messy. crazy. amazing. joyful.

We're not all officially ADHD. Dad's unofficial. Our ten-year-old twins have ADHD. Our seven-year old wants to have it because everyone is always talking about it. Our three year old has ADHD--just because she's three. And me, Mom, I think it's contagious. Who can remain untouched in a house where shoes seem to be lost every morning, instructions are routinely thrown aside, and fights erupt over which continent capybaras come from?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Peter the Apostle Had ADHD

Caravaggio's Crucifixion of St. Peter

Happy Easter and Passover (or whatever you may be celebrating this weekend).

With all the news about the new pope and with Easter coming up, I have a spiritual/religious/ADHD message for today:

Peter the Apostle had ADHD.

In church the other day, someone was retelling the story of Christ walking on water. The apostles were in a boat during a storm on the Sea of Galilee, and Christ walked out to them. When Peter saw him, he hopped out onto the roiling waters and tried to walk toward Christ. He took a few steps, got scared, and started to sink. Jesus rescued Peter and calmed the waters. “Pretty impulsive,” I thought. “Sounds like Peter had ADHD.”

And then I thought about some other famous St. Peter stories. He was told three times in a row by Jesus, “Feed my sheep.” (Wonder what he was like getting ready in the morning.) Peter slashed off the ear of a man who was arresting Jesus, but Jesus calmly told Peter to put his sword away and immediately healed the man. Peter fell asleep when he was supposed to be on watch in the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter told Christ he was ready to go to prison and death with him, but soon after denied knowing him.

When Christ was washing the feet of the apostles, Peter refused, thinking it was too lowly a task for the Savior. When Christ implied it was critical, Peter said essentially, “Okay, then, wash my head and hands and feet.” I think Peter probably provided Jesus with a lot of good laughs—patient and good-hearted laughs, as in, “Hang in there Peter, it’s all going to be clear to you one day.”

The thing is, Peter was a pretty good guy, an amazing human. If Jesus’ right-hand man had ADHD, it can’t be too bad.

After Christ died, Peter seemed to grow into his responsibility, and his ADHD served him well. He preached the gospel despite threats and arrests. He famously said to his accusers, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” He preached the equality of the Gentiles. He journeyed around the Mediterranean, speaking to all kinds of people. In the end, he was purported to have died a martyr, crucified upside down at his request because he did not feel worthy to die the same way as Jesus. He is a hero of Christianity, who—in my humble opinion—probably had ADHD for a reason.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"No" on the Letter and Buzz, A Must Read

Lots of energy in our house.

Well, the principal and teacher do not want to pass along our letter to parents of children in Luke’s class because they feel it would “add fuel to the fire.” Some parents have actually complained about having Luke in the class and want him out. I’m not sure whether they are saying that Luke is disruptive or aggressive, but I don’t see either one as being an overarching problem in the classroom. Yes, I understand it might take time to deal with Luke, but it takes time to help a child who is struggling with reading or a child who is hearing impaired. Should we kick them all out? We wouldn’t have a class left.

So the principal told me that this letter would just make other parents more concerned that their children were being deprived, and that they wouldn’t care about my son’s rights to appropriate education. I really didn’t know what to say after that, so I just left it. I could find the class parents and deliver the letters on my own, I guess. Not sure what we’ll do next.

Next subject. I am reading the book, Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention by Katherine Ellison. “A hilarious and heartrending account of one mother’s journey to understand and reconnect with her high-spirited preteen son—a true story sure to beguile parents grappling with a child’s bewildering behavior.” –from Amazon

The mother and son are both dealing with ADHD, and I love Ellison’s honest and funny take on their life. And she explores every avenue of ADHD treatment that I’ve ever wanted to look into. I’ll let her visit Dr. Daniel Amen and get a brain scan so I don’t have to—unless she says it was worth it.

The book is fabulous. I read a review of it a while ago that wasn’t particularly glowing, so I didn’t rush out and get it, but I’ll tell you to rush out and get it. It may be that I relate well to their situation, but I think anyone dealing with ADHD can find some gems of wisdom and black comedy in there.

For instance, Ellison has a little epiphany about how her son’s behavior is exacerbated by his own stress and is not just a ploy to destroy her sanity—something I have to remind myself over and over again:

“Suddenly, he’s no longer my persecutor, the rebel lashing out against a weakened foe, the spoiled symbol of everything that’s going wrong with American youth, the painfully public proof of how Jack [her husband] and I have screwed up as parents.
“He’s just nine years old. He’s getting scolded at home, and teased, rejected, and reprimanded every single day at school. His mother is unhappy, her behavior erratic….
“On top of all this, he has just learned that he has something wrong with his brain.
“He’s scared. And he’s calling 9-1-1 for help.”

Do you relate?