We live within walking distance of a small mountain and in the summertime the kids love to go hike to the top of it. So last week when the high school kids had a day off, Shad took advantage of that and the warm weather and went for a hike. I watched him leave with his backpack on his back. Even though it is a short hike, the kids always like to bring along some water and a snack, which they often save until they get to the top.
After he left, I busied myself with my long to-do list and didn’t think much about him. I started washing my heaping piles of dirty laundry, ground some wheat for the bread I would make, and spent some time with the three toddlers who aren’t yet in school.
About the time my bread dough was rising, Shad walked in the door looking winded but refreshed and invigorated too. He took a seat on the kitchen stool and proceeded to tell me about his hike. I put the bread in the oven to bake and sat down across from him to listen. He started talking about how pretty it was up there and then he got this disturbed look on his face and said, “But some people left a bunch of garbage up there!” He was really bothered by it and I was glad because then at least I knew that he would never knowingly litter.
What he did next surprised me. He proceeded to open his backpack and empty the contents. It was full of the garbage that he had seen lying on the ground, carelessly left by some other hiker or biker. I just looked at him and thought, “Wow, I’m so proud of him!” I said to him, “Shad, I think it’s awesome that you care enough about nature that you would clean up after someone else like that.”
He walked out of the kitchen with a little smile at being acknowledged like that and I thought to myself…’The four of us parents may not be perfect, but we must be doing something right!”