Posted on

TUMPEK BUBUH. Teaching Children about the Environment

Parents in Bali have their own way of teaching their children to conserve the environment. As well as the ritual procession of Tumpek Bubuh, they are also taught how to care for the environment from an early age.

Children are encouraged to use their intuition and thought; the way is neither transparent nor mysterious. Parents prefer not to try to give a complete explanation, because they are afraid that the method will be wrongly expressed.

When the parents in Bali want to convey the way of environment conservation by planting a coconut tree, for example, they invite the children to participate in making the hole. After that, they carry the children one by one while putting the pijer (coconut seed) in the hole. The parents only explain that carrying the children symbolizes their hope that the coconut will be fertile, have a strong trunk and have lots of fruit, just like the parents carrying their children.

Coconut trees for the Balinese have a multiple use, where its leaves start from busung (young coconut leaf), selepan (ripening coconut leaf) until danyuh (dry coconut leaf), which can be used for rituals. Many jejahitan (plaited coconut leaves) are used in ceremonies and leaves can also be used for food places, brooms and roofs. Its fruit can become a traditional Balinese food supplement, used in lawarjukut urab, sager, saur and cakes. It can by processed to make cooking oil and the rest, in the form of usam, can be mixed with pork. Meanwhile, the coconut trunk can be used as house or sacred place material. There are many Balinese artisans turning coconut trunks into works of art to sell to tourists.

The Balinese also give an example to their children by placing a young trunk on the top of the trunk tree that just been cut. Usually, they choose a good quality tree that has attained the age of tens or hundreds of years. This process is to remind their children to always plant a new tree as the replacement for a felled one. Just like the proverb, ‘patah tumbuh hilang berganti’ (the one that is broken grows, the one that is lost will change), or ‘mati satu tumbuh seribu’ (for one that has past, a thousand will grow). That will guarantee conservation from time to time. Humankind shall not lose food resources, clothes and shelter.

But, does carrying children and placing the young trunk have a simple meaning? This behavior seems common, but if it looked at through mature eyes, it contains a multidimensional religious point. It contains guidance in gardening, moral guidance, love and affection, and playing. From an early age, children are taught the way education experts claim – ‘learning by doing’. By direct field practice, the children more quickly absorb the lesson and will remember it forever. The methodology is very simple but it works effectively.

A child while being carried, listening to advice how on how to plant, take care, and use the coconut tree, learns the benefit of the plants for the existence of human life. For the children, besides obtaining the theory or useful advice of planting, this is also their chance to play and feel the love and affection of their parents.

Playing in the garden also makes the family very merry and happy. The children whilst carried by their parents, like to play around, such as shaking their body or legs. The risk is the parents will lose for balance, and then fall on the ground. Seeing their parents and brothers fall, the other children will cheer before helping. While sitting together, the parents give advice in order that the children will not randomly climb trees, shake trees and cause destruction. ‘If this happens, we will fall in need and will not be able to eat,’ the parents said. The children nod their heads as to show that they understand the message. The children may also realize that harming anyone or anything, including plants, will cause suffering for all creatures.

Children from an early age can plant, take care, and harvest plants, so that the environment survives and lives eternally. If you have time, try to carry your children on your shoulder while planting a tree. It will bring your family closer together in the calm and comfortable green environment.

Ketut Sumadi

Bali Travel Newspaper

NOTE: First time Published in BLOG – Tri Hita Karana Products on date 15 Jan 2015