Posted by: David McKay | December 4, 2011

Holy crap – I am going to be a father!

Baby bottles.  I just found out that my future child needs one.  Maybe two, I am not sure.  Glass.  Not plastic.  But the tip, the nipple, they call it.  What the hell is that made of?

Cloth diapers.  Yep, I will be doing some laundry.

No plastic toys, please!  Is there a polite way to tell people that I do not want plastic toys for my child?  I really don’t want them, and if I have to be rude about it, I will be.

It’s gonna be an adventure, that’s for sure.  But one that I am very excited about.  And, you know, this will change everything.

As I wrote that last sentence, I thought of the seventh generation, that saying from a Native American culture.  So, of course, I looked into the meaning of those words.  I went first to Wikipedia — “Seven generation sustainability“, which is not a place to cite a source, but it opens portals.  I skimmed “The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations” and that led me to look for Oren Lyons and his take on the seventh generation idea.  I found a transcript of a speech he gave to the United Nations in 1993.  In that speech he said,

Our leaders were instructed to be men of vision and to make every decision on behalf of the seventh generation to come; to have compassion and love for those generations yet unborn. We were instructed to give thanks for All That Sustains Us.

He continues on, speaking of many ways the Indigenous Peoples and this earth have been treated.  And he says this:

Even though you and I are in different boats, you in your boat and we in our canoe, we share the same River of Life. What befalls me, befalls you. And downstream, downstream in this River of Life, our children will pay for our selfishness, for our greed, and for our lack of vision.

500 years ago, you came to our pristine lands of great forests, rolling plains, crystal clear lakes and streams and rivers. And we have suffered in your quest for God, for Glory, for Gold. But, we have survived. Can we survive another 500 years of “sustainable development?” I don’t think so. Not in the definitions that put `sustainable’ in today. I don’t think so.

You can read the full text of his speech here: Haudenosaunee Faithkeeper, Chief Oren Lyons addressing delegates to the United Nations Organization.

Where do I go from here?  I have a child on the way, a family to care for.  What do I do about those short-sighted people that are trying to run our lives?  How can I get them to understand that the destruction of our natural world for the short-term benefits of their greed and avarice, for their selfishness and lack of maturity, is wrong?

I am working on becoming a teacher.  I am working on becoming a father.  Both make me understand that the true quality of life is life itself — my generation, and the next, and the next, and the next, and the next, and the next, and the next, and the next…

Responsibility is not convenient — it’s necessary.

Rethink.  Refuse.  Reduce.  Reuse.  Reimagine.







  1. 🙂 Congratulations, David!!! That is most exciting news!!!

    Lots of bottle nipples these days are made of food-grade or medical-grade silicone – same stuff Silly Bands were made of! Can’t give much advice here, as I was lucky to be able to breastfeed until we weaned to a cup. But I do have a plug for cloth diapers: Bum Genius 3.0 were really easy to use and lasted a LONG time. I bought 12 and that was all I ever needed. (Of course, that was many years ago and I’m sure there are even better improvements since then!) I highly recommend the diaper sprayer that attaches easily to your toilet. Yep…you will definitely be in full laundry mode! 🙂

    The plastic toy issue is tougher, but stand firm! Most likely, you will be bombarded with all forms of things plastic…teething rings, ‘rubber’ duckies, bath books, bath toys, bath tubs, plastic keys, every form of plastic toy imaginable… is key, but patience will be required….in my case, especially with the grandparents!

    A company I loved as a new mom was Haba…they make lots of wooden and cloth things, like teething rings, play mats, etc. Instead of a bouncer, we asked for something from Haba – I think it was ‘The Meadow’ – at least that’s what I remember calling it…it was just a little cloth mat with a wooden bar attached that you could hang things from and it could grow with the baby….My sons loved it and it has now been passed down to their cousins. Non-plastic items are usually more expensive, but I think you’ll agree that the price is worth it!

    You might be swept into a love/hate relationship with plastic and the mixed emotions that come with it as the plastic wand shows the first images of your precious bundle of joy and on the way home from the hospital, it keeps your baby safe in the car seat and later helps shield his or her little head from bumps and bruises as he or she rides a bike. You might be delighted to one day discover that you can make your own knee and elbow pads (which your child will like infinitely better than the store-bought ones) from old socks and many creative types of padding including reused bubble mailers, old burlap from the garden and on and on…but you have plenty of time for all of that! 😉

    You’re right, that this will change everything. Savor the experience and enjoy the adventure. Every precious minute of it…as you will hear many times, and is all too true, it goes by much too fast! In 5 more years, my “baby” will be old enough to drive. It seems like just yesterday, I was wrapping him up and buckling him into that little car seat to join my world.

    As you can see from my comment, you might start to get lots of advice…:) Hold true to what you believe in and keep teaching the world what you believe to be true!

    Love the quote!
    Love your happiness!

    Love to you and your family!
    🙂 Kate

  2. Not an easy road, this. But a rewarding one, for sure. Bottles, yeppp. Breastmilk needs to be frozen, and glass doesn’t work for that… so the little plastic breastmilk baggies will have to. But I still use my glass bottles… they turn into nice sippy cups, cups, and vases. The nipples can come in rubber, natural rubber, and for the latex intolerant (me), silicone. There are also natural rubber pacifiers! And as a mother of four, let me tell you, you want a pacifier. And no, they don’t cause nipple confusion, but they do save Momma’s nipples. Unless baby’s mouth is too small to suck on one and they gag on it… like both my girls did. Plastic toys… you learn not to be rude, and to put ’em aside, give ’em away, recycle ’em… and save a few for outside and the bathtub, because really, some things do last longer when they’re plastic:sand toys and tub toys. But yogurt containers work well, too. Cloth diapers don’t camp well, so pick up a few hybrids (g-diapers come to mind: the liners, tho’ disposable are also compostable/flushable) or even some 7th Gen disposable diapers for when you can’t keep up with the laundry or the whole family gets sick (and really, those first few days because meconium poo stains and is too sticky to come off well). A few newborn diapers (a doz max) is key; I’d give you mine, but I gave them all to Prin. We still use our preemie ones as liners. Or rags. Or really really nice dust rags. Practicalities aside… you all will be beautiful, do beautiful, and find beauty. Hard, hard road, this parenting thing. But worth it… every fricking step of the way. (Better be ready to let go… of everything you think you know or are… because the first things kids do is change that). Much love to you all. And if you need any books… or old wooden toys… you know where to find us!

  3. As you are visualizing non-plastic things coming into your life for you and your child, and people reusing the plastic they have and using less plastic – you might think about supporting people like the Japanese man who has invented a way to turn ALL plastic back into oil:
    and look into recycling styrofoam:

    Keep standing up for what you believe – you are awesome!

  4. check this out also:

  5. Maybe you are overlooking the good side of plastics? It has provided benefits to a more comfortable life, better products and more economical items-like baby bottles. You know, you can use plastic things, and then when you are through with them, recycle the item-like soda bottles. That way you get the best of both worlds-using a product and then not filling up a land-fill.

  6. […] “Our leaders were instructed to be men of vision and to make every decision on behalf of the seventh generation to come; to have compassion and love for those generations yet unborn. We were instructed to give thanks for All That Sustains Us.” […]

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