My son Nathan has a bit of a history of taking social action through letter writing. When he was only 4 years old, and his sister Emma was 6, the TV channel I sometimes let them watch (with sweet programs like "Little Bear" and "Blues Clues") started airing commercial advertising. The first ads were for diapers and toys. Both Emma and Nathan came to me and said "we don't like the ads!" and "don't they know it is the kids who are watching? Kids don't buy diapers." I suggested they write a letter to the television station. Nathan took it very seriously. He dictated his thoughts while I typed the letter. It wasn't fair to trick kids into watching ads that try to get them to think their own toys aren't very good when they were just trying to watch "Little Bear", he wisely said. We got a nice letter back from the TV channel, and when the ads persisted, we took it as an opportunity to buy a DVD of "Little Bear" shows that we could watch without commercial interruption!
In our family stewardship has always meant taking a look at how we can best use our gifts to champion ecological sustainability and social equality. Chris and I set out as newlyweds to build a life where our work would be an expression of our values. Chris has dedicated his nearly-20-year career to working for The Pembina Institute, an environmental non-profit organization that advocates for more sustainable energy policies in Canada. Sometimes I get heartsick for the future of humanity when I look at how slow we are to adjust our behaviours in the face of troubling climate science. Chris reminds me that we are doing our part to steward the resources of the world by speaking up and working for environmental sustainability, and that keeping an ever-hopeful spirit is important too. God blessed me when I met Chris! He sets such a good example of how to use ones gifts for good in a complex, sometimes-scary world.
I hope we have raised our kids to feel empowered to take action on things that concern them. Nathan has gone on to write letters to the Mayor about urban sprawl, and more recently to the Prime Minister about the status of humpback whales. Even though Nathan would say writing is his least favourite activity, he can be very articulate! I hope you enjoy his words about stewardship.
For me, stewardship means taking care of the things God wants me to take care of. I believe the most important of those things is nature, so when I learn that our government is doing things like demoting the humpback whale from endangered species to "species of special concern" so they can allow ships to travel through habitat to pick up oil from the Northern Gateway pipeline, I protest by sending letters to whatever level of government the issue concerns. Writing letters to the government is an efficient, and powerful way to get your voice heard. One letter can't do much, but if lots of people write to the government, it tells them that, not only do citizens disagree with something, but that they care enough to devote time to write a letter, or more than one letter, voicing their thoughts, and that they should re-think their choice and listen to the people. I challenge you to, next time the government makes a choice that you don't like, take the time to write a letter, and you can make a difference too.