We were having our traditional Sunday roast dinner. Lately getting Jack to eat a meal has been very easy so it was a very relaxed atmosphere at the dinner table, that is until Jack cropped up with a question.
Daddy, how are chicken's made of meat?
A strange question, but I knew exaclty what he meant.
I've been waiting for this conversation for a long time. Jack has always managed to stear himself clear of making the connection between the feathery creatures on the farm and the dinner table. Not because I have any thoughts on the matter that I'm inclined to voice but because Jack really charishes life and is terrified of the concept of death, or growing. I knew this was going to be a particularly upsetting conversation for him. I don't want to scare Jack off eating meat, nor do I want to put him down for not wanting to.
So I explained to him that chickens and many other animals are largely considered food, that's what they're raised for and we need to eat them to be healthy. We always try to make sure we get free range animals so make sure that the animals live happy lives. Some people choose not to eat meat but we do and so on.
That chicken gave it's life for you to have your dinner, so you should eat it. Helen added.
Jack looked at each of us and then resumed eating. Helen and I figured we'd once again managed to dodge this bullet and the conversation moved on.
A few minutes later Jack inturrupted with a tear filled comment.
Mommy I wish you hadn't said that, the chicken gave its life.
He quickly became inconsolable. We tried to comfort him as best we could but what can we say? About fifteen minutes cuddled with mommy on the sofa Jack finally calmed down. He came back to the table and ate a few more vegetables but left the chicken. Before pudding Jack came to a decision about his future eating habits.
Jack concluded that he's giving up eating meat, except for chicken nuggets, scampi, roast chicken, cod and anything else that he likes... I know this isn't the end of it, Jack has a tendancy to cover these types of subjects in short but intense sessions but I think we've got the worst of it out of the way for now.