The upcoming generations of little vegans are the movement leaders of the future. It’s so important to prepare them for their encounters with non-vegan peers. How will they react when they see a schoolmate eating a turkey and cheese sandwich after all the lessons you’ve taught them about keeping animals off the plate? Will they yell and embarrass their peer? Will they avoid those kids all together? My hope is that we are creating a generation of vegans who will be comfortable with open discussion.
A generation who knows that their lifestyle is not necessarily the ‘norm’ but understands that change is a process that happens on an individual basis. By simply explaining their compassionate lifestyle (even in the most basic child-like way), vegan kids can make a big impression on non-vegan peers. The key is getting vegan children comfortable and even eager to discuss why they don’t eat animals.
Try having a talk with your little vegans about how fortunate they are. You might say something like ” You know, lots of your school-mates are not as lucky as you…they’ve never learned about how sweet a chicken is or how cuddly a cow is. Maybe if they knew, they wouldn’t want to eat them anymore…” Encouraging open discussion is a crucial part of raising young vegans. Another approach might sound something like: “You know how we can save even more animals? By helping our friends to understand what’s on their plate…I bet most of your school-mates don’t even know what they’re eating…”
This is not to say that these children are going to suddenly turn vegan…their parent’s may not even allow it. But it will make them think and the seed of compassion will have been planted. Some may take action right away, and others might come back to the thought of veganism years later, when they can truly make their own decisions. There is absolutely nothing wrong with teaching your child a bit of activism. If the vegan movement is to continue growing, we need kids who will discuss their lifestyle rather than apologize for it!