It is said that “a friend can double our joy, and divide our grief.”
If you are a friend to a peer with a food allergy, or a friend to a parent of a child with food allergies, the following are a few simple ways you can enhance their life:
- Ask about their experience. Hear the story of their allergic reaction. Understand their experience of living with a food allergy. Maybe there are times they feel they’ve missed out. But maybe they’ve found blessings along the way too!
- Try substitutes. Sip some rice milk, take a bit of gluten-free bread, sample sunbutter. You might be pleasantly surprised!
- Offer to assist. Volunteer to go shopping with your friend and help to read labels. Or invite them to help you prep an allergy-friendly dinner.
- Share their story with others. Parker J. Palmer notes that “The more we learn about other people’s stories, the less possible it is for us to dislike them, distrust them, or dismiss them. Anything we can do to help people form relational ‘habits of the heart’ will help.” Sharing our friend’s story with others helps towards creating greater awareness that might one day lead to competent cultural consciousness and warmth in response to those with food allergies.
- Be aware in their presence. Refrain from eating their allergen around them. There’s never really a way for the allergic person to bring that to your attention without everyone feeling a bit awkward.
To feel accepted and understood is of utmost importance to all humans, but especially to children and adolescents. And as a parent, anytime someone extends love to your child, that someone wins a space in that parent’s heart.
Take a risk to double a friend’s joy or divide their grief today!