I taught a Sunday School class once that included children ages 6-12. I wanted to teach the kids how to create a vision board as a fun way of seeing what was important to them and making their dreams a reality.
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One of the things I loved about this experience was the way it made clear what was going on inside these wonderful little humans.
We had some of our best discussions during this project. The kids let down their guard and opened up more when they were looking at magazine pictures and had glue on their hands.
There is one memory I have of this experience that came to mind this morning as I was thinking about Earth Day and what it means to me.
The girl's name was Melanie. Melanie, an intense little seven-year old, was deeply intent on her vision board each Sunday. Usually one of the big talkers, I had noticed her silence as she cut out her pictures and carefully put them in place.
The day came for the big reveal. I asked the kids to present their vision to the class and tell us what it meant to them.
Melanie looked pleased with her work and began speaking with a passion about it. She talked about the earth and how we needed to take care of it. She mentioned various plants and she was especially exuberant about the animals she had chosen.
We had a lively discussion about her vision and then it struck me. Melanie did not have a single person on her vision board. I asked her about this and her answer stopped me in my tracks.
'People are bad,' she said. 'Bad.
I don't like people, they ruin everything.'
I was torn between laughing and crying at this statement. She was so earnest and sincere, and darn cute to boot. The laughter was bubbling up in me.
What made me want to cry was the fact that this little angel had such a negative view of her own species.
'You are people,' I pointed out to her.
'I am people. Your parents are people.'
She looked at me as if I had sprouted horns. "That's not what I meant," she said incredulously, "I meant OTHER PEOPLE!"
The lesson I taught that day and the one I was reminded of today on the Eve of Earth Day is that we people are a part of nature, too. We are responsible for both the good and the bad our species has created.
I believe most people are Good.
I think that most of our bad comes from being unaware, unconscious and feeling unloved.
I wonder how we would treat the earth if we treated ourselves and each other better?
I know that when I am loving to myself and those around me I naturally take good care of my environment. When I feel bad about myself and blame others for what I perceive is wrong, I am much more likely to ignore my natural instincts.
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