We spent a wonderful few hours at the Waterloo Earth Day celebrations today. Lovely day, perfect weather for planting trees, holding snakes, watching owls and falcons, building birdhouses, eating hotdogs. It was terrific.
There was, however, a moment that totally caught me off guard. Eden was making a cool bookmark craft. There was a piece of fabric set on the table. She was told to put violet and forsythia flowers onto the fabric, cover them with waxed paper, then hammer the heck out of them. Here's what it looked like when she was done:
Neat, eh? I'd never seen this craft before. The colours from the flowers and leaves are dyed onto the fabric in neat designs. She was proud, and so was the 3 year old hammering next to her. The 3 year old's mother, on the other hand, was a different story. Here's how that story went:
3 year old: (hammering away at the flowers, but the waxed paper keeps slipping away on her)
Craft leader to 3 year old's mom: Do you mind just holding the waxed paper for her?
3 year old's mom: No, I can't.
3 year old: (continues to hammer away, waxed paper continues to slide)
Craft leader to 3 year old's mom: Do you mind helping? If you just hold the paper for her, it'd be much easier.
3 year old's mom: No, I'm actually against this activity. I don't think it's nature friendly. I think it's actually quite cruel.
The 3 year old finished her craft and showed it proudly to her mom. Her mom said, "Hm."
I looked down at the mom's leather shoes. And the plastic container of Huggies disposable wipes in her hand. And the juice box in her other hand. And wondered about the rest of her wardrobe, and the rest of her life. If this craft is considered cruelty, what else was I doing on a daily basis that could fit into this cruel category?
A few things came to mind quite quickly:
1. We drive a car at least once a day. This qualifies as cruelty to all of creation because of the fumes and the use of a non-renewable resource.
2. I wear leather shoes. No idea how those cows were treated, or how environmentally friendly the chemicals used in dying the leather or creating the rubber soles were.
3. I kill mosquitoes any chance I can get. Ants on the counter top? Them too.
4. I loathe mice. If I found one in our house, I would find a way to do away with it.
5. I eat vegetables. Is that being cruel to the vegetable to eat it?
6. I eat meat. Obviously cruel.
Where does the cruel line start and where does it end? Seems like a pretty sad life, to see a flower craft as cruel. But maybe I'm wrong. When I think about an average day, I can list more things that are creation cruel than creation care.
What do you see as creation cruelty? Have you changed anything about your lifestyle to care for creation in better ways?