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 Post subject: I need some advice about "passing the word"
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:33 pm 
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I am Vegan about a year and Veg about a year before that so I am a Newbie at this whole thing. When I made my transition, I told myself that I was doing it for me (and the animals) and I wasn't going to force my views on anybody else....I like to lead by example instead and frequently let those around me know how good I feel since eliminating meat/dairy/eggs etc.

My dilemma is as follows....

My nephews are in their teens and they are bright empathetic good kids. They currently eat a pretty shiitake diet that has been imposed on them from a parental unit who enjoys a high fat/high salt /meat saturated diet. I really feel they would benefit - spiritually and physically - from a Vegan diet and I am constantly fighting the urge to grab them by the lapels and shake them into submission. I am a big promoter of the positive reinforcement method but I don't think I can shake them off the foundations of a decade and a half of meat/meat/potato/one-eighth-of-a-carrot diet without something more drastic.

For the past 3 years I have summarized the various documentary film's I have watched and tried to educate them on factory farming, the business of food etc and they have expressed some interest (teenager-bee-pollinating-1000-flowers-in-7week type of interest). I am currently reading Vegan Freak and I think it could appeal to their innate empathetic strain: I am thinking the book with my supporting may be better than my current lead by example method. I don't want to force my views on them but the more I learn about Vegan ism, the more I believe that the people I love should be adhering to its ideals.

Just looking for some ideas about what others have done in similar circumstances. I don't want to be holier than thou and I don't want to be forceful......it has to be their decision.


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 Post subject: Re: I need some advice about "passing the word"
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:52 pm 
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What's your relationship with them like? If you're close, could you take them out for meals, or invite them over for dinner? I think that anything much more than what you're doing - which sounds like gently offering alternate opinions, ideas, and options - would be pushy and likely turn them right off.

Also, I would be concerned about pushing them towards veganism and that causing issues for both you and them with their parent/s, if their parent/s are really dedicated to a non-vegan diet. That could mean that you're not able to participate as much in their lives as you'd like, and also that it could be even more difficult for them to eventually become vegan.

It sounds like you're wrestling with conflicting desires to make them "see the light", as such, and become vegan, whilst also wanting them to come to the decision for themselves. For me, I think that the people I love should be eating in a way that feels right and ethical for them, that supports them and nourishes them, and is accessible to them right now. My partner was vegan for several years, but is not now, and it is definitely healthier and a better fit for them not to be vegan at this point in their life. I'll admit that I took it personally when they stopped being vegan, but after the initial disappointment I took a step back and stopped making it about me - they are doing what's right for them, and I fully support them in that, just as they support me in being vegan. I would focus on being a part of your nephew's lives, and being supportive of them, so that if they decide to become vegan, they know that they have an ally in you.

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After all, you can't spell Richard Dawkins without "dickwad". - EmperorTomatoKetchup


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 Post subject: Re: I need some advice about "passing the word"
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:55 pm 
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You can't make them. Feed them lots of delicious vegan foods, including things they could snack on or eat for lunch. The rest is up to them.

Maybe the seed you plant will take, maybe it won't. My mom despaired of me for a few years. She was vegetarian a year or three before I was.

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"a vegan death match sounds like something where we all end up hugging." -LisaPunk


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 Post subject: Re: I need some advice about "passing the word"
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:35 pm 
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I am very close with them....they are like my own kids crossed with my best friends. They have frequently made pro comments about eliminating meat and they fear it would be too much work but they are fighting against the "norm" and how they were raised. The real impetus for this query is my eldest nephew and I were having a conversation the other day in which he expressed disdain toward parent raising their kids vegan without giving them a choice: I bit my tongue about them having a father that was sowing the seeds for heart disease based on the diet he had "forced" upon them.

My plan is to present to the eldest the history of his choice of food -- he ate based on what his parents made him eat (same as the vegan parents he abhorred) and suggest that maybe he could read the first few chapters of Vegan Freak and make his own mind up from here on in.....I will love him either way but that way he is making his own decision (he is 17 so that is important at that stage) on how he will continue his life. As I said, I will love them either way but I don't want him to look back in 20 years and think, "Why didn't someone fill me in."

....and I always give them a taster of what I am eating at family dinners and they LOVE IT everytime!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: I need some advice about "passing the word"
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:53 pm 
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I'm not sure that you need to present him with a history of his choice of food to help him to make his own decisions on how he lives his life. I guess you could say something like "I was thinking about that conversation we had about vegan parents who raise their kids vegan, and it occurred to me that most parents dictate, to some degree, what their kids eat. Maybe part of growing up and becoming independent is having more control over that", but I wouldn't go any further than that.

There's lots of information about veganism out there, and it sounds like you're already sharing that with your nephews. Certainly make it known that they're welcome to borrow books and stuff from you, or cook and eat vegan food with you, but I'd steer clear of reading suggestions unless they're directly asked for. I know this isn't how you intend it, but it could come across like you very much have an agenda, contradicting your spoken message of loving them either way. Maybe the next time one of your nephews makes a comment about wanting to give up meat but finding it too hard to go against the norm you could invite them to come and make some vegan food with you? That way they can see how easy it is, and feel some ownership over that choice.

I guess I just think that they really need to be the ones to initiate these discussions, and anything else can come across as you, the adult, pushing an agenda on them that they might either rebel against or conform to just to make you happy. Relationships with food can be really fraught for teenagers especially, and I feel really strongly about treading very carefully and letting people make up their own minds.

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If I chew on garlic that's been in a vagina, isn't that exploiting SOMEONE? - coldandsleepy
After all, you can't spell Richard Dawkins without "dickwad". - EmperorTomatoKetchup


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 Post subject: Re: I need some advice about "passing the word"
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:11 pm 
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^^^^ Gunk, that kinda advice is why I posted this here before I instigated any action...well done and thanks (of course, thanks to you too lava but Gunk hit an in-park homer).


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