As my daughter goes out into the world more and more, I feel as though my role as a mouthpiece for her veganism is getting smaller. Soon, she will head into preschool and be bombarded with everything non-vegan. What if kids start questioning her? What if the teachers don’t understand? And worse, what if someone gives her something non-vegan?
The first thing, as a parent, I must do is to inform and educate people about her veganism at a young age. The more I start off on the right foot, my hope is that others will follow suit without much questioning or judgement.
It is amazing how things like junk food and peanut butter were eliminated from schools the second it was labeled harmful and potentially deadly, in the case of nuts. But, people still have a hard time understanding veganism. So, I will try to simply explain, in a nut shell that my child refrains from the eating and exploitation of animals. This will explain why my child will not be eating most foods at holiday parties or wearing the latest leather-made shoes.
Always Remind The Teachers!
Perhaps I will hand her teacher reading material about the subject, after all, to be a great teacher one should be a great learner. I can not imagine meeting with too much resistance, but I often worry about what I will face when I am no longer by my daughter’s side. I will be sending her off into a world that does not fully understand vegans, along with children and parents who also might not be willing to try to understand us.
So, I will pack her lunch and maybe leave a few notes for the first couple of days to remind her teachers what she will not be eating, and then do my best to not worry about it. I always think back to when I had my first vegetarian child in my class when I was a preschool teacher. He confidently explained to his teachers and fellow students that he was a vegetarian and did not eat meat. Secretly, I was always his backup, watching the foods that he was served at lunch time, just to be cautious.
This made me hopeful for the future of my own children. And here I am now, in that position, sending my child off into a world of the unknown, hoping that someone will be as understanding and compassionate as she is.
Tips For You
Most schools that serve lunch have a food schedule, so it is easy for parents to know what their child will be eating ahead of time. I plan on making my daughter the vegan version of what her fellow classmates will be having. There is rarely anything that cannot be “veganized.” Pizza Fridays: got that covered! Taco Tuesdays: a cinch! Hot dogs, burgers, meatballs: I am on it! My daughter can join her friends and remain vegan, and I can remain calm.