On the way to the Sweet Hillside Town Where We Play Tennis, the kids and I saw our regular cows.
We always say, "Hello, cows we won't be eating!" We got talking about how cute they were, and how we didn't like thinking of them ending up as food.
Then the notion of taking a calf away to save its life came up.
I said, "Yeah, but that would be stealing."
"But," said my son, "They steal too; they steal the cow's life, so this wouldn't be as bad."
So began a looooong discussion about the concepts of "good and bad," and "wrong and right."
First we talked about how doing something illegal or "wrong" can seem right in someone's mind.
I told the kids about how people used to use (and probably still do use) animals for testing cosmetics, and how protesters would come and steal the animals to save them. Then I talked about how animals are still used for scientific experiments, to test out new medicines, medical approaches, and machines. Was it "wrong," to do that or was it "right"?
On the one hand, I said, the animals suffer and that doesn't seem right.
My son said, "And there are plenty of people in the world to test things on."
I said, "Yes, but you're not allowed to kill or hurt humans."
My son thought it was really unfair that you were allowed to kill or hurt animals.
So we talked about how, on the other hand, people can now live longer because new medicines and machines etc have been tested to make sure they work, like cancer drugs, and pacemakers in hearts.
After explaining what a pacemaker was, and did, I said, "If I was the one who needed the pacemaker to live, I might be okay with it being animal tested first. But when I think about the animals suffering, the big picture of it, I don't feel okay with it."
We talked about how some things sometimes really don't have a clear answer. Sometimes there is no wrong or right, there's just how you see things and how you feel, and all the grey (and rainbow!) areas between black and white.
It was getting very deep.
So then my son suddenly said, "Yeah. If you put a cow's heart into a person, the cow wouldn't be happy. As for the person; they'd be going around saying, Moo!"
And the conversation got very silly after that!
That was last week's Big Talk. We laughed, got to tennis where our friends were waiting, and had a lovely day.
We're off again in a little while, to drive past 'our' cows to the Sweet Hillside Town we have come to cherish.
I wonder what we'll talk about today?