How's that for ironic?

The school year is not going to start as planned.  I've gotten distracted.  I am distracted by a series of books that I purchased to help me better understand Attention Deficit Disorder.  I have been derailed and distracted by Delivered from Distraction!

It all began innocently enough.  I was feeling sick late one afternoon and began to channel surf to distract myself from the nausea.  I happened upon EWTN and Johnette Benkovich was talking to Ned Hallowell, author of several books on ADD and crazy-busyness in general.  His descriptions of ADD adults so fit a person I dearly love that I stopped clicking the remote and listened.  My newly diagnosed teenager wandered in. He listened.  The show ended; I went to the computer; the books were on their way in minutes.

One thing I knew before the show was that I needed to spend some time thinking about how to structure Christian's day, week, year so that he has the necessary support.  But I also know that there are other people in my household who need serious structure.  And I had a sense these books could help me to help them.  So, instead of starting the school year and then scrapping the program after reading the books, I decided to take another week, read the books, and start really well prepared.  The neighborhood kids don't start until next week anyway.

For me, the most riveting point that Dr. Hallowell made was that we are not to strive for independence.  Instead, we need healthy interdependence.  The ADD adult needs support people. The wife of a man with ADD can foster healthy interdependence and really be an asset to her husband.  There is difference between supporting and enabling though (and I'm still reading to learn more about that).  As I pondered this whole dynamic of interdependence and I thought about countless struggles to "fix" or "change" those very prounounced ADD tendencies, it occurred to me that part of the vocation of a woman whose husband has ADD might just be to fill that support role in a deliberate, tangible way. Similarly, the mother of a child with ADD needs to look not so much towards making him tow the line like everybody else but to embrace how he is wired an dharness that uniqueness for something good. My role is to coach and to do what I can do to make home as structured for success as possible.

Dr. Hallowell also makes the point that just as there is true ADD (a neurological condition), there is envronmentally induced pseudo-ADD.  The environment in which we live--to which we are wired--feeds frenetic activity, muti-tasking, and distractiblity.  We are Crazy Busy: Overbooked, Overstretched and About to Snap. I'm just guessing here (haven't read that book yet), but an ADD individual living in a crazy-busy world might not be the best scenario for success.

The last nine months have been slow.  Really, really slow.  Every time I think I can add things in, up the busyness factor, God slows me down.  This morning, my son Stephen told a friend of mine that he wasn't going to play travel soccer this fall because that would really make mom pass out.  It's a little extreme but the truth is that every busy day we have had has been followed by two or three "pass out" days. I have spent nine months saying, "I can't."  And every time I'm forced to dial back, I ask what God is trying to teach me.  Now, close to the end (please Lord) of this extreme form of reminding to slow down, I am beginning to understand that crazy busy isn't ever going to do any of us any good and little and hidden needs to be my way of life well past this baby's birthday. I truly believe that the success and the happiness of this family depends on my ability to take seriously these principles of Dr. Hallowell's in my own life:

10 Key Principles to Managing Modern Life

Do what matters most to you (the most common casualty of an excessively busy life):
Don't spread yourself too thin - you must choose, you must prioritize.  In order to both do well and to be happy, you must say , "No thank you," to many projects, people and ideas.  "Cultivate your lilies and get rid of your leeches."

Create a positive emotional environment wherever you are:
When the emotional atmosphere is less than positive, people lose flexibility, the ability to deal wtih ambiguity and complexity, trust, enthusiasm, patience, humor, and creativity.  When you feel safe and secure, you feel welcomed and appreciated, you think better, behave better, and are better able to help others.

Find your rhythm:
Get in the "zone", follow your "flow" - research has proven that this state of mind elevates all that you do to its hightest level.  When you find your rhythm, you allow your day to be taken care of by the automatic pilot in your brain, so the creative, thinking part can attend to what it is uniquely qualified to attend to.

Invest your time wisely so as to get maximum return:
Try not to let time be stolen from you or let yourself fritter it away - use the Time Value Assessment to guide you in what to add, preserve, cut back on, and eliminate.

Don't waste time screensucking (a modern addiction - the withdrawal of looking at a computer/BlackBerry/etc. screen):
Break the habit of having to be near your computer at all times by changing your environment or structure - move your screen to a different room; schedule an amount of time you are allowed to be on the computer; plan mandatory breaks.

Identify and control the sources of gemmelsmerch in your environment:
Gemmelsmerch, the force that distracts a person from what he or she wants to or ought to be doing, is as pervasive and powerful as gravity.

Delegate what you don't like to do or are not good at if you possibly can.  Your goal should be not to be independent, but rather effectively interdependent.  You do for me and I do for you - this is what makes life possible.

Slow down:
Stop and think.  As yourself, what's your hurry?  Why wake up, alrady impatient, and rush around and try to squeeze in more things than you should, thereby leading you to do all of it less well?  Your hurry is your enemy.

Don't multitask ineffectively (avoid frazzing):
Give one task your full attention.  You will do it better.  You may eventually get so good at it that your conscious mind can attend to other aspects of the task other than menial ones.  This is the only way a human can multitask effectively.

Imaginatively engage with what you are doing.  This will bring out the best part of your mind, focus you on your task, and make you more effective and efficient.