Can I be honest for a moment? I mean, really honest? The kind of honest that makes people uncomfortable and you can hear the tense silence of thousands of people’s angry reaction building instantaneously as they read?
I have dreams of being a parent one day. I work in children’s ministry so I often joke about having 25+ kids, but we all know their parents are putting in so much more time and energy to raise those children the best they can. And, really, those parents are heroes in their own right: parenting is a challenge, but a blessing all the same.
And, truly, I have much respect for parents in today’s world. Maybe it’s the fault of history books, but I feel like life used to be less complex. Or maybe in the past many people were more concerned about survival than the details. Hearing about my family’s past and reading a fantastic book My Southern Journey by Rick Bragg points out that many folks struggled just to put another meal on the table. I guess, then, we should call it a blessing that new issues have begun to come to the forefront.
I have to chuckle a little at the change in mindset even in myself. There are people in our towns and cities today wondering where there next meal might be, and there are some reading this post wondering where wild-caught, organic fish might be on sale for dinner tonight. The issue of food has been one of my personal thought experiments for a while now. I have been doing some peripheral research (shallow and reductionist at best) and have decided that sugar is the enemy to fight in my own home. Others have decided to battle against genetically modified foods, or added chemicals, or to go vegetarian, or go organic. I think it is wonderful that our society has become so affluent that these options are available and, mostly, financially tenable.
Now here’s where I’ll be honest, I don’t get the reason for shaming other parents for what they are doing differently. I don’t understand why we cannot consider that some families do not have certain financial or time resources others do. Perhaps they have not become the enlightened paragon of purity to which some have achieved, and they are simply trying to put food on the table and provide the best life possible for their children.
At the risk of sounding cliche: some people live to eat, and others eat to live. We all eat, but some eat also because of the pleasure of flavor, texture, and origin. (I put myself in that category, all things considered.) Others eat to stay alive one more day in the hope of making a better tomorrow. Some even go without.
Keeping with honesty, there are so many other issues that this applies to. Before posting one more article or blog post in the hopes of convincing that one person to come to your side, stop and thank God for your situation in life and your freedom and ability to advocate for a particular viewpoint.
Remember, as always, that as a parent and adult, others are always looking to you to be a model and example of how to behave. One day, your child will have social media. One day your child will be a parent. One day your child will meet their first vegan. How do you want your child to interact with others?
So, everyone, I have stopped and thanked God for my situation and for all of you. Now, please make sure that your toilet paper rolls under, your peas sit cozily in a bed of mashed potatoes, and you call it a buggy and not a shopping cart.
Though, if you happen to have a different opinion, I suppose you can continue doing whatever it is you are accustomed to doing.