Ruby Roth is the author of “That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals,” a gorgeously illustrated children’s book that we are just mad for. After all, children are innate herbivores. Put a child in a crib with a rabbit and a carrot, and will the child play with the carrot and eat the rabbit, or vice versa? Brava to this cutie pie artist, author, and teacher for bringing this beautiful book to the masses. Ruby was teaching art in an after-school program when the children’s interest in healthy foods and veganism inspired her to write this special book. We think Ruby’s wise beyond her years, and asked this gifted soul to share her tips for raising empowered and intelligent little ones. Before you read her sage advice, you can get down with her cuteness in the video below;
How To Raise Socially Responsible Rugrats
Empowered children use their intelligence wisely. So these days, it’s increasingly important to foster the idea that in every facet of life, we always have the opportunity and power to make responsible choices. Enjoy these everyday opportunities to “green” your children and the generations to come:
1. Grocery Shopping: Shop together at your local farmer’s market. Those colorful, beautiful fruits and veggies are right at your kids’ eye levels-like candy in a supermarket! Talk about what you’re picking out, how you pick it, and why. Have your child hand over the money so they experience the exchange.
2. Meal Prep: Give your children jobs in the kitchen. Let them help you wash salad, cut vegetables, or push the buttons on the blender. They’ll be much more inclined to try new foods when they’re invested in the preparation. It’s hard to resist tasting something you’ve made yourself.
3. Homemade toys: Give your child the opportunity to think creatively before you toss away an item. Decorated toilet paper & paper towel tubes = power wristbands and telescopes. Magazines=collage material. Six-pack rings and mesh fruit bags yarned together=hanging toy-nets.
4. Snacks: Introduce your kids to superfoods like goji berries and hemp seeds (yummy sprinkled on a banana!). Blend super-nutritious herbs like mint or parsley into a raw chocolate smoothie…they’ll never know, and you’ll be supplying them with the purest forms of minerals and antioxidants.
5. Power & Water: Negotiate a plan: if next month’s bills go down because everyone remembered to conserve energy by turning off the water while brushing, turning off the lights when leaving a room, etc., use the extra cash to buy the kids a treat.
6. Garden: Start a backyard or windowsill garden. Kids are much more inclined to eat a tomato off the vine or taste a mint leaf if they watch it grow and pick it themselves. Talk to your child’s school about building an organic garden box in the yard.
7. Birthday Parties: Give a gift that won’t end up in a landfill. Try a flowering plant in a personalized pot or a crystal that hangs in a window and makes rainbows. Best yet, sponsor an elephant “adoption” in the child’s name. wrap gifts with the comic section of the newspaper, or in brown grocery bags that can be decorated and personalized.
8. School: Suggest socially responsible fundraisers. Start a penny-collecting contest between classrooms. Whichever class wins get to donate the funds to an animal sanctuary, or environmental cause of their choice.
9. Animals: Foster respect for animals by adopting instead of buying; research vegan pet foods, volunteer at a shelter, or visit an animal sanctuary instead of a zoo. See if your local children’s hospital has a pet therapy volunteer program where you cheer up inpatients by visiting with your pet. It is proven that a pet’s love can help us heal.
10. Politics As an ongoing practice, ask your children what issues are important to them. Have them write letters to an authority figure that represents that issue.
Ruby Roth is the author of “That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things.” Now available in bookstores and online. For more info, www.WeDontEatAnimals.com.
EDITORS NOTE: Interested in raising vegan kids? Watch this adorable short video (below) by our very own Discerning Brute which dispels all myths on raising healthy animal-free nuggets.