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Being A Vegan Kid
My name is Ellen Green, I’m twelve years old, going in to seventh grade, and have been vegan all my life.
To tell you a bit about myself, my parents are Anne Green and Matt Ball, and I have a pet guinea pig named Sunny. I love animals, particularly wolves, horses, dogs and cats. I’m interested in mythological creatures, dragons especially. I’m also a big fan of Harry Potter and Star Wars. I enjoy reading, surfing the internet, drawing, and writing. I am on the cross country team for my school and enjoy running. My favorite subjects are art, German, science, and reading. I have a few close friends, none who are vegan but all who are really nice, smart kids. Lastly, I think factory farming is much worse than Voldemort, the Death Eaters, Dolores Umbrige, Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader, and Jar-Jar combined.
I’m going to be blunt: being a vegan kid is going to severely decrease the number of people willing to be your friend. Even if you don’t advertise and promote the fact that you are vegan, this fact is going to make you less likely to get ‘cool’ (cool being used as a derogative term representing the unintelligent, petty, unconscientious, intolerant jerks generally regarded by the majority of the school population as ‘cool’) friends. This is a benefit, in my opinion.
If you advertise and promote the fact that you’re vegan, the people who are willing to be friends with you are more likely to be uncool, and therefore nicer people who are more likely to be good friends. With your friends, as long as they know why you’re vegan and find it reasonable, you’re good to go – you don’t need to convert them to veganism then and there, just giving them a positive attitude towards veganism will make them more likely to be converted in the future. Also, if you have your friends over, introducing them to some of the things you eat is a plus.
As a vegan, you are likely to get a lot of questions, such as:
"What is a vegan?”
“Why are you vegan?”
“What do you eat?”
“How do you get protein/calcium/nutrients?”
“Aren’t your shoes leather?”
“What’s wrong with milk/eggs?”
“Can you eat …?”
To all of these questions, if you are in a hurry, you can just hand them a leaflet and say, “Here’s some information, if you’re curious.” I try to always have some leaflets in a folder; Viva!’s A Matter of Life and Death works particularly well. If you do have some time and they are genuinely concerned, it’s always good to talk to them about the question, and then give them a booklet if they’re still curious. If they don’t seem genuinely concerned, try to just answer them as quickly as possible with a yes/no answer if possible, or tell them to “Talk to me later.” (Unless they are really concerned, they almost never do.) In all cases, try to be as polite as possible.
You are going to get teased. It’s a plain and simple fact. However, it’s always good to know that the fact these people are teasing you is a testament to their lack of awareness and kindness, and because of this they won’t be able to succeed – you will. Also, you can know that you are by far a better person than the people teasing you. That being said, here are some facts about teasing and how to deal with it.
Bullies are highly unimaginative. They will use one method of teasing for years, even after it is clear that it has no effect on you whatsoever. The favored form of teasing that I’ve encountered is the “I ate/killed a (type of animal or type of meat) last night.” The bullies I know have been using that with minimal variations (such as “I will eat/ kill a…” “I went/am going hunting/cow tipping” “I killed a (animal). I (describes method of killing)” “Mmmmmm (type of meat)”) since about second grade! How stupid can you get – that affected me for about two milliseconds, and they’ve been using it for five years!
There are three main ways of dealing with teasing.
1) Ignore them. This can be done by sticking your head in a book (or something else to that effect) and pretending they don’t exist. However, a lot of the time this does not work as well (and isn’t as fun) as the other two.
2) Use a witty remark, such as:
“Please, stop, you’re hurting my feelings.” (Said in a dull monotone)
“You’ve been doing this for ages. Get it through you’re thick skulls: I. Don’t. Care.” (also “Why should I care?” “I care, why?” etc.)
“You know, teasing people is a REALLY good way to become liked and respected.” (Sarcastic)
“The fact that you have nothing better to do than repeatedly say stupid stuff in useless attempts to annoy someone shows that you are really intelligent and well liked.” (Sarcastic)
(yawn) “When you annoy me, I’ll let you know.”
“(your name) is not here right now. Please leave a message after the beep. Beep!”
“When you say something I care about/intelligent, let me know.”
“Now now, do you want Moody to come and turn you into a ferret?”
“I’m not sure if you know this, but the ability to speak does NOT make you intelligent.” (“The ability to speak does not make you intelligent.” Qui-Gon to Jar-Jar, Star Wars, Episode 1)
(wave hand) “You do not want to say something stupid in a useless attempt to annoy me again.” (wave hand) “You want to sit down and be quiet.” (Jedi mind trick)
“Luke, I am not annoyed.” (Speaking like Darth Vader.)
“Annoying me, you are not. Find a better use of your time, you should.” (You can do this in non-Yoda talk too)
“May the Force be with your brain -- it needs it.”
“Use the Force. Use it to get a brain.” (This is one of my favorites)
Or any others you can think of. Another one that has been suggested to me is to repeat their comment with, “I think it is great that....” So, if they say, “I ate a deer yesterday!” reply with, “I think it is great that you ate a deer yesterday.”
3) Weird them out (say something totally weird and strange that creeps them out) such as:
“Now I get it! You’re the monkey’s sister’s best friend’s son in-law’s uncle’s second cousin’s daughter’s nephew’s cousin’s step-father’s aunt’s son!” (or anything similar to this)
“What in the name of the flying spaghetti monster!?!?” (Or anything else to that effect that is weird)
“If you wanted to make Serak the preparer cry, mission accomplished.” (from ‘The Simpsons’)
“How ‘bout them Chudley Cannons?” (Ron’s favorite Quiddich team, from Harry Potter)
“Kneazles and Nifflers and Puffskeins Oh My!” (Creatures from Harry Potter)
“Are you going to put your name in for the Goblet of Fire?”(Harry Potter)
“Oh go kiss a dementor.”(Harry Potter)
“I just realized it - I love Jar-Jar! (Star Wars)
“Yousa talkin to mesa?” (Star Wars-Jar-Jar talk)
“Will someone please get this walking carpet out of my way?” (Princess Leia Organa, episode 4)
“Obi-Wan, Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan, Obi-Wan!” (Star Wars nonsense)
“May the Force be with you.”
You can always use random things from, books, movies, songs, etc., use animal noises, just make up nonsense, or anything else that’s weird. Have fun with it! Take note of weird things you hear for later use. Take pride in original and funny responses! You can make getting teased fun! (I know how weird that sounds, but it’s true - I know from experience.) Bullies can’t get you down if you have fun getting teased! One more bit of advice - don’t bother going to teachers, it’s useless. In the vast, vast majority of cases, they’ll waste your time telling you to ignore them and you’ll be right back where you started. Have fun!
May the Force be with you.
Ellen is the daughter of Matt Ball, co-founder of Vegan Outreach.
Vegan Outreach is hoping to hear from other vegan kids. Send emails!
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