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):
Create a positive emotional environment wherever you are:
Find your rhythm:
Invest your time wisely so as to get maximum return:
Don't waste time screensucking (a modern addiction - the withdrawal of looking at a computer/BlackBerry/etc. screen):
Identify and control the sources of gemmelsmerch in your environment:
Don't multitask ineffectively (avoid frazzing):