I was talking to my daughter the other day about her Sunday School class; they had a pizza and cookie cake lunch the other day. She was telling me all about how the boys decorated the cookies compared to the girls and who made the biggest mess, who ate them most pieces slices and who dropped blobs of frosting on the floor, that kind of stuff. Then she told me about her friend with a gluten allergy.
First off, I loved her whole demeanor about it. It was just matter of fact. No fear, no sympathy, no weirdness – just matter of fact – it is what it is, her friend does what she needs to do and that’s that. Now maybe it’s because my daughter has an allergy herself, but it didn’t seem like it. She didn’t compare her to herself or even mention her nut allergy. It wasn’t like she saw her friend as an ally in the world of food allergies, it wasn’t like anything; how she described it was no different than if she was telling me what color her friend’s outfit was that day.
She simply told me that because her friend has a gluten allergy, she didn’t eat the cookie, but she ate plain icing. I asked if she ate it off the cookie and my daughter said no, because they were decorating the cookies themselves, her friend simply squeezed icing onto a plate and ate it. Of course, this in and of itself was funny to my daughter, but funny good, not funny make fun of.
Her friend had brought lunch that day so she could eat with her friends, but, of course, not eat the pizza. And my daughter again, thought nothing of it, she told me what she brought, again, not in a “that’s so weird” or even “I feel sorry for her” way. Just simply stating the facts. I think this shows how the awareness is out there so well to our kids. They are in a generation of allergy kids, in school, in church and synagogue, in camp and in their neighborhoods. They’re used to it. They see kids with inhalers and it’s not weird to them, it’s a way of life, just like glasses or braces. Maybe everyone doesn’t have them, but plenty of people do and there’s nothing odd or scary or to make fun of about it.
It makes me proud to see the acceptance. I think this generation of kids is a good one, filled with compassion and tolerance and I hope it spreads much further than allergies.