This seems to be the most emotive point raised since my change (never sure what to call it, my change, becoming a vegan, adopting a vegan lifestyle, doing no harm!) The potential or perceived impact on the children in our family; a 3 year old boy and 6 years old girl. There’s a balance between wanting them to understand what I am doing and why whilst avoiding exposing them to too many ‘real’ dimensions of suffering before they have the maturity to cope.
Certainly the older of the children is very inquisitive as to why I am doing this and asking me directly about the animals in the food she’s eating. We’ve never shied away from talking sensibly about animals as food and there’s been no pretence about where ham comes from or what’s in a sausage. The difference is now that my action is telling them that there is something inherently wrong with the choices we’re inflicting on them and the lifestyle I used to lead before.
As a vegan I feel on one hand I have a duty to bring everyone into the Ark so to speak, to evangelise about the myriad of benefits to the animal kingdom, the environment and the each person themselves. On the other hand my partners fear is that this will create a risk of alienation for the children as they go through school, head to play dates and birthday parties. I have never met another vegan so can’t disagree with the views she has formed during growing up with two vegan friends that she saw become isolated from the group and pseudo-bullied for their way of living.
Everyone naturally wants what is best for their children and I’m torn between pushing home the benefits of being a vegan to them and not wanting them to be alienated from their peers and friends.
I’m going to softly push a vegan agenda at home and encourage them to eat many more plant based products as we move along this journey. I do agree wholeheartedly with my partner that we need to ensure we’re fully prepared for this and to have ready sourced alternatives to the current food they are consuming.
Family life needs to be enjoyable and I have no desire to make it harder than it needs to be so mindful planning and a demonstration of the upside is defiantly in order!