A couple of days ago, our extended family were sharing a dinnertime Zoom call when one of the the cameras zoomed in on a meat-covered grill. My youngest son, who was in my lap, raised his hand.
He wanted to ask a question, but the adults continued chatting for about five minutes. He kept his hand up the entire time.
Finally, one of the grown-ups noticed and asked if he wanted to say something. At that, everyone stopped talking. Perhaps it was his incredible patience that made them pause to hear what a 6-year old had on his mind.
Speaking in a voice free of malice or judgment, he stated simply:
“We don’t eat animals.”
With that, the family member doing the grilling nearly dropped his cell phone. The 3-second silence before someone jumped in to change the subject was deafening.
But, it being dinnertime, the discussion soon returned to the topic of food. And when fishing came up, my son didn’t bother waiting to speak. He just blurted out:
Now, I have a question for anyone who calls those who care about animal welfare “extremists”:
“What would you say to an innocent child who has the perspective that slaughtering and eating animals is what’s extreme? And expresses it perfectly in just two sentences of six first-grade words?”
Or would your silence be deafening?