Confession: I have been guilty (along with a list of teachers and coaches) of accusing my child of either being lazy or sabotaging his opportunities. A lot more before I understood what it means that my oldest has ADHD, and thankfully a lot less now that I understand the balance between his attention and his distractibility.
I don’t think we give these children (and adults) enough credit. Yes it’s hard for them to engage in some things at the same level as other “normal” children – either gazing out the window absent-mindedly or cutting off their peers every five minutes – but their brains don’t just stop there! There is something amazing on the other side of this disability and it’s their God-given, creative genious! When they reach that sweet spot, man can they take off!
I strongly recommend you pick up the book “Different” by Sally Clarkson and Nathan Clarkson. [Disclaimer: This is not an affiliate link, it’s my honest mom’s recommendation.] Nathan was diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, and OCD – making him a very different child growing up. Now he’s used his talents to create movies like “Confessions of a Prodigal Son” and he acted in “The Purge”. His adult life now is the result of Sally Clarkson’s labor of love, and raising an ADHD child to reach his “sweet spot”.
I’ll share about my younger son in another post, but I wanted to highlight something amazing about my oldest, Anakin. We’ve always struggled with writing assignments, although he’s advanced for his age, because of the work it took to get him to sit still and focus long enough to write a book report/essay/story that made sense. And then something was unlocked in him that has him taking off, publishing e-books [Anakin does receive a percentage of the purchases from this link, so it’s as close to an affiliate link as I have], illustrating his own cartoons and writing like crazy; he found a passion for history.
He says history is his favorite subject and he wants to become a writer. He says things like, “Now that I’ve read the book ‘Unbroken’ I’d like to see how Angelina Jolie directed the movie based on his life.” His passion – at the young age of 10.5 – is to write fiction stories in historical context so you learn about history without the rote work of memorization.
Confession: History was MY WORST SUBJECT EVER. And then came math.
Now I can’t make him just write a “paragraph” on anything, as you can see in his assignment on The Silk Road of the Middle East. The instructions were to write a paragraph or short story on what it would be like to trade along The Silk Road. And here comes Anakin, 809 words later, he has created quite the plot – with developed charaters, dialogue, and within the historical context of the times. One I’m happy to share with you (for free) because my son wants to know if it’s readable enough for younger children to stay captivated – in the hopes of developing it into a children’s book, complete with illustrations. Y’all let me know!
The point is, successful adults with disabilities are those that are able to major on their strengths. The key to raising successful adults, then, is to be parents who let children major on their strengths! If you would’ve asked me last year if Anakin was a good writer I would’ve answered with a, “Eh…” and a half smile. And I would’ve been wrong. I missed his gift because he just had not found anything he was passionate enough to write.
I want to encourage you, from one mom to another – whether you homeschool or not – to give your children the space and time they need to pursue their passions. Even if it doesn’t look like the things you are passionate about! We are raising world changers. I believe, prophetically, that the battles to be won will be fought by those who stand their ground at the intersection of a Kingdom Need and a Heart-Filled Talent. This intersection will be their posts as adults, and we need to shepherd them in that direction.
Have you ever been surprised by something you didn’t think you could do, but you did very well? How did that experience impact your perspective on life?