I was upset with myself after school today when I asked my son to pick up two pieces of candy wrappers that we found on the stairs. I asked him to pick up one piece while I picked up the other. He kept repeating that he wasn't the one who threw it and so why pick it up? I tried to explain that it was our school and therefore we need to take care of it but to no avail. I felt embarrassed because people were walking passed us watching us debate. I could not decide whether I was upset because he would not help out or because he did not follow my instructions.
After I had a word with him about it, he asked me, "Are you upset with me over a piece of paper?"
hmmmm... stop... think... what do I answer to that?.... take a deep breath....
"No, I am not upset at you over a piece of paper but because it would be nice to learn from Mama sometimes and to do as she asks just as I do what you ask of me many times. It is also kind to keep our school clean and if we saw something that littered it to pick it up, setting an example to others."
I did say something I am not too proud of though.... I said that I was disappointed in his decision not to listen or help out.
When all I should have done was pick it myself as I usually did and see if in the future he would do the same. I need not ask him to do anything which was my mother's style of teaching about litter. She used to stop people on the streets and ask them to pick up their own litter that they had just thrown out of their car or as they walked by. Her manner with them was so gentle that they agreed with her when she said,"This is our country and we must all take care of it and keep it clean." What can anyone say to that?
I have to admit, that it used to embarrass me when I was 7 years old and if we were in the car, I used to slide under the seat to avoid the people seeing me. But now I do the same. She did not need to tell me to pick things off the street, I just observed her do it many times over. The only thing she actively taught me was never to throw anything on the ground myself but keep it in my pocket or hand, and later car, until I found a trash can.
if he saw that I picked up the candy wrappers without saying a word, the action might have registered and he might do the same in the future.
Would love to read what you think?