I told this to my two devotee friends in Bergen this spring and they were appalled. It was unacceptable in their belief and they considered it my obligation to make sure the kid is vegetarian. Whatever the parent decides, the kid have to do.
Well, you know what the problem with this is? They don’t have kids. They have no idea what it means to have a kid in the situation I live in.
You see, I was staunch on the kid being vegetarian even before the kid was born. This was a big problem between my ex and me, with numerous discussions that went nowhere. My ex was eating meat and wanted the kid to experience the same food culture as him, while I considered it to be violence and murder and certainly not food culture.
While the kid was a baby it was no problem because mother’s milk is vegetarian. The problem arised when the kid became more aware of what he was eating – and that happened much more quickly than I thought.
He was only a couple of months over one year when I realized this wasn’t working. The kid knew he wasn’t allowed to eat the same thing as his father and he was hurt. He wanted to eat what his father was eating and he made it clear. He didn’t care much for what I was eating, and didn’t want it.
Now, when my kid is nearing three, it’s still the same case. He prefer meat over my meals, unfortunately.
The thing is, a kid has a personality and a will of his own. From the moment a kid is born, that kid has a personality and a will. You can try your best to be a role model, but that kid makes his own decisions.
If I had been living in an all vegetarian environment, this would never have been a problem. But since his family and everybody around is eating meat – there isn’t anything I can do. I can only be a role model and provide guidance if wanted when he becomes older and start questioning things.
I only have two principles. I will never buy meat and I will never prepare it. Those are the only principles I’m able to stand for because they involve me. Any action on behalf of other people is beyond me. I can control myself, but not other people. Not even my kid.
Let’s say I force vegetarianism on my son. I’m pretty sure I know what will happen. As he grows older, he will oppose my strict rule and become a verocious meat eater. Do I know this for sure? No, and eating prasada will probably help on this.
Still, I have no bad conscience for letting this happen, though it’s wrong. So this is a case of circumstances versus philosophy where circumstances is winning.
The problem is, I’m pretty sure my Gurudeva would never say that this is okey, which makes my decision wrong. Though I can’t really see I can do something different in this case.