Heart – Home – Planet
How does a mom dwell well in her heart, her home AND her planet?
We can start by orienting ourselves to the biblical world view that God first made the world. Genesis 1-3 set forward the act of his creation in such a way that we are clearly called, as humankind, to care for the people of his world – as well as the planet on which we dwell.
As followers of Christ, each of us has a calling to care for our Father’s world. Just because we’re Christians, with eyes set on heaven and helping others access it, we don’t get “out” of earthly responsibilities. Better moms make a better world.
In addition to our care for the planet, we acknowledge the value and dignity of all the people on the planet. God cares for each individual, and Jesus came for each person, so as his followers, we have a responsibility to care for the people of the earth.
This care for planet and people can be lived out in a number of simple ways, but also in the deeper choices and decisions that make up our lifestyles.
Caring for the Planet
Simple steps that you and your family can do together and sustain over the long haul are the most effective way to extend your care to the planet. If these actions are new to you and your family, pick one action to implement right away. When that becomes a habit, add another planet-friendly habit. If you are already doing all these actions, then think about the lifestyle choices section below for additional ways to care for the planet.
Light Bulbs – the next time you need to buy light bulbs, invest low energy long-life bulbs. If you can’t afford to change out all the bulbs in your home, start with the ones that are hardest to change. And turning off lights in unused rooms conserves as well – enlist your children to help in this activity.
Driving – planning and combining trips, or just eliminating some errands can make a significant impact on the planet, and your family will be more relaxed without the extra driving as well.
Thermostat – whatever temperature you are used to, see if your family is comfortable going one degree lower on the heat and a couple of degrees warmer on the air conditioning (if you use air conditioning). On days that are not forecast to be too hot, do without the air conditioning. Close shades on the sunny side of the house and don’t use your oven on hot days. Keep your windows closed when it is warmer outside than inside, and then open them in the evening when it cools off. If your home does not have a programmable thermostat, consider investing in one. You can program it to automatically turn your thermostat down at night, up in the morning, and down when you will be away from your house for significant periods of the day.
Water – clean, fresh water is a luxury on many part of our planet. Even if you live in a part of the country with abundant water, conserving will still reduce the need for additional water storage. But water scarcity is a fact of life in many parts of North America, as well as other countries. Check faucets and toilets for leaks and drips, don’t leave the water running when washing dishes and look for ways to save water in your landscaping. Using less hot water will also save on heating expenses. A blanket wrap for your hot water heater will save money and cut your emissions.
Recycling – take advantage of whatever services are available in your area. Young children can carry newspapers to a recycle bin and flatten cardboard boxes.
The more you recycle, the more you notice the excessive packaging for consumer products. You can start looking for products that have less packaging to reduce your family’s consumption of packaged products.
Do you have ideas for other simple ways to impact the planet? Share your ideas or challenges on the MOPS Community Planet Forum.
Bigger Lifestyle Choices
All of the above are small changes in lifestyle that have an impact on the planet, when many of us collectively make these small changes. However, there are also large changes in lifestyle that you may want to discuss with your family. Issues such as commuting distance, size of house, type of cars and number of cars are all major lifestyle decisions that affect the planet. These lifestyle choices should be a point of discussion as you decide what is important to your family. Notice friends who seem to have a planet-friendly lifestyle and ask them about their choices and decisions.
Caring for the People on the Planet
The season of mothering young children is a great time to increase your awareness of the variety of people groups on the planet and to expand your children’s horizons by living in a globally aware manner. Here are some simple ways to increase awareness of people on the planet:
Other People-Groups in Your Own Town
Perhaps your town has immigrant populations or international students at a local university. Be intentional about shopping in international markets or eating at ethnic restaurants. Talk with your children about the variety of ways that people live around the planet. Have a globe and world map handy in your home to talk about people in other parts of the world.
Many universities and colleges have international student populations. Often international students would like an English language conversation partner to chat with them for an hour a week to improve their English. Check with the international student office at a nearby university to find such a program.
Awareness through Literature
Choose storybooks at the local library that talk about children and families in other parts of the world. Use these as a springboard to discussion. Even simple games such as hopscotch are played in different ways around the world. Find a book with games from other countries and go around the world on your driveway, trying out games from other cultures.
In addition to great children’s literature, expand your own personal reading to include fiction and nonfiction that addresses global issues. Recent titles such as Reading Lolita in Tehran , The Kite Runner , A Thousand Splendid Suns , and A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier are just a few titles that you can find at your local library to extend your global awareness. You don’t have to agree with all the viewpoints in literature to expand your awareness.
Awareness through Action
Operation Christmas Child is a great way to instill global awareness and generosity into the lives of young children. Help your child pack a shoebox gift for a child in another country and talk about the needs of children who have limited access to food, water, healthcare, education and secure homes. For more information go to www.MOPS.org/occ.
To connect with a child in another country on an ongoing basis and to make a difference in the life of one child through education, social, health, nutrition and spiritual development, Compassion International child sponsorships are an excellent family opportunity and commitment. Your sponsorship of a child makes a difference for that child and family, and one child at a time, we are improving the planet by caring for these children. www.MOPS.org/compassion.
A foundation of awareness of the people on the planet in the early years of your children’s life will enable you to discuss and consider actions related to more complex issues as they grow. Issues such as HIV/AIDS, fair trade and other global issues can be approached from the context of the value of each person on the planet, and the dignity of each life. Whether or not your children are old enough to understand the importance and impact of these issues, they will understand the attitudes and actions of a mom who cares deeply for the broken and hurting people and places on this planet.
Talk with other moms about ways that you can make a difference for the people on the planet on the Planet Forum.
Simply Ideas to Put Into Action
- Babysitting co-op – Parents Night Out
- Sponsor a needy family
- Meals for families with new babies/job loss/health concerns
- Clean nursery toys
- Paint nursery rooms
- Car wash
- Prayer support
- Book/toy drive/exchange
- Great Moms Walk
- Race for the Cure
- Rescue Mission – soup kitchen
- Decorate a room at a shelter/transitional home
- Clothes/toy drive
- Serve a meal at Ronald McDonald House
- Women’s health conference
- Craft with nursing home residents
An African Awakening: My Journey into AIDS Activism by Valerie Bell (World Vision, 2007)
Our Father’s World: Mobilizing the Church to Care for Creation by Edward Brown (Doorlight, 2006)
Saving God’s Green Earth: Rediscovering the Church’s Responsibility to Environmental Stewardship by Tri Robinson (Ampelon, 2006)
Serve God, Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action by J. Matthew Sleeth and Chelsea Green (Zondervan, 2006)