Baby Steps: A mother teaches environmental stewardship, one gum wrapper at a time

Raising an eco-minded child can be tough in a Barbie doll world

By Gretchen Roberts

At Target she is drawn to the Dollar Spot, where toys galore cost less than a visit from the Tooth Fairy. "Mom! Look at this toy, can I get it? Please? Please? Please?"

She wears me down, and I put the toy in the cart. Two steps back. We go home and I ask her to sort all the toys in her toy box into two piles: one to keep, and one to give to other kids who don't have as many toys as she does. When she calls me back to inspect the piles, I am pleased and surprised to see that they are almost equal in size. One step forward.

Friends with older children tell me to persevere. "She'll thank you later," they say. I hope they're right, that by teaching Kate how to do small things to conserve our planet's resources, she'll learn large lessons that she'll take with her when she's grown, living her own life. Two steps forward.

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