The Teaching Moments of Mealtime

Posted on July 12, 2010


DO YOURSELF A FAVOR…grab a cup of tea and take about 10 minutes out of your day to watch this video from Nonviolence United. It is a lovely short film titled A Life Connected and it demonstrates the importance of living our values.

I want my child to learn values. Few things are more important than that, right?

I want him to learn about honesty, respect, forgiveness, personal health, citizenship, kindness, and about having the courage to do the right thing. What better occasion than mealtime to have fun and lively discussions.

Values can be applied to any situation. By asking questions and providing scenarios, you can bring out the best in your child while building a repertoire of values that are enmeshed into daily living. You can make up age-appropriate stories around each topic. For example: tell a story about a child who went to camp and got teased for eating differently and then describe how she felt okay about it because she had the integrity to care about the welfare of animals and knew that by eating vegan food she was following that principle. Or share a story about a boy who had compassion for his friends who did not realize how their eating habits caused harm to the environment, animals, and their own health. Stories are a great way of getting a lesson across.

By illuminating some history, you can go over the value of citizenship in discussing how in the past, the United States has overcome many unreasonable business practices such as marketing unsafe medicine, using DDT on plants and slavery. Talk about the need to have faith in the nation as it continues to grow. (If you do not live in the US, apply something similar to your country.) Point out the potential for your child to have pride about participating in the nation’s changes to better business practices by way of eating a plant-based diet.

Whatever the topic that you discuss, make sure that the conversation starts and ends on a POSITIVE NOTE. You never want this exercise to be a groan moment that brings up unpleasant images or causes feelings of guilt. Point out what your children are doing right and that will build their foundation of having a sense of personal power and confidence in their decisions.

Whether your choice to eat lower on the food chain is based on ethical, environmental, health, food safety, economic, weight, religious or other values; your principles deserve to be respected. As a parent, it is imperative that your children understand this. Consequently, they will find it natural to respect their own values throughout their lives.

© Jill Powers and The Feel Good Vegan 2010.

Photo courtesy of Microsoft