This post is from my good friend and fellow food allergy mom, Kathy, from Food Allergy Jams. I know you’ll enjoy her heartfelt message. Make sure to leave her some comment love at the bottom of this post!
Food Allergy Jams from a Food Allergy Mom
In my studies at Johnson Bible College (now Johnson University), I worked for Professor Jim Pierson as a teacher’s assistant. I took every class he taught about people with disabilities and how to minister to them and their needs. One lesson that always stuck with me was the importance of using people first language. This means that you would not refer to someone as a blind boy but rather a boy who is blind. The person comes first because the person is important. The person is not solely defined by what makes them unique. Whether or not you live with the mindset of food allergies as a disability, by definition, it most definitely is one. Although my son’s food allergies will obviously affect his life, his choices, and his relationships, it does not have to be negative. It does not have to define his whole being. It is important, but it will never be the only important thing about him. He is not Milo- the food allergic boy. He is Milo- the boy with food allergies. Who, by the way, also LOVES superheroes, is a puzzle genius, knows hundreds of American Sign Language signs, loves all things outdoors (except bugs), enjoys colors, is helpful around the house, and cares very much for his baby sister. He is Milo. With each day he grows to be a more amazing kid than the day before.
Although I want and need to educate him about his allergies, I must also learn many important lessons myself. I must learn when a risk is too great and when it is not. I must learn to ask the right questions and educate those who do not understand. I must take precautions when I can but not hold him back from experiencing life. I must teach him how to be safe while also encouraging him to not be controlled by fear. It is my hope that this Food Allergy Jams Kickstarter project will show him by example that no dream is too big to chase and that with hard work and a love for others, he can be most anything he can imagine. Now, I must say, although this person first language applies to my son, it doesn’t seem to always be used on myself. I often refer to myself as a “food allergy mom”, maybe because I have let it define me more than it should or maybe just because it sounds catchy. Either way, I must always be striving to find out who I am beyond our journey with food allergies. I must practice what I preach and learn not to make decisions driven by fear and doubt. I must be the example I want my child to follow. I must become a mom of a kid who just happens to have food allergies!
I encourage you to follow our journey. Be inspired. Be brave. Step up and step out to change the world for the better. With a solid community of support surrounding you, there’s no reason not to be a voice for positive change.
More about Kathy….
I am a Christ follower, wife to Troy, and stay at home mom of two amazing kids, Milo (age 3) and Eden (age 11 months). I have a bachelor’s degree in children’s ministry and love watching children learn and grow. I enjoy baking from scratch, teaching American Sign Language to my children, photography, and of course, writing kids’ songs!