Monday, March 26, 2007

Famous People with ADHD Provide Hope

My hardworking grandfather worked the fields of the farm he owned from 5:30am to 1:30p. Then he jumped on a bus headed to Philadelphia to go to his job in a book bindery to work a shift there. I am not sure how he did it.

I was a city boy according to grandfather. But every summer, I would work on the farm for a week or two. The pay was terrible, the days were long and it was completely voluntary. I imposed this self torture to be with the grandparents I loved so very much. My parents and my friends thought I was crazy. I did it every summer from age 12 to age 17.

The days I worked the farm were the most exhausting days of my life. I would get up at 5:30a to cut, wash and pack squash. After a quick breakfast break, we would go out into the fields and pick peppers and tomatoes and cut eggplant and butternut squash. Then we would load the truck for market. We would typically end the day at 5:30p. Eat dinner. Play in the yard and be sleeping by 8:30p so we could do it again the next day.

I remember on brutally hot day. My cousin Tony and I were in a butternut squash field slaving away. We decided that we needed a quick break after working for 2 straight hours. Wouldn't you know that that is when my grandfather came to check on us. He yelled and called us good for nothing, lazy bastards before he drove off mad in a cloud of dust.

I was so mad, but not at him. I was mad at myself for letting the man I admired down. Not long after, at the farmers market, I was unloading the truck when I overheard my grandfather talking to his farming buddies. He was talking with pride about his hardworking city boy grandson. The next time he called me a lazy good for nothing. I just smiled to myself.

My son has ADD/ADHD. Many kids with ADD / ADHD are label as stupid and lazy. I tried every trick in the book to motivate him. Money. Stickers. Hugs. All with no results. I admittedly and repeatedly have tried my grandfathers method and called my son out as a lazy good for nothing. This does not work either. Nothing seems to motivate my son. I told to lower my expectations. I was told that you do not have to be a hard working rich man to be happy. I was told to just let him be what he is going to be. I was going to take this advice until I had a chance meeting with a man who is an expert in ADD/ADHD

This man has ADD/ADHD. This man had a mother who 30 years ago realized that her son needed different learning strategies to succeed. He is now a successful businessman on the verge of making it really big with an i-learning product develop for ADD/ADHD kids. This man is teaching my that my son is not stupid and lazy and to not give up on him.

He told me that my son has a gift, the gift to think differently. He then went on to tell me that many famous people in the world had ADD/ADHD. Winston Churchill failed 6th grade. Thomas Edison's teachers said he was too stupid to learn anything. Tolstoy failed out of college. Einstein did not talk until four and did not read until seven. Lincoln and Kennedy had ADD/ADHD. He also told me that 40% of people in jail have ADD / ADHD.

Kids with ADHD have low self-esteem and do not feel like they fit into the world. This list of people shows that kids with ADD/ADHD can not only fit in, but can also define the world. Parents just need to steer them in the right direction.

I admire so many people on the list. I would love to admire my son one day.


stephe said...

Be a better listener. Get ready to focused on your plans and projects. If you are effected with ADD and ADHD this site will help you to concentrate on your career.
ADD Friendly Systems

Tom said...

My son has ADHD along with Asperger's Syndrome - not a great combination. I can only pray that he will be half as great as any one of the people on the list.

Kimberly said...

I am so happy that you could find someone to tell you that your son was not stupid. And it´s true, he just thinks differently and may achieve great thing in the future that now you can´t even imagine. If Lincoln had it, it alse means that he can do anything, Anything he sets his heart on. If he still has ADHD at college, it´s not a problem, he might take a little bit longer but what is th problem with that? There is no rush. I´m glad that this successful man was able to help you understand that add is not a barrier, is a benefit.

Anonymous said...

You need to let your son be himself. Tell him you don't care if he doesn't pass school tell him you love him and all you want is for him to be nice. ADHD kids love to hear the words " be yourself" because it is avoid thing to be a nice person with a great personality. But one think: be patient. He'll start fussing if you yell at him.