Thursday, September 16, 2010
A Positive Peanut Allergy Parent
This summer was filled with many fun, friend-filled things. One thing we really enjoyed was playdates with a group of kids from Tyler's preschool class. Many of these little guys and gals would be attending his school and could possibly be in his class.
One playdate was going very well. It was communicated by the organizer of the events that everyone was to bring a peanut free lunch. Tyler was the only child with a peanut allergy but you can only imagine how touched he and I both were by this gesture.
However, on this particular playdate, I overheard two moms talking. I wasn't eavesdropping but I was sitting on the bench next to them. The conversation caught me a little off guard.
"It's so annoying having a child with a peanut allergy in your child's class," said parent # 1.
"Yes, I agree!" said parent #2.
At that point I stopped listening and moved to another bench. Was I mad? Not really. I was more annoyed they respected me so little to say it so close to me.
Yet, I knew I had a choice. I knew one parent had a child Tyler's age. They could be (and are now) in the same class. I knew my reaction that day could affect Tyler for years to come. And I knew since they did not have a child a child with a peanut allergy they would never fully comprehend all that's involved.
Confronting those ladies would do no good. I was not going to convince them it wasn't annoying because I'm sure it is. Providing nut free snacks for the class takes a little creativity.
Maybe it's the people pleaser I am but I am determined for people to meet me and not have a negative view of peanut allergy parents. I feel like being positive and non-confrontational not only helps Tyler but other children these parents may meet in the years to come. It only takes one bad encounter to color these people's view of ALL food allergy parents.
I know we all feel like we need to change the world's view of food allergies. Some people we truly can make an impact with. But we also need to be willing to accept some people will never "get it," no matter how much we tell them.
Obviously, the first priority is to keep our kids safe. But another priority we often neglect is to be positive about food allergies. It helps our children and it helps all of those we come in contact with be less anxious around us.
So even if you want to bash someone's head in when they don't "get it," stop and think about how this will affect your child and other food allergic children. And kill 'em with kindness!