Most times this consists of reminding everyone to turn off the lights or TV when they leave a room. If the heat or air-conditioning is on, I ask to please refrain from opening the windows in their bedrooms since we are not heating (or cooling) the outdoors. Words I can still hear my own mother saying to me and my siblings countless times, but I suspect in those days before the consciousness of global warming erupted she was inspired more by the practical side of things.
I feel that for the most part my kids get it, they understand the concept of waste and avoiding it; they do try to recycle most everything they consume thanks to the Recycling Handbook and of course to lots of gentle reminders from me. Same goes for emphasizing the importance of unplugging the cord from the wall after their phones are fully charged and no longer attached to it since electricity is still being sucked out—even without a receptacle at the end of it—and creating emissions.
And while I’m on the topic of cell phones, my greatest challenge continues to be to separate my kids from theirs. I’ve tackled the off-limits rule for dinner and homework, but I am finding it way harder to emphasize those in-between moments. Particularly in the car, those former ideal captive-audience moments, which seemingly have become less and less frequent, have turned into spontaneous creativity sessions that force me to produce at least one leading question that would prevent my daughter from giving me monosyllabic answers. It’s a tough game, one I tend to feel I lose more times than not.
Although, I did have a minor achievement this past weekend when we were about to go to the store and I challenged her to leave the phone at home, since we would return in under an hour. Without argument, she placed it on the table and continued on her way out the door. I was thrilled, and, yes, a bit surprised too, that she acquiesced without an argument or a sigh.
Once in the car, she briefly departed from the usual teen temperament I’ve apprehensively grown accustomed to and shared how much she was looking forward to school ending and summer beginning.
I have been a parent long enough not to be disillusioned into thinking her excitement in any way stemmed from the anticipation of spending more quality time with the family. Indeed, it was more to emphasize the number of days left before she leaves for seven weeks of summer camp.