We’re gearing up for Thanksgiving with our 13-year-old twin daughters. We’ve read a lot of interesting articles about things we can do to bring more meaning to the holiday. It seems really important right now with our country’s divisions following the recent U.S. Presidential election to step back and think about what we are thankful for in each of our lives.
One idea we’re using came from a magazine article. Some lifestyle guru (whose name I don’t remember right now), said she puts a note under each person’s plate telling them why she’s grateful that they are in her life. Our girls like the idea of putting notes under the plates. We told the girls that the notes could be serious or funny. We want the notes to reflect their relationships with each family member rather than force them to come up with adult-like reflections that do not seem authentic. The girls have started writing notes and drawing cards. I haven’t asked, but they seem to think that some of their notes need illustrations.
The other idea came from a recent media tour at the Shedd Aquarium. The Shedd introduced its #Sheddvocate program with a talk about the Animal Response Team and its wonderful work around the world. When I came home I talked to our girls about the evening. They were well-aware of what an animal response team does thanks to movies about Winter, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium dolphin made famous in recent movies. We talked about how the Shedd Animal Response Team worked in similar ways on a global scale.
When I told them that we could make a family pledge to help the Shedd Aquarium with its work, they were ready to sign. The #Sheddvocate program has a few parts. After you electronically sign a pledge to reduce single use plastic waste, you can symbolically adopt an animal. You can commit to sharing stories on your personal social networks. Finally, you can visit the Shedd Aquarium to learn more about the animals and their care. It’s really that easy. You do need to be 18 years or older to sign the official pledge, but anyone of any age can share information via social media.
We took the pledge to become #Sheddvocate partners. Our girls are excited to share stories on their social media accounts, with our oversight of course. The ability to take action brings all their classroom lessons into their teenage social media obsession. It’s a great way to show them that they can make a difference around the globe by taking a few small actions at home.
Most of all it’s a way we can all remember that we all live together on this big, blue planet. By working together, we can change the world, even if it’s just by eliminating one plastic bottle at a time or sending one #StandwithShedd tweet.
Shari writes about life with twins at Two Times the Fun. Photo Credit: © Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez
Photo caption: In 1998, a marine biologist spotted a green sea turtle floating among mangroves along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Thin and weak, the turtle couldn’t paddle her hind feet to swim. The raw gash along her carapace—or upper shell—was the unmistakable mark of a boat propeller. A buoyancy problem from her injury left her unable to return to the wild but also “imperfect” for an aquarium exhibit. In 2003, working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Shedd adopted Nickel. She became one of the first rehabilitated sea turtles on public display in a U.S. aquarium. Through her regular training and exercise sessions at Shedd, Nickel has continued her rehabilitation, which includes being able to dive to the bottom of the 13-foot-deep Caribbean Reef exhibit!
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