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  Funny story, when I worked as a beef processor for Tyson’s fresh meat. On one particular day  as my ex wife dropped me off to work, my children who decided to come along for the ride asked, “Daddy, where are the cows going?”.

Without really thinking about it  (or how they would react) I explained to them where we get our meat from that we buy in stores. My youngest daughter, Humble (  who at the time was 4) felt so horrible for those poor, oppressed cows; she literally refused to eat any kind of beef. Any attempt to get her to eat beef ended in frustration for us. Humble made her stance clear, ‘Cows were friends, not food!’. At first we were interested… even impressed by Humbles’ stance on what she believed, and supported her feelings. Even children as young as Humble can express their value on life.  Squish a bug they mistake as a pet, and watch the disastrous effect.

As a couple of days turned into a couple of weeks, we worried. We then began to introduce more sources of protein, other than beef; such as turkey, catfish (which she loves to eat to this day), and increased the amount of chicken we ate. Living in Texas at the time, where fields of cows were plenty, Humble admired them for their beauty, as adults we take it for granted and simply see them as sources of food. In this there is a lesson in how we treat animals, even those we use for food.

As a Muslim, this brought to my mind that Islam teaches animals, yes, even the ones we eat have certain rights. They have the right of having a gentle death, which conventional methods of slaughter are lacking in. I try my best to eat Halaal, or kosher meat it can be expensive depending on where you buy it. However, it is worth it. It is the least cruel of slaughter methods I’ve personally witnessed, and from my own experience in beef processing the cleanest. As conventional slaughter doesn’t guarantee the animal dies painlessly as possible, and under severe duress which actually can affect the quality of the meat.

For information on issues concerning animal slaughter practices I decided to include some interesting links. I hope you enjoy them.

http://halalforhealth.com/index.html

http://www.sustainabletable.org/274/animal-welfare

… this last one is about cows milk, but felt it is also appropriate to include because it deals with raising healthier cows.

http://www.thelotustrust.org/ahimsa.html

The Power of Imagination

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“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to what we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know.” – Albert Einstien

When I was young my favorite heros to dress up as were The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, GI Joe, and of course a police officer or detective. I spend hours putting together whatever came close to a similar costume look, and play away!

I often watch my own children thinking back to those wonderful childhood years where I was the hero (or villain, depending on my mood) of my own story. Now imagination takes on a whole different perspective for me as an adult. Funny thing I realized is that most adults I know, don’t have much in the way of imagination that is on par with that of a child’s. What makes a child’s imagination so different? Often times it’s doubtless, and full of confidence. The child, whether he/she is pretending to be a doctor, police officer, or superhero is sure in every action in their play. If a doubt ever arises about something beyond what they know, they either ask an adult, or make it up as they go.

Of course in the adult world we can’t practically make things up in our jobs, or businesses and expect it to work, however our imagination tunes us into strengths we sometimes over look and realize we had all along. Self-confidence, perseverance, and to use our minds to affect the world around us. It has the ability to allow us to see past certain obstacles, and allow us to forge goals and the means to attain them. I think back to some of my personal role models who while having very little to work with accomplished great things.

Frederick Douglass remains at the top of my list, even by modern day standards. Any man that can educate himself in the grips of physical human slavery, not only has courage; but the imagination to put it into service. And with that imagination Frederick Douglass became a hero, for every person believing in freedom.

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