One of the hardest parts of parenting is letting your children blossom into whom they are meant to be. And that process of letting go is painful.
Those baby steps of watching your child not following through on something or not holding to your ideals can make you crazy. But it's worth the wait.
Case in point: As part of my daughter's Brownie troop's Household Elf badge and Wonders of Water journey (and admittedly inspired by Beth Terry's My Plastic-Free Life), we are bridging the themes into a small community service project: collecting lids for plastic bottles to recycle at an Evansville company that specializes in it, For the next month, the girls are challenged to collect as many plastic lids as they can; the winner receiving a prize (a small water-related science kit).
But while my daughter is interested on the surface in saving plastic, the reality is it's harder to follow through. While mom dutifully washes lids to milk jugs, orange juice, and (admittedly) Diet Coke 2-liters, the lids rarely if ever make it to her collection. They languish on the kitchen table for days, until mom, frustrated, tosses them in the trash.
Does my daughter care about the environment? Absolutely. She's into gardening and composting, learning about saving electricity. But her heart is less into America's needs as it is in Haiti's, a result of her experiences in school.
The toughest lesson is that while our journeys interconnect, they are not one in the same. And my daughter's green journey, while started earlier in life, will weave the way it wants to.