Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

ADHD kids

This morning, as I turned the radio on, I heard the unfortunate phrase, "ADHD kids" and immediately turned the radio back off. It felt to me as though those two words reduced down living, breathing, complex people into a collection of symptoms.

Perhaps I should confess here - most likely, if I were a child today, the school would be trying to force my parents to put me on Ritalin. You see, I thought faster than most of my teachers, and would consequently get bored in class. So I'd stop paying attention to the teacher and pay attention to something else, just about anything would do, really: the spider living in the space between the wall, the pipe, and the ceiling, perhaps some birds flying outside, perhaps only my own thoughts. And yes, sometimes the book I had concealed inside a textbook or between my skirt and the desk. By 6th grade, I'd tested out of enough that they let me go to the library more frequently, and I had dance and music to get me out of the worst classes. (I could never understand why we had to listen to the teacher spell words out, especially words I already knew how to spell.)

Yes, my brain is wired a little differently, but there's more to me, to the essence of me, than the mere biological fact of my brain.

In the same way, I'm concerned about how many pigeonholes we have to lump people into: by gender, by sexuality, by income, by political affiliation. (I'll let y'all in on a secret: I've had dinner with a republican, and neither of us was hit by lightning afterwards.) Two of the blogs I follow have recently posted something on pigeonholing by gender, even as traditional gender boundaries are blurred.

And I recall the words of a man of deep wisdom, my great granddaddy, who patiently listened to a boy declaring he wouldn't do "women's work" and observed "I never heard the work complain about who done it, so's it got done." Folks, right now, we got a lot of work ahead of us, crying out for hands to plow that barren earth, to sow the seeds and plant the trees. And it can't be done alone - we need every available hand, so isn't it past time we stop looking for convenient pigeonholes and instead turn our hands to that heavy plow?

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