"What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended? What if a child aspired to something greater?" ~ Man of Steel
My son and I started out our day today reminding one another about the day before. I reminded him about 19 times about our new Inside the House Rules for Our Bodies, while he reminded me that I said we would go to Target to use his birthday gift cards “first thing in the morning.”
Inside the House Rules for Our Bodies for Especially Bouncy Boys:
WE ARE TO PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE …
- FLOORS — by not jumping or stomping
- WALLS — by not slamming ourselves or our toys into them
- FURNITURE — by not climbing or jumping (or doing gymnastics) on it
My son looks up and asks, “What about the ceiling?”
Images of cars, planes, and soccer balls dance in my head. “OK, add the ceiling to the list. Floors, walls, furniture, and ceiling. Control your body with ALL OF THOSE THINGS. Got it?”
"Yes, ma’am," he says with a military voice, followed by a salute. "Now can we go to Target?"
During first grade, the school finally came out with the whole ADHD thing, dancing a jig around the laws of what they could and couldn’t say. But the message is clear — your kid has it and we can’t do our jobs until you give him the meds. Not that they aren’t doing a genuinely great job. But our school systems are set up to provide the widest range of test-based education to the most children, rather than to help individual children learn how to learn. This system fails many. It stifles creativity and initiative, and it discourages independent thinking. Kids spend most of the day indoors and immobile—disconnected from nature and most of their senses. The curriculum does very little to engage tactile and other sensory learning techniques because reading is (understandably) emphasized,yet these other competences are not tied into literacy.
Most importantly, this system labels kids who cannot work within the system as abnormal, rather than considering the unnatural construct it represents. And they (along with the medical establishment) pressure parents to medicate children to fit their construct. I refuse to medicate him. I know I’m making things more difficult in many ways, but the risks are real and I cannot in good conscience do it.
So my son has been “diagnosed” and labelled by this system. I don’t know how other parents take this experience, but for me, it makes me angry — because I don’t want what he might be trampled by this bureaucratic need for boxes.
After an endless trip to Target, which involved a lot of math and complicated decisions about action figures and Legos, we went to see Man of Steel. I have plenty to say about this film, but for now, all I will say is that I always love movies that show superheroes with their Moms.
Today, watching my son as he watched the action I wondered if Superman would have been considered ADHD. The scenes from his childhood show a strong, athletic boy who is hypersensitive to sounds and images and therefore unable to concentrate in class. He certainly didn’t fit into any of the physical “norms” that the other children did.
What’s normal? Since when do we label disease and disability according to what a child can do in school? I learned this year that ADHD falls into the “other” category because it doesn’t actually have anything to do with a child’s ability to hear or see or physically move around. The child has the capability to learn at the same speed and cognition as others. The only identifiable variable seems to be inattention and physical movement. But they also know that these kids do well in other situations. Could it be that if the school was different the kids would do better?
I just want my child to be a man of integrity, one who cares about others and who finds fulfillment in life by discovering his gifts and using them.
Did I mention that his middle name is Clark? He’s totally going to save the world one day. He can already melt an iceberg with his smile.
"You’re not just anyone. One day, you’re going to have to make a choice. You’ll have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be. Whoever that man is, good character or bad, he’s going to change the world."