It all started with a simple question: Am I asking too much?
And it ended with over 100 replies.
Some were passionate. I heard Yes, No and Maybe.
I heard stories about all sorts of dietary restrictions, allergies, intolerances, sensitivities.
I was asked for more details, so the readers could give more informed opinions.
I was told to “homeschool”, “deal with it”, come up with an “all or nothing” solution with the school, and that I was, in fact, being irrational.
I was given support, ideas, sympathy, well-wishes.
I was given food for thought from both parties.
But not once – not once – was someone nasty to me. Not once was anyone deliberately disrespectful.
Who could imagine that a group of 100+ people from all walks of life could gather in one place and discuss such a personal matter without it getting ugly?
Who would have thought that a group of 100+ people who answered my question with Yes, No and Maybe could do so in a way that mindful solutions could start brewing?
And that is all I was asking for in regards to my kids.
I’m not raising sissies who cry when they can’t eat a cupcake. I’m not asking other parents to raise my kids. I’m not asking strangers to bend over backwards for someone they don’t know.
I am asking the parents in my community whose children are growing up along mine to be mindful of what is going on in their kids’ classrooms.
At the start of the school year, all the parents are given a list of class allergies. Class Moms remind the parents of these allergies before each food event/holiday. Before a Birthday Treat can enter the school, an ingredients list must go to the school nurse for approval.
What happens here, at this point in the system, is a failure of mindfulness.
The non-chocolate treats get approved. Then the parent sends in a chocolate treat.
Why do this?
You got the non-chocolate one approved. Why send in something else?
Take one guess who gets more upset than I do over this.
If a group of 5yo kids and a group of 7yo kids are mindful enough to ask their parents to make a treat without chocolate in it so their friend can enjoy cake too, why can’t the parents follow that lead?
What does it say to our kids when we disregard their mindfulness?
I am not perfect. I don’t have answers for every allergy and food sensitivity out there.
But I make a decent effort to think of others. To pay attention. To be mindful of my actions. And I just wish people could pay me and my kids the same respect, especially since the chocolate/cocoa is the only issue in both of my kids’ classes. The communication about the allergy is constant. The solution for not poisoning my kids is so simple.
And yet? I am consistently disappointed.
So I take matters in my own hands.
I am raising kids who are learning how to live safely in a world where chocolate exists at every party, every book store checkout counter, every social event.
I am raising kids who can politely ask a grown-up to check if there’s chocolate in the snack they are offered when visiting homes, and not complain about not getting dessert if all the other kids get chocolate chip cookies when there’s nothing safe for them.
I am raising kids who understand that some people like to bend the rules to get what they want, get their chocolate fix, and that they have to take ownership of their health.
I am raising kids who respect other peoples’ limits, allergies, tastes; who try to find ways for those who can’t eat or do what everyone else can to still have a good time.
I am raising kids who will ask first “Will being exposed to that food hurt him? Or just eating it?” before making judgement calls.
I am raising mindful kids, because I keep running into adults who, at some point, decided not to be so anymore.
And that, my friends, is why I posted that question this morning.
I hope you don’t mind my explaining myself.
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