Today I took the kids on a tour of the San Juan Capistrano Mission. (You know, the place where all the swallows return?) We learned about the life and culture of the indiginous people of California 250 years ago, Zorro and all. The hills used to be covered in grapevines, the women used to spin and weave their own clothes and blankets, and they used to hunt and use every part of the animals they killed.
“They killed animals?!” Andy cried out loud. “How could they do that?! Those monsters!”
“Well, honey, they didn’t kill animals for fun or to be wasteful. They used every part. They used the bones and horns for tools…”
“I don’t care! Killing poor, innocent animals is wrong!” he insisted. Hot tears welled up and threatened to spill over.
We quickly shuffled out of that display room and learned about less controversial things like native plants and bell towers. But a long walk and an hour later when we were sitting in a local 50’s diner with kid’s menus in our hands and the waitress asked Andy what he wanted, he gave an enthusiastic,
“I’ll have the chicken fingers please!”
Oh, to be eight. Old enough to be extremely self righteous about causes you know so little about, yet young enough to not realize how much you don’t know.
Now, I full heartedly agree that we should all pay more attention about where our food comes from and free range, grass fed, happy livestock is by far the superior choice. I try to support such humane practices. But I hesitate educating Andy about what really goes on in those slaughter houses and feedlots because I know he will take it to the absolute extreme. It will not turn into just a personal decision for him. He would not tactfully refrain from the Foster Farms Corn Dogs at a birthday party. He would be like those people who spray red paint on mink coats. He would toss other people’s hamburgers into the trash whether they’re done with them or not. He would lead rebel uprisings in the school cafeteria. He would boycott every BBQ we were ever invited to. Life would get harder.
So I said nothing and let him enjoy his chicken fingers in ignorance. I didn’t point out his impudent incongruity. I didn’t bring to everyone’s attention how my animal rights activist went from vehement tears to finger lickin’ good smiles in under 90 minutes. Maybe I should’ve. But it was just me with all the kids at a sit down restaurant and frankly,
I had enough on my plate.