I have MUCH to update on this here blog, but I just have to share a little anecdote from today...
Wade and I spent the morning with my good friend Leslie's kids, Callan and Thatcher (5 and 2 1/2). Wade adores them, and they are so sweet to him. I have loved watching Wade develop his own little friendships. But I digress...We eventually made our way to a playground, where there were a handful of other kids already playing. Their moms were hanging out at some nearby picnic tables, and it was pretty clear that several of the kids were siblings. So, I'm pushing Wade in the swing and offering him bites of his snack/lunch at the same time (I'm learning my son is a bit of a grazer, so we're going with it--whenever he'll eat, I'm all for it), and I'm soon joined by a four year old girl in the swing next to us. I think her name started with an 'M', so we'll call her "M". M looks over at me and asks me directly, "Do you eat meat?" I was a bit taken aback and wondered where this four year old was going to take the conversation, but I said "yes, I do." (I decided it probably wasn't appropriate to go into the details that we are trying more and more to opt for meat/poultry that we can feel good about...ie. know where it came from, how it was raised/treated, etc.) She then responded with sincere sympathy in her voice, and said to me, I kid you not, "You don't know any better." I have to tell you I let out a little chuckle at this! My goodness, a four year old is telling me this? Then M's five year old brother (we'll call him R), came over and explained that they used to eat meat, but now they know better..."They don't want to hurt the animals," he said.
It doesn't stop here, my friends. Over the course of the next five to seven minutes or so, I was interrogated by these kids multiple times! While giving Wade bites of a quesadilla, R asked me if the cheese was "real" or "fake"?! Then, when I told them I was giving Wade pretzels to eat, M asked me if the pretzels had meat in them! Their last effort came when I was giving Wade his cup of milk to drink. When I confirmed to M that yes, it was cow's milk, she again told me with such sadness in her voice that I "didn't know any better." R chimed in again and reminded me that they didn't like to hurt the animals.
Now, let me just say a few things.
1. This whole encounter made me laugh! How funny that these little kids could ask such interesting questions!
2. This is not intended to be an anti-vegetarian/anti-vegan/anti-animal post at all! I completely respect those folks who feel convicted to abstain from eating animal products! Really. Rock on, my friends.
3. This makes me realize how our children truly are sponges! (I am assuming, and I could be wrong, that these children learned to be concerned about these things from their parents. In fact, come to think of it, I should have asked M and R where they developed these opinions...) Wow! I am totally inclined to take the things about which I'm passionate a bit too far, and this encounter really taught me that whether I want to or not, my children will learn from what they see me say and do.
4. I think it is GREAT to care about the food you eat (if there are any of you out there who have not seen Food Inc, I cannot recommend it enough), and I am totally on board with questioning the food we have traditionally consumed so much of (read: highly industrialized, chemical-laden foods), but I pray that God would temper my fervor and keep me from allowing meal time to become an anxiety-filled experience. Yet another place where I so need His grace.
All that to say, I just wanted to share this story mainly because it really made me laugh, but also because I do think it raises some interesting ideas to consider.