React with Respect
This is the theme of Food Allergy Month this year. The campaign encourages others to be respectful (not dismissive, impatient, or mean) when learning that someone has a food allergy–especially if it requires them to take added precautions. This is certainly a courtesy we want others to offer us in restaurants and when we’re sending our children to school, camps, and playdates.
But you know what? People without food allergies aren’t the only ones who need to React with Respect. If those of us who deal with food allergies on a daily basis, and who often feel affronted by the disrespectul responses of others, could remember to React with Respect when someone makes a stupid comment, we would get a lot more respect in return.
All too often, when people (especially people hiding behind their device screens) make ignorant comments about food allergies or Food Allergy Parents/Kids, we fall back upon our knee-jerk reactions to these attacks. The problem with our knee-jerk reactions is that they usually just fuel the fire, either reinforcing the other person’s perception of us or putting them on the defensive–which is a time when people don’t think compassionately, they just get ready to fight further.
If, however, we can distance ourselves from our roiling emotions to such attacks and respond calmly (and with the intent to inform), we make so much more progress!
For example, when I was browsing the #tealpumpkinproject hashtag last October, I came across a post of a teal pumpkin with the caption “Now we know which houses will have the lame candy.” The description also included the hashtag #KidsAreWimps
My gut reaction to seeing this post was . . .
Read the rest of the story to see how a troll became aware, here!