I got your attention with the mention of toilet water, didn’t I? I thought so. My sons giggle with delight, as little boys do, talking about such silly topics. But did you know that toilet water has a lot to do with food allergies? At least in my story it does.
I’m working with some awesome Moms and Dads preparing for the 2013-2014 school year; establishing food allergy 504 Plans. Thus far, the schools have been a mixed bag to work with, but I have every confidence that all will be well in the end. Everyone coming to the table prepared, rolling up their sleeves, getting that thinking cap on nice and straight and ready to dive into the pool of accommodations.
As I chat with my clients, there’s always a story or two that they need to get off their chest. You know, dealing with the Mom or Dad that has made a snide comment about children with food allergies. Haven’t we heard it all? Why don’t you home school? Why does my child have to suffer by not celebrating his/her birthday with cupcakes? Shouldn’t your kid just tough’in up and accept his/her condition? I know…we all shudder at these comments…but something happened at my school recently that got me thinking on this very subject. Let me explain…
While I was waiting for my son at school pick up, another Mom shared with me something that happened to her son at school. Her son went to use the restroom and found himself flat on his back. To his misfortune, he slipped and fell in toilet water, a toilet had overflowed.
Now…I don’t know about you, but my first thought was YUCK! Who would want to fall in toilet water? Then I started to think about what my son said about the restroom…he told me that he tries to hold it all day because there’s always a myriad of ‘problems’ in the restroom. After he giggled and shared all the horrific restroom stories with me, I thought…I’d hold it too, as unhealthy as it might be.
Since I’m hearing all these stories from food allergy parents. I started to think about nonallergic parents’ complaints about how inconvenient food allergies are to their son or daughter, especially when they have to ‘give up’ the beloved school, birthday or seasonal celebration with cakes, cookies and cupcakes. It got me thinking, are these the burning questions in parents’ minds?
I thought, how silly I would feel complaining about tasty treats when we have restrooms that obviously are in need of automatic flushers. Then I thought about how my son’s first grade class has nine iPads in the room, is that enough? Is our Science program in need of a facelift? Am I comfortable with, or is it age appropriate, that my seven-year-old is learning how to take a picture of himself and upload it in computer class? Are our curriculum projects challenging enough, do they need life infused into them or are they projects that ‘we’ve just always done?’
Let’s liberate ourselves from who’s in the majority and who’s in the minority. Is the most important agenda item tasty treats? Let’s focus on what helps our children excel educationally and more than prepare for the next grade, i.e., the latest in technology, a challenging curriculum, age appropriate projects, the latest in school supplies and books, a comprehensive library and let’s not forget safe and sanitary restrooms with automatic flushers. And when it comes to birthdays and celebrations, isn’t it about the memory that we create rather than the treat we eat?
Diminish the ‘spotlight of difference’ on those that don’t seem ‘normal’ in our judgement, food allergic or other challenge, and teach our children by our own actions that compassion, acceptance, forgiveness and inclusiveness is paramount for EVERYONE.
“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.” ~ L.R. Knost