Dressed up to the nines and ready for a long awaited dinner at an upscale restaurant, we were seated in the middle of the crowded space. The waiter ever so skillfully placed the children’s drinks in front of them, ready to take the meal order. Before he could delight us with the chef’s specials, my youngest pipes up for all to hear: ”Mommy! It’s the straw that killed the whale!”
A while back we posted a quote on social media about speaking your truth and how it does become easier with practice. We promote honesty and open communication, but when it comes to socially accepted practices do we still follow the same rules? Granted, there are ways to say things, but when it comes to kids the filters seem to only come at a much older age. Children say what they think without any malicious intention and from their truth.
“Sweetheart, that is true. When straws do end up in the ocean they are very bad for marine life. Why don’t we ask the waiter what they do with the straws after we use them?” Diffusing a seemingly embarrassing situation, the waiter explained that they had a strict policy to recycle, especially plastics. He kept his cool and offered to give the next drink without a straw. The restaurant could go back to their meal.
This situation could have been handled differently, if we overreacted and hushed her concern, it would shake her confidence to speak up again; as well as confusion about something we discussed within that week. We just learned about how detrimental one-use plastic straws are to the environment, why can we not mention it when the opportunity presents itself? She spoke her truth, regardless of the reaction of anyone around her. She was supported by her family who also understood where she was coming from.
I believe that in that moment, others who were close enough to hear the outcry for the whales also learned a thing or two about the ocean, our responsibility and the support to speak our truth. They were informed in a casual way that 500 Million Plastic Straws are used every day in the U.S. Many of those plastic straws end up in our oceans, polluting the water and harming sea life.
May you find the courage to speak your truth today.