Magazine article American Forests

The Johnny Appleseed Kid

Magazine article American Forests

The Johnny Appleseed Kid

Article excerpt

This 10-year-old proves "becoming great" is possible once you put your mind to it.

My name is Corbin Billings and I am a fifth grader at Jenks Southeast Elementary in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They call me "The Tree Kid" because when I was 9 I decided to spend my life savings to print bumper stickers with my picture that read, "Corbin says, "DO YOUR SHARE TO GET CLEAN AIR."

My mom, Dawn Billings, wrote a book called Greatness and Children: Learn the Rules, and she decided to use the ideas in her book on me. One day she asked me if I wanted a job. "Doin' what?" I asked.

"Becoming great," she said. She said I had to watch positive television programs on a success channel, read great books, and listen to tapes of great and successful people. That didn't sound too hard, so I said sure.

About a year ago I went to the doctor because I had really bad allergies and couldn't breathe. When I asked him why this was happening to me, he said we had more pollution than ever, a hole in the ozone layer, and that we didn't have enough trees, the lungs of the planet. I decided that someone needed to do something and that someone could be me.

"I need a goal that's bigger than me," I told my room. "We have to set goals that are bigger than us. Something that will stretch us and make us and the world a better place."

"Bigger than you, huh. What's bigger than you?" she asked.

"I'm just a kid," I said. "Everything's bigger than me."

I thought and thought and then it hit me: pollution. …

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