How My Mother Taught Me to Love Mother Earth

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In honor of Mother’s Day, I figured I should pick on my mom a little bit. Mothers can be embarrassing, right? I mean, at least that’s what you think when you’re a kid.

I was a middle schooler (prime parental embarrassment age) when one day my mom and I were stopped behind a train, second in line behind another car. The outstretched arm of the driver ahead of us unashamedly tossed some trash out their window. Mom’s face morphed from disgust to rage, and she decided that she wasn’t going to let that happen on her watch. I sank deeper into my seat as she got out of the car to retrieve the litter.

After a knock, knock, knock on the car window, the offending driver rolled it down. “Excuse me, you dropped this,” Mom said as she courteously handed the trash back to its rightful owner and proudly walked back to our car.

Obviously I was mortified. I was probably a total butthead and either told her she was stupid for doing that or gave her the silent treatment the rest of the way home. But now, looking back, my mom was a rock star for taking a stand and setting an example.

Maybe that litterer was even more embarrassed by the situation than I was and my mother’s actions changed their ways. Maybe that exact incident is what laid the groundwork for my passion for keeping our planet clean. At a very minimum, my mom picked up trash that day, and in doing so, created a memory for me that would last a lifetime.

Never underestimate the power of cleaning up the environment as a bonding experience with family members, friends, or other members of the community. Working together toward a common goal and making a positive impact on the planet is a truly enriching and unifying experience. Don’t be afraid to challenge the thinking of peers that might not yet see the importance of keeping our earth free of pollution. Seize opportunities to instill good values in our children; even if they don’t yet see eye to eye, the seed is planted and the message is conveyed.

Thank you, Mom, for teaching me to nurture and care for Mother Earth with the same passion that you have always nurtured and cared for me.

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