Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The A.D.D. Irony

I can only speak from my personal, undiagnosed experience so take this with a grain of salt and do your own research.  My guess is that if I was interested and pursued it, I would be accurately diagnosed with A.D.D.  But I have never really cared to find out for sure and quite frankly I enjoy the way my brain works for all its limitations and strengths.  If I have it, it’s never affected my ability to learn or interact socially.  I suppose there are different grades of the disorder and perhaps I land on the high functioning side because I do know some who have it and actually “suffer” from it, needing special accommodations.

My daughter is now bringing this front and center for us as we’ve been struggling this year to get her focused and ready for the state required, Star Test.  We know how brilliant she is. And we aren’t one of those couples that just thinks that because she’s our daughter.  She has the grades to prove it and a brother we can constantly compare her to for any disparities.  Though he is slightly more advanced in some areas, they are pretty equal and in some cases she is the one ahead of him. So her struggle with the standardized test is both in inheriting her parent’s inability to do well on them combined with what we now believe might be A.D.D. since she knows the material but is getting hung up on the instructions or sometimes the way the questions are worded.

We are going to get her checked out but are not going down the medication path.  Instead schools and we as parents will help accommodate her and give just that little extra bit of attention she needs to understand and perform the task at hand.  So what is the irony in all of this?  At one point in my life I would have sworn that I don’t have the same issue.  The reason being, I always assumed A.D.D. meant people were too easily distracted and went from thought to thought, never really focusing on anything.  I had the opposite problem.  I can only focus on one thing.  So if you are talking to me but my mind is pondering the ramifications of quantum theory, I will not hear a word you are saying.  If the TV is on and my wife is communicating valuable information, only one of the two messages is going to enter my brain.  I am NOT a multi-tasker in thought or deed.  And if you want to stress me out, give me more than one thing to accomplish at the same time, grab some popcorn, and have a laugh at my expense.

I don’t just believe, but I know…this is what Mackenzie is struggling with.  Her problem is that her imagination is SO active and captivating that when her mind is in the clouds, there it shall stay.  She isn’t moving from thought to thought, she is hyper-focused on the one she is having to the exclusion of ALL others.  I don’t know if everyone that is diagnosed with A.D.D. experiences this or if my daughter and I are in a special category.  But I would almost like to change the label to H.F.D. (Hyper Focus Disorder) and begin teaching those that suffer from it to learn to focus on the right and most important things, saving the day-dreams and trivial tv programs for later.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Should We Pray For Clarity?

I don't think we are committing a sin to ask God for help in making decisions.  We have countless Biblical examples of New and Old Testament characters seeking guidance and help from Almighty God.  But if you are like me we practically want to know the future when praying for clarity.  It's as though I believe choice A vs. choice B might have the Universe and its continued existence hanging in the balance if I choose incorrectly.  The fact is God will be on the other-side of either choice and will take care of us regardless of what we do.

Last night as I met with some men from church including my Pastor, he shared a story about Mother Teresa.  She was apparently approached at one point by John Kavanaugh who asked her to pray for him.  She asked specifically how she could pray and his reply is much like one I might give...for clarity.

"No," Mother Teresa answered, "I will not do that."  When he asked her why, she said, "Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of."  When Kavanaugh said that she always seemed to have clarity, the very kind he was looking for, Mother Teresa laughed and said: "I have never had clarity; what I always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God."

As Pastor Steve uttered those last few words I was dumbfounded.  This pierced me to the marrow.  I stand guilty. I won't pretend to know the exact line between trust and clarity but I know I've crossed it.  Perhaps we need to adjust how we pray for answers.  As much as I WANT the right decision to be made or a sign from heaven on what to do next with my life, God's desire might just be for me to trust and hang on tight for the wild ride!