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Blasphemy! Dad’s daughter eats a burger!

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I was horrified and disgusted by something my 17-year-old daughter did not long ago. I almost can’t repeat it, I’m so appalled by her behavior. Here goes: she ate a hamburger (yechhh!) — and enjoyed it!

She’s been a vegetarian her whole life, and has never experienced the salt and fatty sensation of bacon coating her lips or eating roast beef and dribbling au jus down the front of her clothes.

I’m the reason she’s meat-averse, having chosen to be an herbivore before my children graced this earth.

My girls always got the message it is their choice whether to follow my path, and, so far, they did.

They went to camps and schools, navigating cafeteria lines and birthday parties where they chose to keep the faith.

So this turn of events totally caught me by surprise.

I felt not exactly betrayed, but rejected in some fundamental way. This was rebellion as I never imagined. Kids are supposed to get in trouble with drinking and stuff, but no one told me they might become Republicans if I’m a Democrat. That’s how it felt.

I don’t need my girls to be my moral clones, but there is a deep satisfaction when they accept as their own some aspect of my life.

I’m not talking about liking the same movies or having the same favorite dish when we get Chinese take-out. Deeper ideas and attitudes, agreeing what’s right and wrong, that’s the stuff.

When we talk politics, like who is at fault for the fiscal cliff, and if, after a long debate, my teenagers basically agree with me, there is something satisfying about the outcome. As an adult, there can be so little fresh validation for the views I hold, but when my kids consider, argue, disagree, and then come to the same conclusion I do, that affirmation of my beliefs feels pretty good.

When they expressed the same values as me when they were little, if it felt like imitation. Now, as teenagers, their conclusions feel founded in reason, and so carry more weight.

I know my kids will make so many choices in their lives, many won’t be the ones I would make. I accept they are different than me, but maybe I want them, at some deep, fundamental level, to be the similar, identifiable. Not mini-mes, but at least recognizable as cut from the same cloth.

The places I look for this are in the way they treat their friends, what comes out of their mouths when they read the paper, how they care for animals, if they litter, and whether they continue to be vegetarians.

My daughter ate that hamburger, and a few more on a trip. She tried out a flesh-eating lifestyle when she was away from home, almost like wearing different clothes or speaking a different language. I had forgotten teenagers do this, morph into new creatures just to see what it is like.

The moment she stepped through the door on her return home, she was a tofu-hugging, veggie-loving person again. I wouldn’t say I was relieved, more satisfied, reaffirmed in my life and a choice I made.

She could switch back any day but for that moment, I felt pretty good.

Read The Dad every other Thursday on BrooklynPaper.com.
Posted 12:00 am, March 7, 2013
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Reasonable discourse

George Orwell from Wigan Pier says:
"I have here a prospectus from another summer school which states its terms per week and then asks me to say 'whether my diet is ordinary or vegetarian'. They take it for granted, you see, that it is necessary to ask this question. This kind of thing is by itself sufficient to alienate plenty of decent people. And their instinct is perfectly sound, for the food-crank is by definition a person willing to cut himself off from human society in hopes of adding five years on to the life of his carcass; that is, a person out of touch with common humanity."
March 7, 2013, 8:01 am
Homey from Crooklyn says:
Don't be such a goon Dad...
March 7, 2013, 9:02 am
Pedro from Park Slp says:
Next up..boom chika boom!
March 7, 2013, 9:07 am
Hugo Furst from the heights says:
Freedom of Choice!

It's not just for abortions anymore!
March 7, 2013, 11:16 am
PS from bklyn says:
don't fret, i'm sure she's been having sausages for years
March 7, 2013, 1:05 pm
Mat from Marine Park says:
At what point does quirky choice against biological reality become dogma? Beginning to sound like Scientology, guy!

The reason you have an appendix rather than a cavernous segment of intestine is that your ancestors took an evolutionary direction. Period.
March 7, 2013, 3:56 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
i guess the dad does not go down - maybe that is why he is single?
March 7, 2013, 8:51 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
What? A teenage girl did something that her parents didn't want her to do? That's such a rare occurrence.
March 9, 2013, 7:45 am

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