Child Vegetarian, Elias Opens Up
We first came across Elias while listening to the NPR radio program, This American Life. The episode, “Stuck in the Middle,” features Rachel, the mom, and her two children, 8-year old animal loving Elias, and 5-year old Theo. In the episode, we get a glimpse into the lives of these young brothers: Elias, a child vegetarian (and who wants everyone in his life to be vegetarian), and his brother Theo, who hasn’t come to that place, yet. We also listen to their mom as she tries to negotiate harmony in their home.
Check out the episode here: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/516/stuck-in-the-middle
Many believe that vegetarian children are the hope for our future and for our ailing planet. They have a wisdom and an awareness well beyond their years. They are pioneers of compassion who should be lauded for their kindness and care toward our fellow animal friends. There are more vegetarian children than ever before, and their numbers are growing because of youngsters like Elias, who has a very important message at the tender age of just 7 years wise!
We are so honored to have some time with Elias! We hope you enjoy learning about his passion, and about the importance of making kind choices for our animal friends, and for all of us.
Talking Tofurky (TT): We are so happy to have this time with you Elias. So, tell us a little about yourself. What made you decide to become vegetarian?
Elias: I used to think that people got meat from finding animals that were dead already, but when I was four years old I figured out that they are really killing them, and I thought that it was cruel to kill the animals only for eating. Once I figured it out I never ate it again, and try to get other people to stop eating meat too by telling them how I feel.
TT: What are some of your favorite vegetarian foods/meals?
Elias: I love black beans, lentils, rice, and tofurky sandwiches. 😉
TT: What is the hardest thing about being an animal advocate for you?
Elias: Trying to get other people to understand how I feel. Sometimes I get so upset I can’t speak about how I am feeling.
TT: Do you have any advice for other young vegetarians that may be having a hard time in school or with their non veg friends?
Elias: I am lucky to live where it is not hard to be a vegetarian. I can walk to 3 vegetarian restaurants. Even here some people can say mean things because they don’t understand, but you need to know what you believe is right. I like it when my mom tells me about other kids who are vegetarians or vegans like me. I have lemonade stands and donate my own money I get for presents to organizations that help animals. There have been a few kids, and several people in my family, who have stopped eating meat or think about meat differently because of what I have said to them. That makes me feel good! I think more people who hear my beliefs will change too.
TT: Do you have any favorite books that you could recommend to parents of children to teach them about compassion for animals?
Elias: Charlotte’s Web – I have read it 5 times.
TT: Do you have any advice for other young vegetarians about how to get along with their non-vegetarian friends?
Elias: Sometimes at lunch I sit away from other kids eating meat since it bothers me but two of my good friends in my class at school are also vegetarians. A few kids have said things bother me, but I just tell them that it hurts my feelings and they stop. Try not to yell at them, just talk about your feelings and what you believe.
TT: What is your favorite way to get your message about compassion for animals across to other kids?
Elias: Remember that animals have feelings too, just like humans.
TT: Wise parting words from the very wise and compassionate, Elias. Let Elias know how much you appreciate his compassion and courage for speaking out for our animal friends. Leave some words of support below, and we’ll choose 2 of your comments to win free Tofurky goodies!