Gisele Bündchen Says Her Son Does 'Not Want Presents' on His Birthday but Donations to Charities

Gisele Bündchen is trying to “lead by example” in teaching her children about sustainability.

The 39-year-old supermodel is Marie Claire‘s April 2020 cover star, and opens up in its pages about how she wishes to impart on her kids that “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our planet; this is our only home.”

The lessons Bündchen has passed on have certainly resonated in particular with her 10-year-old son Benjamin Rein. As she recalls to the magazine, “One story that I can remember is when we were at the beach and my son Benny found plastic in the ocean. He was so upset, and I explained to him that this is what happens after we discard things; they go to landfills and sometimes end up in the ocean.”

“For the past couple of years, he decided that he did not want presents from his friends at his birthday party,” adds Bündchen, who’s also mom to daughter Vivian Lake, 7, and stepmom to husband Tom Brady‘s son John “Jack” Edward Thomas, 12. “Instead, he would like if they could donate to organizations that help endangered species.”

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“As a family, we also each have our reusable water bottles, and the kids understand single-use plastic is really hurting our planet,” Bündchen says of her family’s efforts. “I see them talking with their friends about it and showing them their water bottles in hopes they might join them and use them too.”

“It makes me so proud to see them eager to share it with their friends,” she raves of her little ones. “Although a simple, small gesture, this is what it’s all about: having positive conversations, taking a solutions-oriented approach, and learning from one another.”

She also makes a point to “teach [her] kids the three Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle.”

“This straightforward approach allows us to work toward simple, alternative, eco-friendly processes in our everyday lives that can make a big difference. My family tries to focus on limiting the use of paper and plastic at home. We utilize a water filter and reusable water bottles and compost all our natural food waste,” Bündchen explains.

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“When we go grocery shopping, we always bring our own bags, and by buying from local farmers we reduce packaging waste,” says the star. “We do our best, but it can be challenging when it comes to living completely green — and that’s okay. I always remind my kids that every choice we make has an impact on our planet and that we always need to try our best; that’s what matters.”

Some of the moments Bündchen loves the most “as a mother,” in fact, are the ones “we get to spend in nature and learn together by doing. I love seeing my kids get excited when they find fresh eggs in our chicken coop or harvest the vegetables from our garden.”

The Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life author’s mantra of being gentle with the earth extends to the language she uses too, telling Marie Claire, “I try to show my kids how words have so much power and to use them with care.”

“If they don’t have anything loving to say, then they shouldn’t say anything,” she says. “Each person is special in his or her own way, and everybody has something unique to add to this world. We are all here to learn and grow.”