My husband looked at her for a moment as though she had grown a second head before telling her quite matter-of-factly that granola was a breakfast cereal. The kind of cereal, he teased, that he had been eating every morning for weeks.
“No,” persisted KT. “What does it mean if someone calls you granola?”
My husband’s face was blank, so I, in all of my wisdom, stepped in. I informed them that “granola” is another word for “hippie,” a “tree hugger”, a “greenie” or even my personal favorites: “crunchy” and “down to earth.”
I went on to tell them that someone who is considered granola is a very earth-friendly person who is concerned with the state of our environment and the animals that live in it.
“Is that bad?” KT asked.
I told her that I thought it depended on her outlook. Some would think it was a bad thing to be called, but I thought it was a good thing.
I had to wonder what it took to make a kid stand out as “granola” in Seattle. We are, after all, a city known for its tree-huggers and for being green before it was trendy. We raise our children to conserve our water and keep it clean for the sake of the salmon. Our scout troops routinely plant trees and participate in environmental cleanups. The mantra to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle is second nature to most of us in the Emerald City. What, then, was so different about my child?
I think it might all boil down to a love of animals. We have the usual cats and dogs…but we also have had many exotic pets. Rats, snakes, cockroaches, frogs, turtles, tarantulas…well the list goes on and on. Learning about all of our creatures and their habitats has been fascinating. Learning about what people do to animals and their habitats was illuminating.
KT, at the tender age of 13, decided that she needed to do something to change the way the earth was headed. Her first step was to stop eating animals. She felt that it was morally wrong to eat the creatures that she loved so much. A couple years later she did a school research project about slaughter houses and decided that she would go completely vegan. KT no longer eats or uses anything that came from an animal. No eggs, no milk, no honey, no leather shoes or purses. She’s taken a lot of flak for her beliefs, but she sticks to them.
Our daughter realized that she needed to do still more to help save our world. The most logical place to start was at her school. She and some of her friends decided that they could make the most difference by starting an Earth Club at her high school. It now has around 75 members. Of course, that wasn’t quite enough for our girl. Her next step was to contact the group Planting Peace and became an environmental leader for our zip code. She currently coordinates with the city to organize cleanups in places they are needed, then recruits volunteers from the high school and the community to make a difference in our neighborhoods.
I could go on, but those Granola people don’t do what they do for the kudos. They simply see a need and do what they feel needs to be done. They aren’t paralyzed by the daunting size of the challenge, and don’t get discouraged by the apathy all around them.
When KT asked if it was bad to be “granola” I should’ve told her what I was really thinking. That I couldn’t be prouder that she was strong enough to follow what her heart told her to do. I think to be called granola is a very good thing.
“Granola” StudoGabe @ Flickr.com. Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.