It’s funny how easy it is to pick up a bad habit, like eating a handful of fun size Snickers as an afternoon snack because you’ve rationalized that the peanuts inside actually make it healthy. But a good habit can be tough to form. Going green is the perfect example. I can’t tell you how many times in my quest to be more eco-friendly I’ve gotten to the grocery store check out line only to curse myself for forgetting my reusable shopping bags. I finally got so fed up that I did what’s called forced habitation (a made up term that sounds important). I put reusable bags in my car, in my husband’s car, hanging on a hook by the front door, sitting on the floor next to the front door, and in the lunch bag I take with me to work. I no longer have the option of forgetting them.
Achieving a change in your life requires keeping that change in the front of your mind at all times. So recently, when Noble’s friend was having a birthday party and Russ told me he was going to Target for Legos, giftwrap and a card, I thought quickly and acted green. I told him to get the Legos, but skip the wrap and the card…I had something else in mind!
Before the party, with the box of Legos in hand, I pulled out some old coloring book pages Noble had scribbled on and used it to wrap the gift just like I would use any wrapping paper. Then, with the leftover scraps I had cut off the ends, I made a cute bow to stick on top. To do that I just made two large loops that I crisscrossed and stapled together, then one small loop that I stapled on top…and voila! Noble finished up with a note made from another scrap, and we had the perfect, inexpensive and environmentally friendly wrapped gift.
I did something similar with another kid’s gift, but this time I took it a step further. Instead of buying a new gift, I asked Noble and Russ to make some homemade play dough. I placed the dough inside a brown paper bag I’d had, and used a piece of artwork Alistair had made as the tissue paper of sorts. I frayed the top edge of the paper for some interest. Noble stuck his card on the front of the bag, which can easily be removed so the bag can be reused by its’ new owners…and another voila moment was had! An alternative is to have your kids color on the gift bag, but in this case we just didn’t have the time.
When it came time to have our own birthday party…Alistair’s second…I went even one step beyond. As party favors for the kids, I had Noble and Alistair gather a bunch of gently used small toys they don’t play with as much anymore. I washed them all and placed them into a bin. At the end of the party, everyone got the chance to grab a toy and be surprised by what they got. Each one was different, and no waste was added to the world. I was worried that the other parents might find it tacky, but people loved the idea!
While forming a good habit can be difficult, some believe it only takes three times to form any habit at all. I’m hoping this logic is correct, because if it is…looks like momma’s got a new addiction!