I am the voice of the voiceless
Through me the dumb shall speak
Till the deaf world’s ear
Be made to hear
The wrongs of the wordless weak.
And I am my brother’s keeper
And I shall fight his fight
And speak the word
For beast and bird
Till the world shall set things right.
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)
It is my sole job in life to raise up compassionate warriors. I’m not talking about just animals, I’m talking about warriors to be the voice of the voiceless. The voice of the planet. the voice of the children. The voice of the poor. The voice of the exploited.
There is one question I get asked that is second in popularity only to “Where do you get your protein?” It’s almost just as annoying. People always wonder if we force our dietary habits upon our children. I’m not the type of parent who makes a different meal for each of her finicky children. H – no. So yes, to an extent, our children eat whatever I make. To the vegans who ask this, its music to their ears (until I elaborate). To the carnivores, it’s shock and dismay.
When we attend a function or are at a restaurant our children are allowed to order or eat whatever is available. If they choose to consume animal products, it is their own choice. This is infuriating to some. If animal rights is so near and dear to our hearts why let our children consume them?
Veganism and animal activism is a very personal choice. I would prefer for them to come to this realization that animals deserve our respect, on their own terms. I hear young children mimic their parents beliefs all the time. I’m a republican I’ll hear them say. I’m a Christian, they’ll claim with pride. They have no idea what either of these things mean, but still their parents will beam with pride. The only problem is as soon as someone really questions their beliefs, if they are only superficial (meaning an extension of their parents beliefs) they’ll falter quickly.
More resilient is the child who chooses their own belief systems. It is better for a parent to lead by example, then to say this is my belief, but never live by them. Isn’t that often what we do as parents? The old do as I say and not as I do. It won’t yield long term results.
Because we distance ourselves so much from the food we eat, we thought putting a face to the burger would help provoke a sense of awareness. We visited a local organic farm and let our children spend the day seeing just how lovable, sweet, and fun farm animals could be.
There the children were able to pet sweet cows, play with pigs, and pick fresh vegetables and apples. They fed lambs and watch baby goats run and play. I love the sweet lambs my son exclaimed! It was touching to see them experience affection for animals that are seen as nothing more than a profit. A commodity to be treated in any manner we see fit.
It’s so important to remember that our children become some version of who we are as people. Be someone worthy of being emulated. I’m not just talking about veganism, or animal activism. Raise little ones who care and stand for something. Raise little ones who will stand for something they believe in. Teach them that there are things in this world worth fighting for. Worth being persecuted for. Whether it be for the well being of animals, the planet, or other people. Raise children who want to change the hearts of the world. What parent wouldn’t be proud. Alyssa, Luke & Jacob here is my hope for you: Don’t settle for anything less than changing the world. For whatever you believe. Don’t hang up your beliefs on the shelf because they make you different. Be the change I’ve always wanted to see in the world. Be the voice for those who can’t make the change themselves.