Saturday, June 15, 2013

Learning to Live with Uncomfortableness

Living with a little joyful uncomfortableness, we will save the earth. These are the words of a seven-year-old  kindergarten student whose words appeared in a recent Peace Weekly article. For many years there have been many movements around  the world to cut down on our consuming habits, and we have seen some satisfying results. A  small segment of the population in Korea is making an effort to change the way they look at the  environment and to follow up with practical measures. .

The boy in the article  introduces himself as a member of a family of 5, with two older sisters, and then tells us what his family has done to live more environmentally conscious:
"We don't have a television. When my parents were out, I turned on the TV and it went on the blink. My father said that to fix it  would cost as much as to buy a new one, so they decided not to buy. In the beginning, it was difficult. I couldn't watch my cartoons but with the passage of time it was no big deal. My parents put a bookcase where the TV used to be, and very naturally our family came together to read. Now, if I don't hear my two sisters reading out loud in the evening, I find it difficult to go to sleep.

Our family has also become experts at saving electricity and water; it surprises our neighbors. When in the morning we go to the toilet to urinate, my sisters go first and I go last. When this is done we save a great deal of water, needing only three bottles of water the size of a milk bottle; that is all that is needed to flush in the morning.

We have also cut done the use of electricity in the same way. When our father turns off the computer, the girls do the same. It would be unheard of to have a light on in a room not used, or a cord still in the socket when the light or an appliance is not being used.  Mother says this will save about 20 or 30 dollars a month. We eat only food that is grown environmentally friendly, and do not drink any beverages from the market. And mother makes her own yogurt, which beats anything you can buy.
My father is a middle school teacher of English, but he's not sending us to any academies to learn English. He feels that a child should not have to spend all his time studying but have plenty of time to play.  He makes one exception about avoiding all academies, for he hopes to have a family band someday: I am going to an academy to learn the piano. My father is in charge of the church band. 

Do you know what makes our family different? We are putting into practice the joyful uncomfortableness I have learned in kindergarten. With a little uncomfortableness, we are able to save the earth from  getting warmer and  being  destroyed.  When the earth is sick, what is going to happen to us? he asks.
When  a child can know this, and be as concerned as he is, shouldn't everyone else as well?