Category Archives: Trash

Parenting Fail: The Litterbug

One of the hard things about being a parent is that you constantly have an audience. And they are paying attention. All the time. I’ve written before about the stupid things I’ve done or said in front of my kids that have come back to bite me. That’s part of parenting.

wpid-img_20150628_181030.jpgThe other day we were riding bike home from Union Station, where we had stopped to play in the fountains and eat ice cream. A favorite Sunday night activity for Sheppards. On the way to the street, I rode by a trash can to throw away the ice cream cups I had in my hand. I hit a bump and one of the itty bitty plastic spoons fell out of my hand onto the sidewalk.

I kept riding.

I left the plastic spoon on the sidewalk three feet from the trash can.

I know, I know. I’m the worst. I should have just stopped, bent down and picked it up.

But here’s the bigger problem.


Big Brother was right behind me. Watching me.

After I dropped it, he started yelling ahead to his dad to stop, because we had to pick up the garbage. Only we didn’t stop. And I told him it was okay, we weren’t stopping, Tim wouldn’t leave us.

“You’re not gonna pick it up?”

“No, buddy, it’s okay. We need to catch up to Dad,” I replied.


We rode in silence for a few moments. Then he spoke again.

“Is littering sometimes okay?”

“Yes,” I answered, then immediately thought of all the times they’ve just wanted to leave their picnic messes at the park. “I mean no. Well, maybe sometimes.” Well no, actually, I can’t think of a time when they should litter. “Um, no, never. Ugh. Nope, I was wrong, I should’ve stopped and got it. That was my bad. Never litter, okay?”


Have your kids caught you littering? Or something else? Want to share your latest Parenting Fail?


Trashy Town

My sons have become garbage collectors. No, not that kind. They don’t get paid for their work, unfortunately. But they enjoy putting trash where it belongs. And one of their favorite books is this:  Trashy TownWhen Big Brother was a baby I got him started on throwing away garbage if he found it where it doesn’t belong. In his world this meant the playground, library, hallway outside our apartment, etc. I want them to grow up to be responsible citizens and this is one aspect of that. We take care of our neighborhood.

However, this has grown beyond my control. We live in the middle of a city that is covered in garbage. It’s not a gross city, it just has a lot of garbage around in the curbs, corners of everywhere, and sidewalks. At the playground today Little Guy found a juice bottle and told me he wanted to throw it away. So we found a trash can and tossed it. There was filth all over the ground by the can and I was praying that he wouldn’t get the urge to pick it all up. Yuck! I mentioned before how I have found some shady things at the playground, so it makes me a little nervous when they pick up random things to throw away.

So I’m a little stuck. When walking through a parking lot Big Brother has stopped to pick up some sort of litter and I want so badly to say, “It’s okay, you can leave it there. What’s the point anyway? There’s so much garbage, that doesn’t really make a difference.” But you know what? It does make a difference. It makes a difference in my boys’ hearts. And in mine. They are learning to care about the world around them. And there have been times when I’ve told them not to pick up certain things because they really are too dirty/disease laden/soaked/muddy when inside my head I’m screaming, Oh my gosh! Get the heck away from that! But touching regular garbage is something I’m learning to be okay with. They can always wash their hands later.

Do your kids enjoy picking up trash?