"to thine own self be true"
Today, my daughter(H), the vegetarian, told me about a discussion she had with her friend. Friend decided that H was being stupid, idiotic, and just plain wrong. H was an outcast because she chose to be a vegetarian. Everybody ate meat. That is what teeth are for. Everybody thought H was wrong. H would get severely ill and not grow up right. She would be shunned. H should change and do what the rest wanted her to do.
H has been attacked before for her stance. The rest of us in this family eat meat. I don't find it a problem accommodating her values. She became a vegetarian once before when she was 5. It lasted two weeks, that's how long 5 year old convictions last. Now she is 12 and has stood her ground for well over a year. I don't think she is going to change because a friend called her stupid. The thing is, friends have never attacked her before.
When she announced last year that she was giving up meat, her teacher challenged her. He wanted to know why it was so important to her. He gave her all the reasons why a person should eat meat and then sent her to research why a person shouldn't eat meat. She came back to him a week later with all the reasons why she didn't want to eat meat and what she could eat instead. Her class went on a weeklong camping trip shortly after and he tried to tempt her to abandon her ideals. She wouldn't. He was very pleased with her. "Good!", he said, "Now you're ready for whatever anyone has to dish out at you. Stand your ground."
(I MISS THAT TEACHER!)
Her friend plummeted her with anti vegetarian rhetoric for a while. H just sat there in the pool (where convo took place) and quietly listened. When her friend was done, she told her she disagreed with her. She wasn't wrong. She wasn't an outcast. Just because she thought different, it didn't mean she was wrong. H told her friend all the reasons why she was vegetarian. She wasn't angry at her friend, just puzzled at the attack now.
Her friend got out of the pool and left her. She said she couldn't be H's friend anymore because H had hurt her feelings by disagreeing and by not giving up her vegetarianism.
I thought for sure that H would be upset about losing a friend over something like this. She wasn't. She wasn't going to apologize to anyone for who she was. "Isn't that what you taught me?" She decided that if her friend couldn't accept her there wasn't much she could do. It wasn't worth changing who she was to suit someone else. She is standing her ground.
One thousand blessings on that teacher for giving her strength of conviction