Why we should all be more childish.

We took child monster to his football training session today. The pitch is surrounded by a bank with a busy road at the top. The bank is covered in litter thrown from passing cars. Child monster had become a bit disengaged with the session and started picking up litter from the bank, handing it to his coach.

I could feel and understand the coach’s frustration. He’d given up his Saturday morning to volunteer with other people’s kids and here was one not listening to the activity and handing him dirty crisp packets. I thought about all the times child monster had done this to me when we were busy trying to get from A to B with three bags of shopping and a grumpy toddler monster; of the times when he’d asked me to stop the car to collect a bottle he’d seen in the hedge, not realising how late we were for school.

I took child monster to one side and explained that, although he was right to worry about the rubbish, maybe now was not a good time. “But I need to save this world, mummy,” he replied.

And it occurred to me that he’s right. What could possibly be more important? As adults, we see environmental issues through lenses of adult problems; social etiquette, cost, time, convenience. Children don’t have those filters. They are better at seeing the wood for the trees.

We’ve all been inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and the recent school strikes. Young people with passion and commitment for a cause, taking the initiative and putting us grown-ups and our inaction to shame. And yes it can be argued that our young people do not have the pressures of bills, holding down a job, providing for a family. They do not see or fully understand the sacrifices that must be made. But ultimately, it’s their tomorrow that we’re sacrificing right now.

I’m not going to preach about other people’s choices. We must each make those decisions for ourselves, whether that’s cutting down our foreign holidays, writing to your MP or making ethical purchase choices. But I’ll certainly be stopping to pick up the plastic bottles in future and thinking about the other excuses I find for not making the right choice.

I took child monster litter picking when we got home.

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