I had a lovely talk recently with a radio DJ out in Denver, whose wife had just had a new baby. He told me he was confused by conflicting messages in parenting books about how to deal with their crying. “Some of them say you should go to them immediately,” he said, “and others say you should let them fuss and settle down, wait a while. But I can’t stand it,” he went on. “I can’t stand hearing my baby cry. It breaks my heart. I have to go in immediately.”
As it happens, I agree with him, regardless of what the books say. By the time a baby is sobbing her eyes out, she’s way beyond being able to console herself. And for months, the only way a baby can communicate distress–whether from hunger, thirst, pain or discomfort–is by yowling for attention.
We give them our attention, because we want to be good parents. But it struck me recently that sometimes, we need to give our babies a different kind of attention. They aren’t crying, or in pain, over air pollution. They don’t know how it can damage them. But they do need our help—just as urgently.
So sometimes, being a good parent means being an active citizen.
Write to the EPA to say you support their new Mercury and Air Toxics standards. We–members of the public– have until July 5 to file comments.
Send your Congressional representatives a postcard telling them you want air and water protections.
Your child might not know enough to cry for help now. But I promise she’ll be thanking you when she grows up, and learns what Mom did to protect the Clean Air Act.