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I've been working toward a vegetarian lifestyle. I haven't gotten any resistance from my family (husband and two boys). As a matter of fact, my mom has started working towards it too. We've had many discussions on how awful it is that the animals have to suffer so just so that we can eat a meal or wear them and such. All has been quite harmonious, until this morning. Out of the blue she says to me, "I've been thinking about his whole vegetarian thing and I don't think it's fair to the kids. They won't be able to eat certain foods that all the other kids eat, they go to school and will be going to their houses and I think it will make them seem wierd."

I was really surprised. I told her that "I" had made a personal choice and wasn't forcing it on anyone, even my kids. I cook vegetarian meals at home, but for now they order whatever they want at lunch at school. This is a new thing for us and I haven't gone into many (if any) details as to where our food comes from at this point, but I plan to. My kids are 5 & 7 and very innocent about how things work. I don't want to scare them, but I will inform them and let them make their own choices. Have any of you come across comments like this from your families? Do your kids have any troubles being labeled "weird?"

Kind of blown away by all this...
 

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LOL. I was raised a vegetarian myself and I consider being weird a special prerogative.

Once in a while my almost-6-year-old daughter comes home complaining that she can't eat what her little friends have in their lunchboxes (sausage, ham, etc). Then I remind her that she loves animals so much (she wants to become a vet & all) and she's OK with our choice again. It's easier once you explain, I believe. I have never heard her complain about other kids calling her weird, either.

Sometimes when kids come over to play at our house they'll be doubtful about the food I offer them (if a meal is included in the date) but usually they just eat it, or not (some are picky), whatever. It has happened occasionally that a little friend would ask for something "meaty" in the meal and then I'd simply say sorry, we don't have that in our house. When my kid goes to other people's houses, I usually inform the other parents about our dietary habits. The rest is left up to my daughter. It has happened that she chose to try some of the meaty stuff the other kids at the house were eating. She usually came home telling me it didn't taste all that good anyway...

As for "making them weird". No. Vegetarian is not weirder than any other lifestyle or religious choice. It's not mainstream maybe, but it's a lot healthier, for instance.

Your mom is clearly worried about having her grandchildren "differ" from most other children. I have no experience with that (as my parents are vegetarians too) but as a parent, what you feed/tell/teach your children is your business, not hers. You can be understanding about her worries, but that doesn't mean you need to do as she thinks...
 

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ok, i've been labeled "weird" my whole life--and it was long before i became vegetarian. in fact, my family is 'pretty' mainstream, and i've always been 'weird.' i'm even 'weird' to my family.
but they like me.

the bottom line that i picked up sometime around jr high school is that no matter what i did or tried, i wouldn't fit in. if i tried to be like everyone else, it came off as a facade and people saw through that and then would be mean because of it (no one likes anyone being inauthentic, actually). if i was just being myself, most people didn't know what to make of it--but i was generally left alone and sometimes even begrudgingly liked. occassionally, i was teased. well, not occassionally--anytime my 'self' struck out in a very public way, then it would cause the 'social hammer' to come crashing down.

so i had to be 'stealth' and yet still authentic. so, in many public places (like school), i would completely tone down, but then in other places--like at home or on my own--i would completely open up and be myself, and it felt good to be so 'full' and open about it.

but again, socially, i'm kinda quiet until i feel comfortable enough to just be me.

so, bottom line, some of us are just "weird" anyway--no matter what we wear, eat, play, study, talk about, worship, or whatever else. we're just 'weird.'

now, it turns out that some people might think that someone is 'weird' but that kid is actually highly accepted. what i mean by this is that one of the most popular kids in my high school was a vegan. she chose to be vegan after her mother went vegetarian (i guess they went veggie around age 10, and she went vegan around age 14 or so). even though she was "weird" she was immensely popular with everyone. it was quite baffling to me, because usually being 'different' means that there's going to be a negative social reprocussion--but this isn't always the case.

so, to be honest, i don't 'get' how things are chosen to be socially policed and how kids are chosen to be the scape goats for other kid's frustrations.

bottom line, though, is i don't worry about 'weird.'

if/when i have kids, i darn hope that they're 'weird.' why? because in my experience, weird means authentic, self- realized and actualized, and deeply connected. the term 'weird' comes from the welsh word wyrd, which means 'by divine providence' or 'by grace of God.'

so, it's pretty darn worthwhile to be weird.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post

the term 'weird' comes from the welsh word wyrd, which means 'by divine providence' or 'by grace of God.'

so, it's pretty darn worthwhile to be weird.
 

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I think learning how to be different and independent from your peers is a priceless lesson. Even if the vegetarianism is imposed on them in the beginning, if they are confident enough, it can give them a positive experience that yes, you can be different and it won't destroy your life. Being "normal" or conforming isn't everything.

It's funny how parents want their children to stick up for themselves if someone is molesting them, pressuring them to have sex, drive drunk, do drugs, but then many of those same parents model to their children the exact opposite- they demonstrate to their children the importance of fitting in, keeping up with the jones' and worrying about what other people think. Either you want your kid to be confident in their independent thinking and choices or you don't. You can't have it both ways.

Besides, unless people are totally satisfied with the state of the world, in order for there to be any positive changes, someone is going to have to be "weird" and do things a different way. If everyone were the same and never tried to be weird, we'd still be living in caves.

Do people who worry about "weird" honestly believe that anyone who's ever achieved anything great or important did so by being like everyone else? Really. Revel in mediocrity, why don't they?
 
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