“Grown-ups, don’t mess with the water, the children want to drink it!!”. A group of young kids were shouting these words in Afrikaans on the environmental SABC TV programme, 50/50 earlier tonight. They were turning the meaning of this Afrikaans folk song on its head which actually says “Children, don’t mess with the water, the old people want to drink it.” Another translation for “Kinders, moenie in die water mors nie, die ou mense wil dit drink” could be “Children, don’t play in the water, the old people want to drink it”.
Nevertheless, when those kids were shouting these words it had a chilling effect on me. It reminded me how easily we command children to do certain things we are not necessarily doing ourselves. I also realised how appropriate it is to turn the meaning of this traditional song around because grown-ups are the biggest polluters of our water sources and today’s children, including my two little girls will suffer the consequences most. Moreover grown-ups are the ones with the most power and influence to stop people from messing with the water that our children and grandchildren will have to drink.
The insert was about a small farming community in Kwazulu Natal (I think) who were celebrating something like 2000 different projects in which the children were involved during the course of the year. These were mainly environmental projects. Interestingly enough some were religious projects, whatever that might mean. At least these two terms were mentioned in the same breath.
What I would like to know is whether these children were taught that God has called them to be responsible stewarts of His creation and that therefore they need to care for the environment. The presenter, Johan Botha remarked that these kids will make great citizens of our country. I can’t help but be excited about the idea that some of them migth be our future civil engineers or water technicians or legal practitioners or nature conservationists or business people with an environmental conscience… or any other vocation for that matter.
Our churches should be greenhouses for growing Godly green children, children who understand that part of their calling is to guard what is left of this massive garden we’ve been placed in. Let them experiment because we need economically viable models for healing God’s earth.