A friend of ours says that God answers prayers in one of four ways:
and Beyond Your Wildest Dreams!
When my son, Morgan, started kindergarten in the Fall of 2001, I prayed every day when I dropped him off at school, “God, please take care of my boy!” It was such a part of my routine, and it helped me to be able to walk back home knowing I’d done everything that I could do to keep him safe, including a little prayer humbly asking for help.
What I didn’t know then is the many positive things that Morgan – and our family – have received because of his food allergies. It’s so easy to focus on all the hardships and issues that food allergies create. I don’t need to list those here, because if you’re reading this you no doubt know what those are! Back then, I couldn’t imagine what the future would look like for Morgan blazing the trail in our school district.
He was the first student to have multiple life threatening food allergies. He was also the first student to have a 504 Plan for his food allergies. An entirely new culture was going to have to be created in the school, and there were a lot of parents not happy about that!
Now that Morgan has just graduated from high school, I have been reflecting on his entire school career. Some of the good things that Morgan has received from his food allergies are:
- Compassion for other children who manage an illness
- A desire to read (at a young age) to be able to read food labels
- A healthy lunch for school each day made by his Dad in elementary and middle school – usually with a positive hand-written note included
- Learning how to advocate for himself in various situations, not just when it involves food
- Close friendships created with kids across the USA by attending food allergy conferences
- An ability to tell who really is his friend, because real friends care about keeping him safe
- Great food at overnight camps since Mom packed his safe food
- A healthier diet than most of his peers!
- The ability to mentor younger children with food allergies
- Learning that he is a REALLY good public speaker
- Creating his own website design company (since working a minimum wage job at a restaurant wasn’t going to be preferable for money-making)
- Another reason to say NO! to drugs and alcohol
- A distinguishing element when he applied for college scholarships
It’s been quite a learning experience for him and for me to get him safely through school and to keep him included in activities. He went from preschool through high school in Academy School District 20 – fifteen years in all – without an allergic reaction. We certainly didn’t know that was possible when he began school. That result is beyond our wildest dreams and certainly an answered prayer!
In the Fall, he is off to the University of Denver (DU), where I’m sure he will continue to blaze a trail with food allergy advocacy. And I’ll bet that when my husband and I drop him off at his dorm, I’ll be saying a little prayer, “God, please take care of my boy!”