I’ve come across an interesting conundrum: teaching my daughter conservationism from an early age. If Neptune had it her way, she would hang out in the bathroom and “wash her hands” with the water running, and her just touching the water, maybe getting some soap to make bubbles. Then she would most likely leave the water running and move to the toilet, where she likes to put tiny scraps of toilet paper into the bowl, then flush it and say: “All gone.” She enjoys flushing the toilet a lot. But she is never left in the bathroom to just hang about. I take her to wash her hands after playing outside. She turns on the water, and I tell her to turn it off when she is done. Then, if I’m feeling generous, I let her put her scrap of TP in the toilet and give it a flush. But I tell her: “Just once, baby. Don’t be wasteful.” And that’s the phrase that I wonder about: did our parents worry about wastefulness in the 80’s? It really wasn’t in style. I know my sister flushed my uncle’s watch down the toilet when she was little, and I would imagine that might have taken a few flushes.
I teach Neptune to be gentle with plants, how to smell flowers and not to kill bugs. Now when we are walking on a path she will stop dead and fall to her hands and knees, focusing intently on a tiny ant. She doesn’t touch it, she just follows it with her eyes. Will she respect the environment more than we do? She almost has to, that our predecessors have forced this situation. Hopefully by the time she can get her license, the world’s oil reserves will have been depleted and the hydrogen car is on the streets.
P.S. Isabelle I tought of you when I wrote this!