Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Making Me Laugh With Unexpected Insight

I started my week, yesterday, in a great mood. A few blocks away from the elementary school I asked the students on my bus if they wanted to play a game with the winners receiving my (now London, Ontario famous) peace Stik-ers. Of course, they said yes!!!

The game was simple… all they had to do was tell me what it was that I did during the weekend that just passed. If they knew the answer they would raise their hand and I would call on a student to answer – this keeps all the shouting and screaming out loud to a minimum.

“Okay, J.P. What did I do this weekend?”

“Did you paint a new picture?”

“No, I did not paint a new picture… Laura, what do you think I did this weekend?”

“Did you play your guitar and write a new song?”

And this was how it went on. I was really surprised with their answers as they were all things that I could have done and usually do. They have gotten to know me very well!!!

“Did you add more of our artwork to the bus?”
“Did you go to the movies?”
“Did you go to the circus?”
“Did you do something peaceful?”

I think I might have swerved the bus a little cuz I was laughing so hard when one girl at the back of the bus yelled out, “Did you save the Amazon Rainforest by NOT eating at McDonalds?”

“Well… I guess that is correct that I did save the Rainforest by not eating at McDonalds… but that’s not really what I DID did?”

So… where did that statement come from???

There might have been an after-hours school activity happening (not sure) on one of the days, last week, cuz there were very few students on my bus. This meant that I proceeded through my route with a greater speed. Near the end of my route I found that I was almost five minutes earlier than normal and this meant that the parents of the remaining students had not yet arrived at the bus stop. I pulled the bus over and I wondered how I could use this time wisely. I asked the students if they would like to know of one very easy way that they could help protect the planet. Of course, they said yes!!!

I then shared with them a little bit of information that I knew about the McDonalds Corporation.

Now… back to my present story. After I had finished laughing at this great and inspirational answer I thought that I would use this opportunity to educate the rest of the students on my bus – who weren’t there for the discussion last week.

“Now – Mikayla… I’m sorry but you have me really confused! Are you telling me that if I DON’T eat at McDonalds that I will be saving the Amazon Rainforest?”

“Yes, Mr. Jim!”

“Okay… but I don’t understand the reason. Can you tell me why the Rainforest is being destroyed if I go to the McDonalds in the Masonville Mall? After all the Rainforest is just a bunch of trees that grow all the way in a different part of the world and McDonalds burgers are made of cows. I just don’t get it… trees – cows… how are they connected?”

“Well, Mr. Jim… McDonalds needs to feed the cows that they use to make hamburgers. So what they do is they chop down the Rainforest and clear away all the trees and then they grow grains and things that they feed to the cows.”

“Really!!! Are you telling me that McDonalds is paying companies to chop down trees in the Rainforest, then they grow grains to feed the cows that they then grind up to make burgers before they send this meat all over the planet???”


“But… that doesn’t seem like a bad thing, does it?”

“Oh, Mr. Jim, it’s much worse than that!”

“Really! What do you mean?”

“Well… because all the trees are now gone, there is nothing left to collect and soak up all the rain that falls in the Amazon. The trees used to soak up all the rain and now the farmer’s fields are being flooded and the soil washes away. When all the soil is gone the land becomes a desert!”

“A desert! In the middle of a tropical rainforest! That doesn’t seem right.”

“Yeah – so if we all stop eating at McDonalds they won’t have to chop down anymore trees and that will save the world!”

I almost felt a tear of joy in my eye. Who would have thunk it!!!! A busdriver creating a network of youths that will share this information with each other to stop eating at fast food restaurants… maybe my post-industrial dream will come true.

This is what the world needs now – a generation of future leaders receiving the proper education, inspiration and encouragement to realize that they can create actions to make this world a better place. This world belongs to them and it’s time that they started acting like it!

By this time I had pulled into the school parking lot. One of the students asked, “Well, Mr. Jim… what did you do this weekend?”

“Oh yeah!!! I forgot how this all started. Well, this weekend my wife and I moved into our very first house and to celebrate I’m going to give each of you one of my peace Stik-ers as you get off the bus…”

Hmmm…. new house! I’ll bet there’s a few stories to be told about that…


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