn’t have to be difficult. Teaching your children about sustainable living starts with showing up in their lives. As the saying goes … Children don’t need your presents, they just want your presence.
To create a sustainable life … a life of love, of connection, of meaning … children need you.
What a great place to start! ‘YOU’ doesn’t need money, or wide open spaces, or even expert knowledge. All it takes is a little bit of quality time.
In the recent school holidays we visited Kondalilla Falls, a beautiful waterfall near Montville in the Sunshine Coast hinterland of Australia, about 20 minutes from our home. Our eldest child had been on the ‘long’ loop walk to the falls before, and her little sister was excited to see ‘The Dragon Cave’ (so named by Abby and her friend after their first visit).
We decided we would go that morning and immediately the children sprang to action. They packed dried fruit, rice crackers, nuts, mandarins and oranges – enough to sustain them for an entire day, despite our trip only being a few hours. They were excited. When we arrived they ran along the path, chased the bush turkeys, they even hugged the huge trees along the path. When we arrived at the falls they went for a swim in the pools. It is Winter and we thought the water was freezing, so we drew the line at getting ourselves wet!
Will they remember this day? Of course. Why? Because it was fun! There was love … connection … presence. We were together, and that is what they want.
There was no test. There was no requirement to pass or fail. The ‘designated learning outcome’ is love … and fun … and connection. We talked about nothing in particular, we connected with the earth, with each other, and we noticed the sights and sounds of the rainforest.
Was it necessary for us to be botanical experts? No! (Well, not that I’m aware of now anyway!). Together with our children we created moments in time infused with the vibration of love.
We’re teaching our children sustainability because we’re creating experiences together, which can be duplicated at any moment. And in this moment we live sustainably. As we watch them play, laugh, run and swim, we grow stronger as the feelings of love and happiness predominate.
It’s simple. We are all teachers and we are all learners. When we accept this, we take simple steps to create sustainable living. We accept that our children are here to teach us as much as we are here to teach them. We do not need to outsource the teaching of happiness. We create it and our children appreciate it. We live and we learn.
They grow happy and healthy, and they want to do the same for their children one day. And so begins a cycle of sustainability.
Go on. Give it a go. Take your kids to the local national park. Let them learn. Let them play. And watch them. Then watch you and notice how you feel. Notice how much they appreciate you and your time, your love, and how grateful they are that you are you.
Is that happiness?!