Monday, 21 March 2011

This is how I feel - Milo Aged 6

It could be said I am rooted in the old school way of thinking.  

I believe (to a degree) that children should be seen and not heard (sort of).  We have strict bedtime routine  for the twins 6.30 pm and that routine is the key to harmony in our home.  Children are a major part of our life, but my husband and I were here first ! Our view is : children fit into our life, not the other way around.  We love them beyond words and listen to them when they talk.  We have strong views on certain things but try not to consciously influence them.  We want them to be their own people, they are after all three very different characters.  So this evening when we sat down to a lovely tea of chicken wings, chicken pieces , wedges and salad it was I suppose a wake up call for me when the following happened.

Milo -  "Jarvis, do you know that is a real chicken you are eating ?"

Jarvis -  "yes, so "

Me  " It is a real chicken darling, but this is what lots of people eat.  We eat animals"

Milo - face reddens, hands go upto his face and hides his eyes

Me - "Are you ok darling ?  You know if you don't want to, you don't have to eat the chicken".

Milo - "My eyes are leaking, I feel sad.  I don't want to eat a living thing".

Me - "Its not alive now darling but I know what you mean. Do you not want to eat animals ?"

Milo - "No mummy I don't.  It makes me feel sad to eat creatures.  Do they know when they are being killed ?"

Me -  " I'm not sure sweetie", (although I am sure they do,  I have a vivid image still in my mind of when I was serving in the Falklands over 20 years ago and I spent my R & R with a family who were sheep farmers.  To this day I can remember the sound of those sheep on the day they were herded into the pens to be put down, the panic amongst them as they tried not to be the next one taken).

Milo - "so do we eat humans ? "

Me - "No darling that would be so wrong, humans eat animals because they are part of our food.  They don't have the same brains as us and don't think like we do.  It would be wrong to eat other people. " (by this time we were all rapidly going off the lovely tea my husband had cooked us) and also getting into difficult territory with how much information is ok to give a six year old.

My husband commented after this conversation that Milo had told him in the garden today, not to cut the bush down as it would hurt the plant.

In the past I would have made light of someone whose child felt this way, but now, its my own child and it has made me totally rethink my own attitude to the depth of feeling that children have from an early age and how, I actually do believe that we are born with the personality and the traits that will form our whole adult life.  I honestly believe Milo will grow up to be vegetarian, and be a kind compassionate man.

I feel totally humbled by my six year old son tonight, his understand and insight.


12 comments:

  1. The sensitivity of children never ceases to amaze me. The things they come out with sometimes are completely amazing and really do make you stop and question yourself don't they?
    My friend decided at the age of five they would be a vegetarian for similar reasons and they've been one ever since....Milo sounds like a wonderful boy :) x

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  2. Hello sweetie (I love your avatar by the way - makes me smile everytime I see it).
    Thank you for your comment, it is amazing what children say, Milo in particular in our family is a very deep thinking child. I worry sometimes for him, but yes he is truly a wonderful soul xx

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  3. Oh bless him! What a sweet child he is.....he will be an amazing man and a credit to you both xxx

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  4. Hi Karen, Just want to say I think you did the right thing...it is hard to know how much to say but honesty is the best policy! We have always been up front about food, what it is and where it comes from. My eldest,7, does not eat meat as a conscious choice as he does not want to eat a something that was alive and my 6th old twins prefer not too but I don't worry if they are at a party or out and happen to eat something without realising! I don't eat meat and my husband doesn't really but only because I don't! He will eat meat if he fancies it. The one meat he or any of us do not eat and haven't for about 7 years is chicken. I think that Milo will probably stop eating meat as he seems to have an awareness already that will probably stay with him.

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  5. That's such a lovely post and one I can relate to. One of my girls, Olivia who is 3, is very emotional ans sensitive. She has a prized soft toy, Baby Dolphin, who has always lost his mummy and she helps him to find her. Although she fights with her sister about pretty much everything, inside I know she is very caring and her tough exterior is very much an act...maybe to stop herself being hurt emotionally (who knows) She has already said (at 3) that she wants to be an animal doctor when she grows up. It melts my heart every time she says it :)

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  6. Aww what a lovely senstive little boy you have. He's a sweetie. You are such a wonderful mother to listen to him, encourage his opinion and nurture them. x

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  7. Hi Tamzin and Gilly,
    Thank you for such reassuring comments. It really helps xx

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  8. This Conversation almost made me cry ( I think it's the tale of the sheep that did it!) and almost made me join Milo in not eating eating meat! Very sad when lamb is my favourite meat! But I have trained my head not to associate the meat on my plate with the cute lamb frolicking in the field! If I hadn't I would certainly have to give up on meat!

    You dealt with the subject most sensitively Karen! What a thoughtful and sensitive little lad you have :-)

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  9. Susan, thank you so much for your kind comment. It is so hard to know what is the right thing to say. I think like all thinkgs in my life I follow my instinct.
    It was really upsetting to see him like that. xx

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  10. Teri, thank you sweetie for your comment, I would hate to make you cry. That time on the Falklands was a real eye opener in many ways, some of the things that these families take for granted in their everyday life was truly upsetting to me. But that is how it is in different countries. They had a much harder lifestyle, and animals were just food to them. No sentiment attached at all.
    One minute they would have lambs running around inside the house, next they would be on the dinner plate !

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  11. Aww it's so difficult to make sense of everything when you are just 6 years old. He sounds like such a lovely sensitive little soul and you have handled it really well. It's not easy being a Mum sometimes is it x

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  12. My brother was the same, he never ate meat really. And now he's a very happy vegan. I think we are sometimes guilty of poo pooing kids and their ideas, but my bro is proof that sometimes its a life long choice. Love your family writings hun, you always make me think XXx

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