The Gift Of Choice
My Mother in law had been wondering whether our seven month old had tried any new foods and asked “what about eggs? Is it too early for eggs?”
“He may never taste eggs; he’s a vegan kid” My partner said.
“Poor baby!” She exclaimed, “Poor baby chickens…” I countered.
“Why ‘poor baby’?” Asked my partner, to which his mother replied “Well, he’s got no choice.”
This exchange sparked a conversation on choice and the many life decisions we make on behalf of our children. To my mind, we’re actually giving our son more choice by omitting animal products from his diet than if we were to include them. If he so chooses, once he is old enough to fully understand the implications of consuming the flesh or secretions of another animal he will be free to do so. Feeding him a vegan diet now will have no effect on that choice.
If, however, he sees the atrocities that mankind commits in order to produce foods obtained from animals and does not want to play a part in it, he can take comfort in the fact that he was never a participant.
We all make choices for our children based on what we think is the right thing to do. Cultural influence and religious beliefs weigh in on everything from to food choices to fashion, beauty ideals, and hygiene.
During this conversation, my mother in law recalled a visit to the house of a family member who wanted to give their niece a cup of tea, but was told they weren’t allowed caffeine due to their Mormon faith.
In a restaurant a few weeks ago, we saw a baby girl with pierced ears and I explained to my partner that in some cultures it is common practice to pierce the ears of little girls at just a few months of age.
The way I see it, feeding eggs to our baby is on par with piercing his ears; it’s something we can’t undo. There are many choices that we will have to make for him but it’s only fair that we leave as much as we can for him to make his own decision on- he is, after all, his own person.
Veganism is becoming more and more mainstream in our society but at the moment it is still somewhat of a struggle to field all the questions and criticism that raising a child on a plant based diet attracts. With every question, though, comes a chance to learn more ourselves and to educate others and encourage them to think about what’s on their plate. With every criticism we are afforded the opportunity to remind others that we are simply doing the same as any parent. We are doing what we believe is right for our child, we are giving him the gift of choice.
Tags: parenting advice, parenting support, raising vegan kids, Why Vegan