How do you inspire others?

Every year, I try to introduce my family to newer concept on living right. We already live a pretty simple life but there are areas that still need ‘work’. One factor that’s on my side, though, is being the mother and a wife; it’s easier to make decisions that affect my family’s welfare on my own terms – most of the time. And when I need to convince them on certain points a bit more strongly, without being a nag, I use a sneaky tool to educate them.

Movies or documentaries.

Yup. Passive aggressive at its best. Yea, yea, it might seem like I’m cheating but I’m mom enough to admit when I need help. Truth be told, I normally hate, HATE, when they become zombies in front of the T.V. but for this purpose, I’ll even pop some popcorn so they can watch without getting up to get snacks. Let’s face it, gone are the days when I can tug my kids in bed and read them bed time stories as they are bigger than me now. So watching films together and having discussions – or heated debates – afterwards seem to work better for telling them stories.

Inspirational Movies and Documentaries

I remember the first time I took them to see “Supersize Me” at a local theater. My, then, nine year old daughter didn’t eat fries for months afterwards.

Then, four years ago, I got to pick a family movie, Food, Inc., after a Thanksgiving meal. I didn’t plan on watching the movie after overdosing them on Tryptophan but unfortunately, it just turned out that way. So, in between dozing on and off, they learned the dangers of GMO and Monsanto. Now, my son questions every time he has popcorn whether the kernels are GMO free.

food inc

And two years ago, we watched the Beavans family conquer Manhattan on bikes and do laundry in their bathtub with their feet in an award winning documentary, “No Impact Man“.

no impact man

Then, there was Annie Leonard’s thought provoking “The Story Of….” series. My daughter was aghast when she saw “The Story of Cosmetics” and wrote “How to choose make up for a teenager” in 9th grade when she found out how hard it was to buy non-toxic make up.
story-of-cosmetics

In 2011, the “red carpet” premiere event, à- la-mom, was “Gas Land“. (If you have Amazon Prime Membership, this movie is FREE on kindle right now.)

Now, my family doesn’t take their clean drinking water for granted and they think of natural gas with some reverence. But the most dramatic moment of the movie wasn’t seeing all those toxic brown water samples. It was when my hubby abruptly got up to sell shares of a money making stock because he learned what fracking really was. Until the movie, he naively believed the company was a good bet for its aggressive innovations on extruding natural gas.

And by the way, NYS might be allowing fracking in some areas – near the PA border – soon. Governor Cuomo has been delaying making his decision but there was an “independent” study that was just released yesterday that stated fracking was “safe”. We are holding our breath here in NY to see what the Governor does.

gasland

And finally, 2012 movie of the year for our family was “Forks Over Knives“. It changed our lives as my hubby – a guy who can be the entire lobbying group for the Meat and Potato industries – has turned, wait for it….a vegetarian!

Yes! I am dead serious. I’ve been a Pescatarian (I occasionally ate fish, eggs, and dairy) but since hubby wanted to strictly follow the FOK diet, we had to cut out all oils – even olive oil – and nuts! He even bought the cookbook and he started to cook more. I have to admit; we were going insane for awhile but once we got used to eating ‘less’, it was no big deal. But then, as suspected, we started to add oils and nuts back into our diet because cooking was becoming an all day affair. We now eat seafood too. But still, he hasn’t eaten meat since March of 2012! For a guy who had to have meat at least once a day, this was HUGE! Monumentally HUGE!
forksoverknives

Not that I want to reveal his health records here – HIPAA and all that – he initially lost weight and looked great. His cholesterol level came down (it was never that high but just average) and he said he felt much ‘lighter’. And, what do kids eat now? They also eat less meat and eats more veggies. They always ate a lot of veggies but now, with less meat, they have replaced that portion with even more veggies.

So there you have it. My sneaky ways of introducing NEW concepts to my family. There a many MANY more films like these that you can buy or borrow. In fact, hubby started to watch more documentaries than B/W Humphrey Bogart movies after awhile. ;P

But enough about me. How do YOU inspire your family and friends?

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18 comments
Brenna
Brenna

This is a timely post for me as it has been an issue I have been thinking about a lot. There was a video that was going around on Facebook a while ago, although I am not sure how old it is and looked like it had been converted into an ad, that talked about a little test a couple of scientists wanted to do to get more people to take the stairs over the escalator. At the end it talked about the "fun theory," which really struck a nerve with me. To get people to make positive changes more readily we need to make it fun. So how can we do that on a large-scale? It is the big question any advocate would love to figure out, but I think there is something to that fun theory.

Paige
Paige

Movies are a great way to wake people up without having to "preach" yourself!! I love the movies you listed as well as Toxic Baby, which I hope gets wider release soon!

dovy
dovy

I must have missed the post regarding Star Bucks. I am not a big fan. The main reason is I do not drink coffee. I have heard that they do many charitable things. I have also heard that they do not support the war and therefore will not support the troops by providing some coffee for them. Do not know if it true, but I have heard this twice.

Desiree Fleck
Desiree Fleck

I love watching documentaries with my soul partner, my parents, and friends. It truly is a great way to open people up to different ideas! A really awesome movie that I've been talking up lately is Dive! It's a moving about dumpster diving amazing, healthy, and perfectly safe food from dumpsters including health food stores. I used to do it, but now I actually have a relationship with a health food store in Springfield, MO where I pick up their bruised, overripe, damaged produce and use it for my "compost".... of course some of it ends up in my kitchen!

Jen @ Go Green
Jen @ Go Green

I use science as for some reason Joe goes along with things easier if there have been experiments and studies. (nerd). Movies help to spark conversation too...even movies like The Day After Tomorrow where you don't even realize you are being hit with an environmental message.

Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama
Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama

Not that I want to rush my babies to grow up, but I really look forward to the day when we can sit down and watch these kinds of films as a family and discuss important issues. Love your way of inspiring the family!

Adrienne
Adrienne

My husband and I started an organization to try to inspire people to pick up litter. It's called Litterati (www.litterati.org) and it's all about cleaning up our planet one piece of litter at a time. The idea is to make it fun and even a little artistic. By sharing our story with people, we hope to inspire them to get involved; even if they just pick up one piece of trash a day, they are making a difference. And I'm proud to say that it was actually our 4-year-old daughter who inspired my husband to start this project. :-)

dovy
dovy

I am not sure if I inspire others or not. I always try to be kind and giving. I like for others who interact with me leaving with a good feeling. If I can relieve someone else's stress may ehelping them to smile, then I feel like I have made their day little better.

ecokaren
ecokaren

Me too Paige. I attended the screening last year in NYC and it was really well done but couldn't share it with my family yet. :( Can't wait for it to be released! It may be this year's Movie of the Year in ecokaren's world!

karen
karen

I saw that Starbucks was No. 1 trash according to Literatti.org Check it out. That's interesting about them not supporting the war.

karen
karen

Oh, that sounds like an interesting one. I'll check it out. And jealous that you have a relationship with a health food store. I used to get old and bruised fruits from a neighbor who owned a fruit and vegetable store. Not organic but still, we had our share of some good ones that she couldn't sell. Thanks for the tip about Dive. One more to my list. I'm also going to check out Chasing Ice this year.

ecokaren
ecokaren

That's why my hubby went for FOK....because of the Science and proof by the two MD's in the movie. Yes, science research and data makes it much easier to support your case. Can't beat facts, ya know?

ecokaren
ecokaren

I know what you mean by not wanting to rush things. Hold on to the little ones. They do grow so fast! But you know what? It's not too early to start discussing issues while watching movies....and T.V. shows... There are great children's shows that discuss environments more and more. Great time to open the conversation about our planet. But you are probably already doing that. :)

ecokaren
ecokaren

Oh, I LOVE your site! Shocked by the stats! Starbucks tops all? Really? Now I can't wait to check it out often! And if everyone thinks like your 4 year old, we wouldn't be in this mess! Thanks for sharing!

ecokaren
ecokaren

Can I invite you for our next Thanksgiving dinner??? That sounds like a great motto to live by. If only 10% of the population did what you did, we would create utopia! Thanks for sharing. P.S. Seriously, you have an open invitation to my house any time. :)

dovy
dovy

I was wrong about Star Bucks. Following is what I found out. So sorry for spreading this rumor. "Many people have been mis-informed about Starbucks stand on the war in Iraq. There have been several blogs, websites, and news articles written about this particular topic. Even Starbucks wrote a response to all of the up-roar on its Starbucks Rumor Response Page. The issue began when a Marine Sergeant sent Starbucks a letter explaining how the troops under his command, in Iraq, loved and missed Starbucks coffee. The Marine Sergeant asked if Starbucks would please send over a care package of coffee for the men in his company. Starbucks responded to the e-mail by explaining there donation policy only allows them to donate product to non-profit organizations such as charities, schools, etc. The response Starbucks gave to the marine shocked the patriots of the United States. Many didn't understand that guidelines for donations are set in place by businesses to make sure donations stay on the side of the law. Instead, people thought Starbucks did not support the war and that it was being unpatriotic. However, to fix the issue Starbucks teamed up with the American Red Cross to get Starbucks coffee to the troops. The Red Cross receives the donation and then turns around and redistributes it to troops serving in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. There has been over 50,000 pounds of whole been coffee distributed to the troops."

Adrienne
Adrienne

Thanks! I'm glad you like the site! We're really excited about it and are looking forward to 2013 being a big year for Litterati. If you get a chance, you should give it a try...All you need is a smartphone to snap pics of the trash before you throw them out. Happy New Year!

ecokaren
ecokaren

Thanks for clarifying. Glad they found a way around their policy to give some coffee to the troop.

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  1. [...] new food on them, right?  Well Karen of ecokaren uses the time-proven tactic of teaching Mr. Man and the Kiddos by passive means.  You know, pop some GMO-free popcorn and press play.  Movies and documentaries may seem [...]