Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Salmon Says...

I have a meeting this Friday afternoon about Ann and Sunday School. It’s going to be a tough one I think. At least it is at Starbucks. Disappointment goes down a bit better with a frappuccino.

We’ve had trouble with Ann and our church since she was 2. It has been a long road.

For those of you new to my little piece of the World Wide Web, Ann has a fatal allergy to all dairy. It is kinda of a trick to keep her safe when apparently, God’s Word can not be taught without a tasty object lesson of some sort.

For the last year there has been a wonderful lady on the Sunday School committee who had been my advocate. She tweaked some things so Ann’s class would be safe for her. And if she couldn’t, she’d simply email me in advance and let me know what weeks there would be food and we’d stay home that Sunday and do home church.

She has moved on to other ministries. Sigh. We’re back to square one.

I am hoping the lady I am talking too on Friday will be sympathetic, but I’m not holding my breath. I could jump in, join the committee and do it all myself, but there are some reasons why that would be hard and awkward. I won’t name them all, but it’d be a bit like being the single republican at a democratic caucus. I’m not that brave.

I have to admit that a large part of me wants to give up. It has just been SO hard at the church we attend. I know every church has problems because every church is made up of people, and all of us people have that darn sin nature, but something in me thinks that this issue would be easier elsewhere.

The problem is that we have two teen boys who LOVE church, they Love their youth pastor and consequently I do too. He is a great man with lots of Godly wisdom. I don’t want to pull the boys away from that, but I am not sure how much more I can take with Ann and the allergy situation.

I feel like a salmon swimming up stream. I’ve been doing it for 7 years and I’m a bit tired.


Tonya said...

Why is it that church can be such a HUGE frustration? In my mind, that is where we should go to feel safe and comforted and with family who knows us and loves us. Instead, it is often a place we go and feel like we are doing battle. Why is that? WHY? Seriously, Trish, tell me! :-) How hard is this issue anyway? She can't have dairy at all, therefore there will be no dairy in her classroom. Seems very simple to me. Would they handle it better if it were a peanut allergy, since that is better known?

Sorry about this. :-) If I were in charge, I would make sure all snacks are dairy, sugar, peanut and wheat free. Only fruit and veges allowed. :-)

Tricia said...

You're preaching to the choir on this one Tonya!

Our SS program is set up in a rotation model, like VBS. They have one shepherd that stays with them for the year, and the kids rotate classrooms every week.

There is no way to know, from week to week, what they are doing. The shepherds don't even know. Only those on the SS committee and the teacher. The shepherds don't even know who the teachers for that 6 week rotation are.

This model makes any kind of fore planning on my part, extremely difficult.

It's not just snacks. It is that they seem to incorporate food into the way they teach the lesson. There is even a cooking workshop, although, they often use food as object lessons in the other classes as well.

They adopted this program, knowing they had a kid with a fatal food allergy in their group.

Would you not take that personally?

I have a hard time not taking that personally. Almost like they thought she's only one, we have 100 to teach. In fact, I believe similar words were spoken to me by those on the SS committee.

It is really sad when your dd is the 1 in the 100 that is excluded from SS. :o(

I like your fresh fruit and veggie idea, wanna come run the SS program at my church? :o)

Halfmoon Girl said...

I absolutely agree with Tonya. I am a bit fired up now reading your post and then your comment. We have a child with a fatal nut allergy. I attend the Sunday School meetings and stress that it is the "20 minutes till he stops breathing!!!" kind of allergy. Still, I have to watch. I have good friends and family who watch. I am involved in Sunday School. Our church is a bit smaller than yours, so is probably easier to control. My pastor and his wife are on board too, and his wife phones ahead to ask about certain foods if she is serving a treat. Fruit and veggies is enough- there doesn't need to be all sorts of different snacks! They need to think about how they would feel if it was their child! It can be very scary!!! Someone once left out a big bowl of peanuts in my son's class area- my heart stopped when I saw that - It was from a youth function the night before. People don't mean to be careless, but we have to be ever vigilant. You know what it is like- it is then not just enough to remove the nuts- is there residue on the counter, tables, chairs- is there nuts that have dropped, etc. I am on your side girl- get Trace Adkins to come lecture your church- maybe his size and deep voice will make an impression!!! (if you did not watch Celebrity Apprentice, you will not understand why I said that.) Sorry for the rant!

Tonya said...

What you would like to see is the WHOLE church rally around to support your family in this. (Both the peanut allergy and the dairy allergy.) Hey, NONE of us want this precious child to die, right? So, from the pulpit, let's make an announcement about how this can kill this child. Let's all work together to support this family in keeping this child alive.

Again, how hard is this? Your church isn't that huge. It isn't like you just don't want her to eat dairy. It's fatal.

All right, enough of my opinion. I sure hope you got things sorted out.

Lalena said...

Church issues can be so difficult. Why??? Jesus isn’t complicated.

We’ve recently changed churches. It was one of the hardest decisions we have ever made. I had been at the same church for almost 30years. It was my home.

One of our difficulties was that my oldest wanted to stay. After much prayer we gave him our okay. At that time he was approaching manhood and we felt he was old enough to understand our reasons for needing to go and could make up his own mind.
We spoke with him and made sure he understood our reasons. We made sure we did not expose people or speak negatively of individuals but tried to give the facts without hurt or anger. He decided to stay.

I absolutely HATE being at a different church home than my son but our new home has made a huge difference for the rest of our family. It was the right decision for us.

Ultimately we each must do what we believe is best for our family and what we believe the Lord is saying. Your family is in my prayers.

Sugga Mama said...

My heart is heavy for you, as you attend this meeting I will be praying for you and the lady you are meeting with.

Food is also an issue with our family. We have a child who could not eat any food for 6 years. Now he eats rice and apple.

Things can still be tough, but 6 years was horrible. He couldn't eat food, but he wanted food and he'd sneak if he got a chance.
Then he would become very ill and end up in the hospital.

Of course there are not kids activities that do not offer food.

Church was one of the worst places.
Food in SS, passing out candy at the end of classes.

Food, candy, food, candy everywhere you turn.

We learned that kids can not go 2 hours without food, no matter what setting they are in.

Praying for you.

Martha said...

This is one of the reasons we decided to keep our children with us at church. My children do the Feingold Program. It just became too difficult to make sure that not only weren't they being exposed to any foods they couldn't have, but also not to any art supplies that could cause a reaction.

At the same time as we started having them come to our class with us, we realized that there is no Biblical basis for having children go to any class or worship service without us. In fact, it was only serving to divide our family, rather than draw us together. How could their father be their spiritual leader if he didn't know what they were being taught in SS class?

We are much happier these days. Sunday is much less stressful with us all going the same direction. :)

Martha said...

You may have this already, but you might want to print out this fact sheet from FAAN: