Mike Brady: The Energy Efficiency Genius
I love the Brady Bunch and have many episodes committed to memory, but it was only recently after trying to explain to my kids how much energy we use in the house, that I truly understood his genius.
In the episode “Sorry, Right Number,” Mike, who was concerned about his growing phone bill, decided to help the kids realize how much they are spending on phone calls. He accomplishes this by replacing the family phone with a pay phone.
We do not have a landline in our homes, and if I installed a pay phone, I am 100% positive my kids would have no idea what it was or how to use it. Our problem is not telephone calls, it is water usage.
We have 7 people in our home, along with 2 cats and 1 dog. We have our own Brady Bunch (but we call it the Rupp Group). 3 girls, 2 boys. My wife’s hair is made of gold and much like Mike Brady, I have a fantastic sense of style, and I am contemplating putting AstroTurf in the back yard for our family potato sack races. Oh, did I mention that all five kids are teenagers? Yep, 17, 16, 15, 13 and 13. WE USE A LOT OF WATER!
Then I came across a “Mike Brady” solution to our water use. Water Tickets.
I made 20 single tickets like the one above, and each time you use water to drink, eat, clean, use the restroom, or for any other purpose, the kids had to give me a ticket. How long do you think it would take for you to run of tickets? Do you know how much water your family uses? Below you can see how the average American family uses water inside their home.
Our 13-year-old boys are still in that mindset of thinking they can go a few days without showering, so they were fine with helping us conserve. And even though our oldest daughter’s nose was recently broken by a football, she could still smell the boys.
Then after some negotiation, the girls gave some of their daily tickets to the boys if they promised to shower every day. After a few days of this experiment, I gathered all the kids into the den and delivered a thoughtful, eloquent speech about the life lesson of conserving energy and resources.
My experiment of channeling Mike Brady was a huge success. The kids learned a valuable life lesson, and my wife looked at me with adoring, loving eyes, and we had pork chops and applesauce for dinner.
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