Late the other night, after I’d gotten the kids down to sleep and the house was still, Emma came creeping down the stairs. In her hands she held the two nightlights she and Henry have in their room.
“Daddy, I want you to take these away right now.”
I asked why she wanted them gone, because they love swapping the “daytime” light for the “nighttime” light just before bed.
“Because I love penguins and polar bears and don’t want them to die.”
Now, I have to admit that at first I was a little taken aback. Next I wanted to laugh. How on earth did she get the idea in her head that animals far, far away were being killed by her nightlights?
“Daddy, I promised Mrs. Renz (Emma’s first grade teacher) that I would do whatever I can to stop global warming. I really love penguins and polar bears so I must stop global warming!”
Again, I wanted to laugh, but she was genuinely upset so I resisted the urge.
“We have to save energy. Because if we don’t, they will DIE!”
I consented to taking the nightlights and walked upstairs with her to get her back in bed. I found Marla sitting at the foot of Henry’s bed in the dark, consoling him as he whimpered. Apparently he didn’t want to kill polar bears but neither did he want to sleep in the dark.
The next morning I had a talk with Emma about energy efficiency and the nightlights were allowed to return.