February 23, 2011

Presenting my son: Max

This last month, we've been pounded with interviews. But one has a special place in my heart: a KPFA radio show that included my eldest, Max.

Before the Sunset article, I had been answering questions and interviews. Because I write this blog, interest naturally went to the family instigator. All along, I said that if it was not for my whole family (then faceless) being involved, our dramatic trash reduction would not be possible. Afterall, a household's Zero Waste goals can only be achieved with the involvement of all family members. I just happen to be the lucky wife and mother of three easy-going, caring and willing individuals.

But the article and its pictures gave my family a face, and help our kids realize how different our household really was.

So, when given the opportunity to participate in a radio show, my eldest gladly agreed. I have done many radio shows before, but none in a studio. Not only did sharing that new experience with Max give me goose bumps, it also allowed me to hear his real voice.

Practical aspects of Zero Waste often come up in the conversation at the family dinner table, but never do we discuss it beyond practicality. I go around praising the benefits of Zero Waste, but hearing it from my child, was a revelation and confirmation. His affirmation warmed up my heart. Priceless.

Many of you have asked questions about our kids reacting to our lifestyle. Max has agreed to answer any questions you might have.

Your turn to do the talking.

But please, one important rule, besides that already stated under comment rules:

Be specific! Because our lifestyle is normal to our kids, it is hard for them to express their thoughts about it and put them into words. Asking a child from an average household how he feels about eating packaged cereal, will get you the same blank stare as asking one of mine how he feels about eating bulk cereal.

With that in mind, ask away!

  • Anonymous said...What was it like for you in the beginning when you purged your toys? Did it happen all at once, or was it a gradual thing? Did you like the idea or hate it at first, and if you hated it (or at least didn't like it), how long did it take before you got used to having fewer toys? I'm asking this because my daughter has a hard time giving anything up, even if it's broken. Thanks, Max! Your family inspires me every day.
  • Max said... We always had that amount of toys.A few days after Christmas we would give away some.
  • Lindsay said... Hi Max,
    I love and aspire to be like your family. Does your family take digital photos when camping or at any family fun experiences? Also, do you print the photos, keep them the computer or keep them in a photo book?
  • Max said... yes, we take digital pictures. We save them on the computer. Before we put them in albums.
  • Lorene said... Max,
    Has it ever been difficult to explain to your friends why you do things differently at your house? Do you feel like your friends understand and accept your views and how your family lives?
    Our family is working toward more and more zero waste practices, and with a 15 month old daughter, I am wondering what her future peers might think of how we live!
  • Max said... no for 1st question, yes for 2nd.
    I don't see why it would be a problem.
  • Anonymous said... Hello Max, I wonder if, when you go into other kids homes, if you find the amount of stuff (clothes, toys, decorative items, garbage) they have overwhelming? Oh the opposite side, do your friends comment on all the things your house is not filled with? Is their envy in either direction? Thanks :-)
  • Max said... yes, I think some houses have a lot of stuff in it, like too much stuff that they do not use anymore. Like video games that they don't play with anymore.
    Some people say that our house looks futuristic, and someone said that it looks albino.
  • Anonymous said... Do you ever feel like you're missing out on things -food, games, toys, etc.?
  • Max said... Sometimes I wish I had games like video games. I don't miss food or toys.
  • Anonymous said... Max--- thanks for answering our questions! My kids are 8 and 6. What would you tell them is the easiest thing about aiming for zero waste? What is the hardest? Also (all the moms are desperate to get rid of toys!) what things did you decide to keep and why?
    Keep up the great work!
    Amelia in Knoxville
  • Max said... The hardest is refusing because sometimes you want those things or objects (like the toys that people give at restaurants).
    The easiest is to clean, because the more stuff, the harder it is to clean your home.
    I give a toy away when I am bored with it.
  • robin said... Hi Max!
    Besides giving bulk candy or gift certificates for ice cream cones, do you have any ideas of zero waste birthday gifts kids your age would like?!
    I love the watermelon you carved - it's great!
  • Max said... For birthday parties, I give coupons like: "come to a restaurant for lunch with me, no parents" or "come to the pool with me", or "come to the museum with me". All the friends that came for my birthday gave me coupons for experiences too.
  • g said... Max,
    How do you graciously explain your family policy at other children's birthday parties (though you're probably growing out of the younger-child style birthday parties)--"goodie" bags filled with random cheap toys and packaged candy, take-home crafts, balloons, etc? Is there some way you can say it that is the least harsh-sounding/seemingly judgmental? What have you found that works best and how do most people (aka Birthday Mothers) take it?
  • Max said...I can't remember last time I got a goodie bag (people don't do that anymore). But if they want to give me something, I think: do I want that? do I need that? will I use that? if no, then I say "No thanks", if they insist, I say "No, but thanks for the offer". The mothers say, "ok".
  • Anonymous said... Max,
    Our family is in the process of reducing our waste. I have noticed that we have much more free time because we are not shopping, cleaning and reorganizing stuff. What are your five favorite things to do with your free time?
    Thank you for answering our questions!
  • Max said...my 5 favorites things to do:
    -google chat(new)or hanging out with my friends
    -going to House of Air
    -rock climbing
    -going to the pool or beach
    -going to the movies
  • Sharae Randall said... realized the photo in this post is his Valentine! So cute.
  • Anonymous said... Does living zero waste make you feel good? Why?
  • Max said...Living zero waste makes me feel good because it helps the earth and it gives us a better future.
  • Anonymous said...Will you continue to live this way when you grow up and have your own home/family?
  • Max said...yes, I will continue to live like that when I grow up.
  • Hoppy Bunny said... Hi Max,
    Was there anything your parents did to make it easy for you to go ZW? Any special rewards for big milestones? Or is it something that you wanted to do without feeling like you needed to be rewarded for it?
    Do you ever accidentally break a ZW house rule, or is just part of who you are now?
  • Max said... I do not need rewards because it's really easy and they are not needed.
    We don't have house rules, but sometimes I do bring some plastic in the house, like the wrapper of a candy bar that a friend gave me. I know that nobody is perfect.
  • Anonymous said... hi max,
    what do you hope your readers take away from your families blog/lifestyle?
    what's your favorite bulk food item to snack on? my kids would love to know ; )
  • Max said... I hope that readers learn to become close to zero waste.
    My favorite bulk food snack is Fig Bars!!!!
  • Ali said... I realize I'm coming in late on the conversation and might not get my questions answered, but I thought I would give it a shot. LOVED the Sunset article and just had my husband read it today. Helped me feel less crazy about "Going Green" in a city (Las Vegas) and family that really doesn't seem to understand the importance. So anyway, on to my question for darling Max...
    Dear Max,
    Do you have any friends or know of any girls that live in a ZW family? I have three children and two younger daughters. My older son doesn't have as much problem with the toys, etc. and can cut the waste much like you and your brother but his two younger sisters, 5 and 3, are having a tough time with the toys and party favors and small trinkets and school items. Any advice for them or from your friends (that might be girls) to help mine out?
    I think you and your family are marvelous examples-
    Ali in Las Vegas
  • Max said...I am sorry, I do not know a zero waste girl. Your girls probably have a hard time because they are small and do not understand. I recommend that they watch Home or Earth.
  • Sandra said... Very cool of you to answer readers' questions on this blog, Max. Was it hard to give up having TV in the house? Do you watch shows on the internet or did you give up watching television all together (other than movie dvds, that is)?
  • Max said... at first it was hard, but we have netflix instant (I like to watch Wizards of Waverly place on it) and sometimes I watch tv at my friends.
  • pavan said... i am 10 years old, my name is pavan and i have been intrested in zero waste after my mom showed me about it. I would actully never think about all the waste we waste before i learnt about this blog, but now i know the importence of it. do you ever think sometimes it can be hard to have zero waste? have you ever gotten offered something so good but you know it creats waste? what do you do then? thanks for listening and i hope you can answer back!
  • Max said...actually we don't have zero waste yet, but we nearly have zero waste. The hardest is refusing. If it was awesome and I really wanted it, I would probably accept it, nobody is perfect.
  • Anonymous said... Dear Max,
    We are two boys (ages 6 & 8) who just decided to have zero-waste home. Thank you for inspiring us to do it. We think this is important so in the future, the earth won't be filled with trash. We are going to give some of our toys away, too. We may send them to a boy we know in Africa who doesn't have any toys. Do any of your friends have a zero waste house?
    From, Reid and Charlie
  • Max said...I do not have friends that have a zero waste house or nearly zero waste.
  • Anonymous said... Dear Max, Do you ever have any trouble giving up a toy that you like but you don't play with? I am also working on a zero waste home.
    From, Adia (8-years-old)
  • Max said...no, because sometimes I sell it and make money.
  • Heather said... Hi Max. My question is about replacing items that can't be recycled or repurposed. Like car air filters or windshield wipers. (pieces of them can be recycled, but not all) A watch that is broken beyond repair or leather sandals both out grown and worn out. (I'm thinking of things in my trash when I type this.)What happens to your old clothes too stained or destroyed to pass on to another kid?
    Also what do you do with old school projects. Things like Adobe houses, or science fair project, or ceramic pots from art class.
    Do you ever buy school lunch?
    Thanks for answering. I'm intrigued by many of the ideas your parents have.
  • Max said...-for example, my mom and my brother made a football with socks that had holes in them.
    -when I make a school project, I use things that can recycle or compost.
    -yes, I have had school lunch.