Jesus himself spoke out against wasting even when they had baskets of bread left from feeding the 5,000. Jesus told the disciples: "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted" (John 6:12). Despite performing a miracle and feeding that mean with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread, he was concerned about the leftovers too! As with everything he did, I believe this is just one more thing for us to notice and take note.
My suggestion is to have a family waste assessment week, followed by a planning session to make some changes. You don’t have to go crazy or start straining turnips but this is my suggestion for having a family lesson on wastefulness.
Start with showing off something someone created (or ask for someone to make something up real quick). The more time that was initially put into the creation, the more profound the realization would be for that person. Perhaps even a creation show and tell might be a great idea. Discuss how one might feel it this creation was just thoughtlessly trashed or cast away.
Next, discuss all the things God created and what the bible says about wasting. Read the story of feeding the 5,000 in John chapter 6 and place the emphasis on how Jesus responded to the leftovers.
Ask each family member to spend the next week looking for area that they are very wasteful. Give some examples of things that are often wasted. Examples for them may be: water, food, paper, clothing etc. Encourage them to look all around them. This is not to police each other or tattletale either. Teamwork is one thing to be emphasized in this endeavor. Changes like this are best made as a unit, not as a dictatorship. Perhaps have a notepad, white board, or sticky notes where someone can jot down discoveries.
At the end of this week, work together for a game plan on making changes. Perhaps make changes slowly, implementing a few each week. We want enthusiasm in this, and not bitterness. Some kind of family reward system may be needed or simply welcomed.
I will tell you some of the things we do in our family:
· Compost- food scraps are recycled to make our garden rich and productive.
· Plastic food containers with lids (like cool whip bowls, margarine tubs, etc) or jars are washed and reused almost every time.
· Out grown clothing that is good condition is passed down to younger siblings, cousins or others that we know can benefit from the clothing. Only when we can’t find a recipient for the clothing, do we donate it to a random charity. Even clothing in poor condition gets ripped up for rags.
· Leftovers are eaten for lunch or sometimes frozen for when we are really busy.
· When we can’t use something, we take it to the charity garage sale that yearly raises money for two near and dear charities in which we help work every year. This allows the kids to see the things they once had, go on to benefit the community and the charities.
The idea is not to add tons of work to an already busy schedule. We don’t have to fanatical or obsessive but we can teach the kids a different way of living. People who are less wasteful also tend to be less impulsive in purchases as well (read: a future with less debt).
I would love to know what ideas your family come up with! Please share in your comments below.