I was just reading a link from Cora's blog about being part-time vegetarian, here. The article is all fine and dandy, a good start for most people who want to try it, but there was an interesting comment that perked my interest, probably having to do with my soon-to-be motherhood.
Some of the comments had to do with having happy, healthy vegetarian and vegan children. On the other hand one stated that this concept should never be raised to a growing child, that it's something they should figure out on their own. This is something I apparently strongly disagree with, although I just figured that out.
When I was growing up my mom's boyfriend loooooved steak, we had it several times a week if I recall correctly. My mom always ate it and my sister loved it. It made me want to throw up just smelling it, never mind chewing it. I was seven. But I had to eat it, there was no choice, really there could not have been. We weren't loaded with money and steak was a treat, and he worked hard to make it just right, marinating it for hours. We ate what was put in front of us, period.
Inherently I didn't like it. I've also never liked burgers (I'd choose a hot dog from as far back as I can remember- except for the flimsy little McDonald's burgers we'd get once in a while) and almost can't stand meatloaf unless it's mixed thoroughly with heaps of mashed potatoes, corn and ketchup. Roast beef was the only beef dish I remember loving, and mostly I just sopped up the gravy with chunks of bread.
Many years later it turns out that beef consumption can cause complications in people with endometriosis, like myself. The estrogen hormones in all meat can be a problem on that level. One of the things you should not do if you have endometriosis is eat mammals, or other animals that have been pumped full of artificial growth hormones.
Not wanting beef was not a moral issue for me until I was about 14. I just didn't like it. Had I been given the choice, had that been an acceptable way to raise a kid, I would have choosen against it at a very early age. Why would you not give your kids the choice when other living beings are involved? I'm not knocking my mom (please mom, don't be mad!) but I am saying that if you are conscience of the choice, don't keep your kids out of it. The people who think that vegetarianism is acceptable for them and other 'adults' but not their children, that is all very strange to me. Children have the right to choose and also change their mind.
Possibly my kids will never eat red meat or pork unless they are out with their father eating on the town. They may like it more because of the special treat aspect that will go along with it if he does choose to feed it to them, but that is their choice. It won't be cooked in the house because I am the cook and that is my choice, and I will be honest with them as to why that is. I understand childrens' minds are malleable, but half the things my parents did doesn't necessarily make me do the same. We are all very different people and I want my children to have as many choices in becoming their own person as early on as possible.