Our freshman class went on a field trip to Shiloh National Park; the school bus was packed with our teachers and us.
We stopped at a local store for snacks before picking up our tour guide – I still remember her face – stay tuned as to why.
I sat in the back of the bus, next to the open window.
As I ate from my treasure trove of goodies I would gleefully toss candy wrappers out the window as the bus worked its way passed all the battlefield areas and monuments.
Finally the tour guide got tired of watching me toss my trash out the window and she spoke up saying: “We take great pride in keeping this historic place clean and I am asking that the boy in back stop throwing trash out the window.”
One of my teachers came to full-battle-alert, stood up and said: “Who is being a litterbug?”
Red-faced and with heart pounding, I stood up, and all eyes turned to me.
That was the last day of me being a litterbug!
Fast forward to when I am driving back from the swimming pool with my twin boys and my oldest throws out a candy wrapper.
Screech! I slam on the brakes!
“Get out and go pick up that trash!’
He trudged what must have seemed to me miles to retrieve the evidence.
I though about backing up to where he was, but decided the lesson will have more impact if I let him walk all the way back.
A quick lecture on littering and we were on our way.
P.S. Embarrassing moments in our childhood impact how we teach our own children.
The Emotional Imprint is strong, strong, strong!