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I "converted" to vegetarianism in 1970... Had the "aha!" moment of dead animal on my plate... Began eating fresh fruit and veggie foods and felt ALIVE! I was 18....

Forty-two years later, after raising two boys veggie from birth, my youngest at 17 is choosing to fit in and eat socially rather than publicizing his eating habits at home....

What's a parent to do? Well this parent wonders why and how it didn't come up before now! And my response: "OK, you (son) make your personal choices and learn and adapt from your own unique experiences... I trust your intuition and intelligence!"

What if instead of a vegetarian lifestyle I had chosen a religious one at 18? What if instead of talking about the ethical treatment of animals I had spoken about God's word, of Mohammad's teaching? What if instead of my son eating chicken sandwiches out he was straying from believing the holy scriptures?

Are we parents to indoctrinate with the "Aha" of our experience... or to unconditionally love and support our children's unique gift to mankind?
I choose the latter and suspect that my "veggie" teachings will help guide his future decisions in ALL things ...


Responses (4)

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    Posted by rciavatta at 04/29/13 11:08:28

    This is a great story! Once I decided to go vegan, which is very recently, I thought about all possible aspects that this commitment would infer in my life, including pregnancy one day and of course parenting.
    It made me think of how my mom raised me which was to expose me to all different of things and let me make my own choices... I would go to a Buddhist temple, eat vegetarian but then the next morning I'd ask her if I could have bacon and eggs, because I wanted to mimic Americans (I'm Brazilian). Of course, she never preached or told me no but at the same time she shared her vegetarian diet with me. Also, I've always been an animal person, being exposed to animals since birth.
    So yes, I believe the way is to educate, share, talk, talk, expose but ultimately let them make their own decisions. I wonder what my partner, who isn't vegan or vegetarian will think of when the moment comes and I decide the best our children is to raise them on a vegan diet...
    May I ask, is your partner vegan too?

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    Posted by vbaculum at 04/30/13 21:31:25

    Well, you didn't "convert" to vegetarianism; you de-converted from carnism. So the religious analogy isn't apt.

    An apt analogy would be recreational animal abuse, such as finding an orphaned cat and tormenting for pleasure. Would you have a laissez-faire attitude toward your son if he were a recreational sadist. Eating animals causes tremendous suffering for the sake of pleasure.

    Obviously, anyone will need to have there aha moment. But it's important to see were veganism fits in the world of concepts: it's not a religion; it's opposition to unnecessary harm. One shouldn't abandon their principles for the sake of harmony.

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    Posted by dragonfruit at 05/03/13 06:45:22

    Two replies two responses: First, is my spouse vegetarian? The boys mother is vegetarian--like me from an early age. Herein lies another issue: When I was vegetarian the word vegan almost didn't exist as few if any had heard it pronounced... I was a member of LA Vegetarian Society and one of the very very few young people (never saw young people) and 90% of the older members(???) were health conscious vegetarians... Anyway, to find a partner I "advertised" in a magazine for vegetarian singles which would mail out a list of single women across the nation... Being the ONLY veggie singles organization at the time a list sent to me of about a dozen women of all ages was encouraging...
    I married a women from Texas! But veggie was all we had in common! Mostly all... The boys were 9 and 13 when we separated. I later met a women I married who was not vegetarian and we have much in common. She "de-converted" from carnalism and thanks me often for the positive influence!

    The second reply misses the point as my intent in writing is about having a point of view that one holds so close to their core that if a time comes when they have children they "mandate" it in their lives--like is so often the case with religion...

  • DC1346's avatar
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    Posted by DC1346 at 05/18/13 10:59:00

    This is a problem faced by all parents. I'm 52 years old and I'm still getting grief from my father for my life's choices.

    I'm vegan and he's not.

    I was a Republican until a group splintered off to form the Tea Party because the GOP supposedly wasn't conservative enough. (Eye roll). My father is a liberal Democrat. (I'm now an independent.)

    I'm Methodist. My father is an outspoken atheist.

    I'm a reclusive introvert which is also why I'm a steadfast bachelor. My father is extroverted and has been married twice.

    To address your concerns, I'd offer this observation. Focus on the big picture. Look at the forest and not the trees. Don't sweat the small stuff.

    If you did your job well as a parent, your kid will be polite, caring, clean cut, hard working, and law abiding. Short of getting into angry confrontations with your kid, which are only bound to push your child further away, there's really nothing you can do.

    A couple of years ago, I had a Mormon kid in one of my classes who went "bad." His parents were very devout and they really wanted him to graduate and to go on mission as so many Mormon youth do.

    The more the parents pushed, the more their kid pushed back.

    I remember how this student once asked me if I'd ever seen the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. When I asked him why he would want to watch such a violent film that had absolutely no redeeming qualities, he gave me a strange look and told me that his parents had said the same thing. He then told me that his parents had banned him from watching this film. When I observed that this was a good thing, he told me that he'd gotten around this prohibition by watching the film at a friend's house.

    The kid in question was eventually arrested for dealing drugs. He stole his grandfather's prescription medication and sold it, promising effects that never happened. The kid was beaten up by several of his customers and everyone was arrested.

    This student wound up being expelled. He earned a GED while in a juvenile correction facility. He never went on mission and the last I heard, he was into drugs and alcohol.

    I feel sorry for his parents.

    If all you have to worry about is a kid who's not eating vegetarian while he's out with friends, you're doing a lot better than several parents I know.

    Be thankful for the son you have.

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