If you’re not prepared for a little preachin’ , just go ahead and delete this !
Because I’m talkin’ TRASH , serious trash, all over our community . And the key word here is OUR. Not your and not my, but OUR.
Byron and I had a delightful road trip up the East Coast, into New England, and on to Nova Scotia several years ago. Loved it all and every minute . But the real kicker was Nova Scotia and its lack of blemishes.
Indisputably the cleanest place we’ve ever seen. No litter, no junk, no mess——–because the people are proud and caring.
Byron is an early riser, and drinking his coffee at 5:00 am, he watched the street cleaners doing their thing. But the most interesting observation was that they had little to do——–because the people cared and took pride in a clean and wholesome environment. Go figure !
Street cleaners are taking on the symptoms. The citizens must attack the disease.
Indisputably, expecting to change the unconcerned and uninterested minds of adults is, for the most part , hopeless. And children, for the most part, follow suit.
So, what IS the answer ?
EDUCATION ! Teaching the value of a clean, ” trashless ” environment from pre-school through high school. Teaching the value of pride in our community. Teaching the value of service. Teaching the value of doing the right thing for the right reason. Teaching the value of caring : for others, for self-satisfaction, for the future.
And I am not just speaking of education in the school environment. We expect wa-a-a-y too much of our over-worked , under-paid teachers and staff anyway. Education must be generic, including all of us.
However, schools are the anchors for progress, and if we choose to take the route of eliminating trash in our community, schools will take the lead. Others , too , can be effective : Scouts, Sunday Schools, day cares, athletic teams, play groups , city councils, commissioners———–you get the gist.
Our schools offer what children need, and , in many instances, what they do not get at home. Our schools are security blankets, comfort zones, learning fields, stability, support, anchors, etc.
Our teachers are caring, supportive, smart, and realistic. They respond to the baggage too many kids bring.
But professional educators cannot ( and should not ) do it alone !
HOWEVER , WHAT IF:
………..pre-schools took a walking tour , picking up trash and then rewarded ? A cookie……..
…….. elementary schools had contests for the most trash brought in , thrown away and then rewarded ? An extra recess…….
……..middle schools had contests of some sort that rewarded realistic litter clean-ups? A pep rally …….
……….. service clubs in high schools focused on a pristine community ? A sense of satisfaction in a job well done ……
And the ultimate outcome in educating our children is NO MORE LITTERING. Cleaning up after others is the beginning. The prize lies in pride of ownership.
It does take a village and the very best villages are grounded in education. And I know that teachers are the best role models we have ——and the creative minds we need.
But I repeat : IT IS NOT THEIR JOB ALONE.
Take a ride in your neighborhood, your town, your countryside. Look closely at what could be, but isn’t , because of trash, everywhere and anywhere.
And, perhaps—– PERHAPS—- STOP TO PICK IT UP.
The toothpaste can never be put back in the tube. Forget the adults. Go with the kids !