The Reality of Saving the Environment with Kids

As I walk through the house, I am constantly turning off lights. Pass by the bathroom. Turn off the light left on by the last boy who peed. Pass by the kids’ rooms. Turn off the lights left on by one looking for socks, another reading a book, a third who meant to turn the fan on because he was hot.

Pass by the playroom where a strange sound emanates from the television. Turn off the lights and the Xbox. By the kitchen. Turn off three lights turned on even though sunlight streams too bright through the windows.

Turn them off. Save energy. Turn them off.

The garage light left on when the little one went looking for Gatorade. The fan in the master bath hours after the last shower of the day. The light in the closet.

Turn them off.

Last week, something dramatically changed our electricity usage. Our three boys, who have been sharing a bedroom, decided it was time to each have their own. We moved furniture. We sorted books. We separated piles of clothing. They drew elaborate nameplates for their doors.

But at 11:00 last night, when my eleven year old could not fall asleep, I realized that by spreading them out, we had multiplied the number of lights left on all night.

The one who couldn’t sleep had the light on his bedside table and his bathroom light on because he is afraid of the dark.

The nine year old had a small light on in his room because he read himself to sleep two hours before.

The six year old, who never used to care about the dark when his brothers were nearby, now insists on keeping the light on next to his bed.

Four lights in three rooms. All night long.

Turn them off. Save energy. Turn them off if you happen to be prowling around the house at midnight when the last of the boys finally falls asleep.

But you may need to turn on a light, so you don’t trip over the dog sleeping between you and your bed.

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