The Way We Grow Up

As some of you might know, I’m a nanny. Recently I started to work 4 days instead of 5, so I can focus on Planet Manel more. Being a nanny, obviously means that you’re always in contact with children. It also means you’re always in contact with the things around children. You go to playgroups, music classes, libraries, parties, nurseries, schools, meet other nannies and parents, playgrounds, zoo’s.. I can keep going, but I think you have an idea of what I mean. I’m vegan now for a bit over 3 years, but only lately I keep noticing how we grow up in this society where killing and using animals is so normal. In fact, most of us are getting familiar with it since birth I would say.

img_6609A child is pure and honest. How can a baby choose what to eat? And though 2 year olds can be really controlling about what they eat, in the end, they can only eat what you give them. You can get a lot of critic raising your child vegan. People say that you’re forcing your child to be vegan. I see it the other way around. Feeding your child animal products is forcing them to eat animals and you’re teaching them not to respect them. I do believe that if a child is able to choose, it would not choose to use, kill or eat an animal. Children are naturally very compassionate towards animals. Animals are friends in their eyes, not food, not shoes and not an ingredient in their bath bubbles. Only a child doesn’t know most of the times that it’s eating pork or wearing a woollen jumper. There comes a point though that they find out that the mince meat in their bolognese is made of a cow and that the fish next to their chips is a fish who swam in the ocean not long before. For some children that comes when they’re 4 years old and another realises it when turning 9. Though, at that point, people tell them ‘it’s ok’. You’re literally telling them that it’s alright to make a difference between animals. To not care about their feelings or maybe to act like those animals have no feelings. Isn’t that unfair?

i-only-drink-human-milk-onesieYou are what you eat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much for breast-feeding, it’s totally vegan! Though, if the mum eats meat or drinks milk.. part of that is also going to the baby. Not only with breast-feeding, but already since the very beginning, starting in the womb. The body uses the food the mum eats to help the baby grow and to produce milk. This is the reason you can’t eat very spicy things for example, you risk the baby getting cramps. This is the very first thing what happens to a young innocent baby. Then after a few weeks or months a lot of mums have to stop breast-feeding for all sorts of reasons. So a lot of people will start giving their babies formula, based on cow’s milk. Milk what is made for a baby cow. From about 4 months, the weaning starts. First some fruit and veggies, but then also yogurt, milk, cheese, eggs and meat. This article is not about sugar and E-numbers, but with the weaning that also starts. A lot of children biscuits or cereals are full of crap.

img_5912That is all about food, but what about toys, books and education? How many toys are out there of happy elephants in the circus? Or the smily hippo’s in the zoo? Children are taught that elephants belong in the zoo, not in Africa. Worst of all, they’re being taught that the elephants like to be in the circus. But one of the biggest things that annoys me I think, is the farm books and toys. Children are being taught that chickens are here to give us eggs, cows exist so they can give us their milk, sheep are here to give us wool etc. Then I’m not even talking about the hypocritical way of pretending that the animals are happy farm animals. Then I’m thinking, how will the world ever change, if children are being taught lies? A few weeks ago I was at a playgroup and we img_6839had story time. The children were all excited and sat down, so the lady could read the story. It was about animals. Lovely! A lot of animals were mentioned, cows, cats, ducks, dogs and also a turkey. A beautiful gracious black turkey. Instead of mentioning what wonderful animals they are, she said: ‘we probably all had them at Christmas’! Everybody was laughing and some people started nodding. It made me furious and I almost wanted to say something about it, but I know that it’s not the way. People will only think of me being extreme and I would get the opposite result. It was a hard moment though. Nobody was thinking about what we were teaching the children here. Probably because these people grew up the same way. Where and when do we break this circle?! It was a very sad moment and it really got to me. One of the reasons I decided to start writing an article about this subject.

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-20-12-56About pets. I’m very much for keeping pets, especially around children. There is no better way to teach children compassion and love for the beautiful animals in this world. Letting them close to them and care for them is great. You have to admit, that children love pets too. A lot of children get excited about seeing a dog or stroking a fluffy bunny rabbit. But shouldn’t we also teach them how to keep them? Most dogs and cats are fine, apart from being teased sometimes, without parents teaching the children how to approach them in a correct way. If the dog or cat bites or scratches, the animals gets blamed. Weird. A lot of parents like to get hamsters or fishes as a first pet. You get a cage, food and some other necessary supplies and the hamster can live there its whole life. Some cages are not bigger than an A3 paper. It’s like a prison. Also a lot of times they’re being kept alone. No social interaction with its own species what so ever. I don’t agree with this at all. I have to admit, I used to have a lot of hamster and bunny rabbits living like this when I was a child. It makes me sad thinking about it now, but at that time I didn’t now better, I didn’t think about it. Now I am and I fishythink it’s important to get it out there. Hamster like space, they like running around, exploring.. and not only in plastic tunnels. This is just as sad as a fish in a bowl or an aquarium. Fishes would normally have the ‘whole ocean’ to swim in and now they have a few litre of water. Just because we want to keep and own them. ‘My child love fishes, so I bought him a fish in a bowl’. Not thinking about, that if you really love fish, you wouldn’t do this to the fish. Same as fishing. Fathers taking their son on a fishing trip, sounds all very nice, being in the fresh air, near the water.. but it’s basically teaching them how to torture a fish. How can the world become a better world if we keep teaching the children to have selective compassion? You should not pull a cat’s tail, but it’s ok to catch a fish with a hook through its lip. You should not kick a dog, but it’s ok to take away a calf from its mum so we can drink the milk. You should not poke a bunny rabbits eyes, but it’s ok to kill a fly. Maybe a fly sounds extreme to you, but why can’t we teach them respect instead?

img_6610In London a lot of little children are chasing the pigeons in the streets. ‘So much fun’! I never liked it and I never allowed the children I looked after. It’s not like they’re harming the pigeons, but I always told them to be nice to the pigeons and not to scare them. I always tell them to say hi and wish them a good day. Just a little compassion for the living beings we share this earth with. Why can’t we teach them to do that with all animals? A spider isn’t scary and a rat isn’t disgusting. They’re animals with feelings and emotions. They can feel pain and all they want is to live, just like us. I’m sure if we all educate ourselves, we’ll educate our children better. Teach them to only eat plants, to choose compassion and to show love and respect for everything that lives. We have a choice nowadays. Children are not only the future, it is their future. And so far children are being taught to destroy the world they grow up in.

What do you think about this subject? Do you agree with me or do you have something you would like to add or do you have something to say about it? Please let me know in the comments below! Thank you! X

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