I can stop whatever I am doing at any given time, close my eyes and hear the ocean, feel the sand between my toes and smell that beach smell... can you? We all have that place or moment in time that reminds us to just breathe and take it all in. For me it is the ocean. John F. Kennedy said, "we are tied to the ocean." And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came.
The love of the ocean runs in our family and it is the first place my kids suggest when asked, "what do you want to do today?" Well, sometimes it's the toy store, but my husband and I are trying to show them that the feeling they get from getting a new toy is the same feeling they can get when helping one another, the planet and the ocean... and it lasts longer. They play for hours, happy, laughing, content with its simplicity, but mindful and respectful of its majestic power. The ocean and its shores are the best play date in town.
Our children, like so many others, relate to the sea and because it is something they love so much, they are sensitive to hearing about its problems: the reefs drying up, the seals having nowhere further to swim south because of water temperatures. In our house, however, there are no problems, only solutions. So as a family we decided to do what we could do to make a difference.
Last Night I Swam With a Mermaid [$24.99] is a book that is a catalyst to ignite imagination and inspire kids to do what they can do. Who doesn't want to go on an ocean adventure with a mermaid? Who doesn't love a treasure hunt? After all, there are many treasures behind all the trash. It's all about how you present things to a child. The first time my family and I cleaned up a beach we did it as a game and had a system with biggest finds receiving more points. Over time it just became a habit and now we never leave beaches without bags of trash.
We are all connected and everything we do and every choice we make is making a difference, so when kids are aware of their choices they are able to see the big picture. It starts at home and we all need to do our part. This is why teaching kids to respect, protect and not expect from themselves, the planet and one another is invaluable. It goes across the board from peace building to bullying to cleaning up beaches.
It takes a village and starts with your community, which is why we joined forces with Phillippe Cousteau and EARTHECHO, "engaging and inspiring youth everywhere to shape the future of our planet.
When we all come together, the power of our dreams is greater. Last Night I Swam With a Mermaid reminds us all to "DREAM BIG and that it's up to me and it's up to you that we believe in ourselves and all we can do."