Change the World, Part 2: Get to Work

I last wrote about how I’d take the inspiration of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Day on Monday to inspire myself (and force my kids) to get outside of our comfortable lives and do something for the greater good.

As usual, my husband — the active one in our bunch — kickstarted us early, on Saturday. His birthday. He told us we’d be going to a beach clean-up.

He was met with the predictable enthusiasm: “Noooo! Why, oh why, are we the ones who have to clean up the beach?” the littler boy lamented, not intending to lob us such a softball.

“Because the beach is our backyard. It’s up to us to take care of it,” answered his father. “And because it’s my birthday, you have to.”

“If we don’t show up, who will?” I added for good measure, hoping the moral would be heard over the din of annoyance.

“You ALWAYS say stuff like that!” he retorted. “You said that last week for the school clean-up, and we were, like, the only ones there.”

“Exactly.”

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So we went, and surprise of surprises, the little boy LOVED IT. It was an hour and a half of discovery. Picture him underneath the Santa Monica Pier, donning blue rubber gloves, holding a trash bag, side by side with his father, every new piece of trash feeding his curious mind. IMG_3226“I found Medical Marijuana!” he shouted with glee, holding a glass vial labeled, indeed, “Medical Marijuana.”  “I found a 3 of Diamonds,” his father announced before realizing it was a pornographic playing card. Broken bottles, yogurt cups, old socks, cigarette packets. It was disgusting.  He was in heaven. Each discovery sparked his imagination. We joined with a group of teenagers from Palisades High School. “Pali High, meet Pali Elementary.” Together we worked, little by little filling bag after bag. Alone it would have been a daunting task, I probably would have thrown up my hands and said, “it’s too much,” but we did our part and working together we made an impact.

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My husband said there was no better way to celebrate his birthday, on a beautiful summer-like day in January.

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