Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

It Wastes Precious Energy Typing this Title

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I’m so proud of my son. Without ever receiving a lecture on the importance of conserving water, he somehow intuits that he should not flush the toilet after use. It must be something we did as parents.

A cynic would dismiss this didactic accomplishment as nothing more than laziness. Bah! I say (“Bah!”). My son doesn’t need me to teach him laziness, though if he did, he couldn’t ask for a more suitable role model. No, I remain convinced that this behavior is the very fulfillment of a generation of ecological sloganeering: if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down (if that evokes some dear memories, or perhaps nausea, I apologize).

You see, he also conserves time and effort when it comes to school work: only the quickest, easiest, least demanding course of action will receive consideration. Sometimes this involves skipping the work altogether. I know he has absorbed this skill set from the best, because I exhibited the same concern for conservation when I was his age. My parents were not environmentalists by any stretch of the imagination – typical suburban family in so many ways, except that the number of kids did not involve fractions – but I nevertheless managed to negotiate my way through much of grade school with minimal effort, somehow maintaining a decent GPA.

His brother, of course, has begun to follow in the same footsteps, but naturally, as a first-grader, has yet to master many of the nuances of the weltanschauung. He has yet to dissociate classroom and schoolyard misbehavior from the academic slouchery, but I can’t blame him; many of his classmates engage in the slouchery not as a point of ecological concern, but as a personality statement. It will take some time for him to pick up on the middle path that has served me and the older one so well. In the meantime, however, he has raised chore evasion to an art form, and I can no longer tell whether my chest swells with pride or fury.

His displays of conservation, in turn, have had their impact on our three-year-old, who has taken to pleading fatigue as soon as any cleaning or putting away comes over the horizon. She even asks me to eat her main course for her, so she can get to dessert. She’s brilliant!

I can only imagine in what ways the little one will establish himself as a paragon of conservation, but keep in mind this is the one who doesn’t need to expend the effort of getting to the toilet in the first place, so in some respects he’s way ahead of the oldest. I’m full of such…wait, is that pride or nausea?



Written by Thag

March 22, 2011 at 2:45 pm

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