Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Oh, no, Mom! It's made in China!"

It's nice to know that some things I teach my kids about are actually making an impact. I've been thinking about ethical consumerism quite a bit this fall with the holidays coming up. I've changed my chocolate buying habits to exclusively fair trade chocolates, and I've limited white sugar consumption (check this link out). I've also been harping on the problems of lead paint in children's toys, not to mention the uncovering of many many sweatshops in China (run by contractors for our toy god, Mattel) where human rights are trampled on and pregnant workers are exposed to toxic levels of lead in the paint they use to make the toys. Because we have a one-year-old at our home every week, I've been telling the girls to be careful about what Josh puts in his mouth, since only God knows if and in what instances Mattel can be trusted.

Well something sunk in. The other day I heard Una shriek from the hallway where she and her sister were playing with a Nativity set (not Mattel's). "Mom! The angel's wing is broken off. Josh must have eaten it. AND IT'S MADE IN CHINA and FULL OF LEAD PAINT!"

"Oh no!" Evvy, the three year old, chimed in.
I knew for a fact that Josh hadn't bit off the angel wings. They were factory defects, breaking within just a few minutes of play in almost the exact same spot on each wing. And we didn't actually know if these toys were made in China or any place that might use lead paint. But Evvy clearly did not believe me when I explained this. As she folded her hands under her chin, she announced, "I'm going to pray for Josh." She then uttered a half-intelligible prayer, "Lord, please... Josh... paint... China.. thank you. Amen." She lifted her head and smiled.
This afternoon, Una and I were wrapping Christmas ornaments to give as gifts to friends and I turned one over and saw the little "made in China" sticker on the back of one. Darn, I'd missed that when we bought it at the store. "It's made in China," I told Una, who became more distressed than I expected. "OH NO. MADE IN CHINA?? MADE IN CHINA??? ON NO. There's probably lead paint in there."
All this is to say, it's nice when you realize your kids have been listening to you, even if the message they regurgitate is slightly lacking in balance. And really, what a sincere prayer for social justice scripted by Evvy: "Lord...paint...China. Thank you. Amen."

1 comment:

Ali BG said...

I love this post. God bless your little 3-year-old!