Do you have any outside resources that help you along the way, or were you raised to be a good steward to the earth and your body? I feel lead to be a better steward of my body and my children’s, to teach them how to care for themselves and the earth. Any suggestions?
What a wonderful question! I am open for lots of ideas from my readers on this one! I personally wasn’t really raised with a strong desire to be a good steward of the earth. I always thought that was just for the environmentalists and they were a little too radical for me. It has only been over the past year that I have grown with a passion for being good stewards of the earth that God has entrusted to us, as I have studied the Word of God, especially the cultural mandate of Genesis 1:26-28. My eyes have been open to see that this is a means of glorifying God as I seek to take care of His creation.
We were made to subdue the earth by making it productive and fruitful and this can be accomplished in many ways just around our homes and in the decisions we make as to purchases. All and all, I believe God is in control of creation and that it will morn and groan until God returns and creates a new heaven and a new earth, but until then I want to strive to be faithful in taking good care of the resources He has entrusted to me, make them productive and seek to bring about good fruit on the earth.
Cornelius Plantinga’s says it this way in his book, Engaging God’s World:
“God gives human beings authority in the created world, what we might call ‘responsible dominion.’ Let them take responsibility for keeping the earth, for respecting the integrity of kinds, and times, and seasons. Christians and others have sometimes taken dominion as justification for the ‘conquest’ of nature…the Bible speaks of dominion, not in the sense of conquest, but in the sense of stewardship…To have dominion is to act like the mediator of creation. This means that a human steward of God’s good creation will never exploit or pillage; instead, she will give creation room to be itself. She will respect it, care for it, and empower it. The person who practices good animal husbandry, forest management, and water conservation shows respect for God by showing respect for what God has made.”
How can we begin to train our children in valuing being good stewards?
1) Start with the Word of God. Start with teaching the cultural mandate. Study God’s creation, emphasizing how He made us stewards of it. Teach them that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit and thus it is important to eat well and exercise. As we teach more about His glorious creation, we can begin planting seeds of valuing the earth as we see His glory on display through it.
2) Begin practicing it yourself and they will follow. Do I treat the earth as God’s creation? Recycling, buying locally grown food, organic foods or growing your own as much as possible, using cloth diapers to avoid waste, using less water while washing dishes and taking less showers, using canvas bags for shopping, choosing natural cleaning supplies, etc. If we teach our children to understand how significantly blessed we are and what others are suffering, we can train them to value conserving water and other things. For other ideas of how we are striving to walk this out in our family, read the Green Living articles. When your children learn that many of these ideas can actually save money in the long run, they will learn that good stewardship is also wisely using our money and resources.
3) Exercise and Cook healthy meals together – again, doing things together can teach these ideas! Practice what we preach and they will catch a vision!
4) Creatively Reuse – be creative and get your children involved in thinking up creative ideas for reusing things in your household before throwing them out. Have an old sheet? What could we make with that? Cloth napkins maybe? Wash clothes? You can search practically anything on the web and find alternative ways to reuse it.
5) Pick up trash together – Carry a trash bag around with you wherever you go. If you taking a walk and see trash around the pathway, pick it up and dispose of it properly. As our children observe us doing it, they will follow.
6) Buy less stuff for your children – the less you buy the more you allow the creative juices to flow! Your children will be more content and learn good stewardship of the little they have. When you choose to buy something, make it yourself or buy from a local or homemade source (Etsy.com for example). Encourage savings. The Story of Stuff video was used as a means to inspire me with a desire to decrease our living and spending in consideration of the impact upon our environment as well as upon our lives. It revealed how we can so easily be ruled by the unending cycle of work, buy, sleep, thinking that the increase of possessions will make us happy. Although not from a Christian perspective, it inspired me to think more seriously upon the long term impact of my purchasing decisions. It made be truly re-evaluate if Christ was my ultimate satisfaction or was I trying unsuccessfully to find it in other means?
Many of these ideas may take more work…but is our goal convenience or good stewardship? Many of these options will provide a more healthy and safe environment for your family as well, thus you will be taking good care of your family!
Unfortunately, I am not aware of any books on this topic of training our children. I hope these ideas help get you started! Please note that not all these ideas will work effectively for every family, each family needs to prayerfully decide how they can play their part in being a good steward.
Does anyone else have any book or resource recommendations? Please share how you are training your children to be good stewards!