Do the right thing.

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As my kids get older, I am trying not to consciously add to their journey through life by embarrassing them. Because navigating childhood can be baffling enough, without me spitting on a tissue and rubbing Vegemite off their little faces eat the school gate on front of their mates. Or calling everybody “darling,” such was my habit in the past.. even though I slip a few in now and then. But no longer to his male teachers.

Horatio is particularly conscious of his public image at present. When we walk past a group of pre-teenaged kids, he says under his breath “Don’t do anything embarrassing Mum…” and so I just walk past in a normal fashion, one foot in front of the other. I may even make eye contact with one or two, and give them a sort of a WASSUP head tilt. Horatio strides by like a mini-man and then relaxes. I don’t know why, but that is just the way it is.

Now, I as far from a confrontationist as you can get. I will huffy puffy run a mile from any uncomfortable scenes.

BUT I WILL NOT BE HAVING A GROUP ON TEENAGED GIRLS TRASH OUR LOCAL PARK!

So we had been to the local shops, and as I put the groceries into Sonia Kluger, I spied a gaggle of girls in their school uniforms having a pig out. They were in the park. By the time Horatio and I had gotten into the car, it was evident that their pig out had finished, and they had popped their backpacks on and took their leave, leaving behind all of their rubbish.

I was irate, being a child of the 70’s, and the Do The Right Thing campaign had been well and truly imprinted on me. I even recall the government sending people out to schools to show us how to put garbage into garbage bins. A lesson that has stuck with me, after all those years. Bravo Malcolm Fraser… Bravo.

So I broke my non-confrontation rule. I pulled Sonia over, wound down the window, and in the manner of a crazy banshee lady, yelled….

“OI! ARE YOU GOING TO PICK UP YOUR RUBBISH?”

By this stage, Horatio was lying across the backseat hissing… “MUM STOP IT OH MY GOD MUM” etc. etc. But I was not having it.

So I had Horatio in the back horrified, and 4 gormless teenaged girls staring at me in disbelief, slack jaws swaying in the breeze…

“PUT THAT ALL IN THE BIN PLEASE. NOW!”

And they scurried, like cockroaches do when you turned the light on in a filthy kitchen. All the rubbish was relocated into a nearby rubbish receptacle.

“THANK YOU!” I sang out before turning Sonia towards the direction of home.

I am pretty sure that the panels of Sonia Kluger will be aggressively keyed over the course of the next few months, but I can sleep easy knowing that that campaign has made me a more considerate global citizen.

Did you know that there is currently no national legislation regarding litter.

Australia, you’ve changed.

Would you have done the same thing?

Or should have just kept my big mouth shut..

Why are gangs of teenagers still scary to me?