I recently finished reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer (the same guy who wrote Everything Is Illuminated). Regardless of your opinion of eating meat, it’s a fascinating look into the animal agricultural system in the United States. Foer began writing the book after the birth of his son prompted him to re-examine the food he and his family were eating. Since Foer began the process as a very happy omnivore and ended it as an even happier vegetarian, it got me to wondering what kinds of changes in priorities and values other parents have made.
For example, while we’ve always been pretty solid volunteers, Sean and I have upped our community participation since Jasper was born. We’ve both found ways to volunteer through our careers (I take photos for a few local organizations, and he’s organizing Earth Week celebrations through his engineering department), which I think is cool — hopefully, we’ll keep doing this, and Jasper will see that all kinds of professions can have a meaningful impact on the people around you.
Something else that we’ve taken a marked stance against is discrimination — neither of us have ever been big supporters, but in the past if a friend or family member said something offensive (and we live in the South, y’all), we’d usually choose silence over vocalizing our dissent. Once Jasper was in the picture, we started speaking up every single time, even at the risk of becoming Those People (you know, the ones that you can never tell a remotely offensive joke around, because you know we’ll say something).
So tell me! Have your values or world views shifted since the birth of your kid(s)? If so, how are they different? Did the changes surprise you, or do you feel they were a natural evolution of yourself in the first place?