Ever since S started Kindergarten in August 2013, he has tonnes of questions about eating meat (very progressive questions). To understand more about why eating meat is a question in our family there are a couple of facts to be brought to light: firstly, I don't eat meat (hubby dear does). Secondly, the reason behind not eating meat is because I believe in ethical treatment of animals (not because we are brahmins).
Until Kindergarten, S attended pre-school at Green Bay Montessori where each child brought their own lunch and there was no school cafe. And his teacher, Mrs.K would warn him with the meat items during any potlucks or festival celebrations. On the contrary, most of his friends in Kindergarten buy their lunch from the school cafeteria and all of them take meat in different forms (chicken nuggets, hot dogs, bacon strips, salami, meat pieces in salad etc etc)...Below are his progressive conversations about the same:
S: Mom, some of my friends eat meat? Why don't we eat meat?
Myself: Because I don't like killing animals for satisfying someone's tastes buds.
S: So, my friends kill animals?
Myself: Not exactly, your friends do not kill animals. But because there are people like your friends who like eating meat, someone people kill animals and get it ready for your friends and others.
S: So, who kills animals?
Myself: There are people who kill animals and those people are called hunters.
S became silent and began digesting these thoughts...
While going through the local grocery store, he read the label "Chicken Nuggets" on a packet and exclaimed, "Oh Amma! that is chicken nuggets and we cannot buy it because we cannot eat meat. We do not want to hurt the animals, right?" . I answered in the affirmative and headed to the car. Just when I was glad that there were no more questions, I heard an inquisitive little 4-yr old's (about to be 5 in a month) voice -
S: Amma, why don't we eat meat?
Myself: I do not like killing animals. Imagine that animal's babies and family? If someone cuts me and eats me, will my family be happy?
S: No Amma.
Myself: Similarly I feel that animals should not be killed to be eaten - only because there are people who want to eat meat, there are hunters who kill animals. But this is my thought Siddhu.
Being a chatty boy, he forgot his lunch box at home and I noticed it only after the school lunch time. I still called to check if I could give him his lunch because being a vegetarian I wondered what he would eat from the school cafe. Since it was still recess time, they allowed me to give him his lunch. And then while eating his PB&J sandwich,
Myself: Siddhu dear, I am so sorry. I thought you put it in your bag but apparently you did not; I should have checked again.
S: That's OK, Amma. But they allowed me take a lunch form the school cafe.
Myself: So, what did you eat?
S: Some baby carrots, cucumbers and a salad. Everything else had meat in it. Even the salad had bacon pieces in it, but because we do not eat meat I removed those pieces and tried the salad but I did not like it.
I thought that was pretty big thinking for a 4 yr old.
Further conversations are noted in an upcoming post here.