Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spiritual ADD/ADHD

Confession: Last night I lost my temper.

It was ugly, but perhaps necessary. Niki (our eight year old) had homework and chose NOT to bring it home. An ill-conceived plot to avoid work (a skill Niki has perfected into a veritable artform). Luckily, her sister is in the same class, so I photocopied Andi's homework page and forced Niki to sit at the kitchen table and pour over it.

Niki is a classic ADHD. Her brain pilgramages to far off lands when academic exercises lay before her. I think many at school have written her off as not too bright. And granted she loves to play the helpless, the needy, the intellectually challenged in a masterful scheme to manipulate others into doing work for her.

Niki would rather be running outside collecting ladybugs and butterflies, composing her own off-tune ditties and frolicking around as she performs them, or just cutting up to win the affections of the kids sitting near her. To close her mouth and focus on reading or arithmetic: UGH! That's a fate worse than death.

But there she sat as I forced her to read the instructions aloud. She read ... poorly.

If course it was all Hungarian so I could not understand. The problem was she could not understand it either. As she made the sounds of each letter her eyes would drift away from the text, away from the paper, and soon she was making sounds for letters that did not exist.

"FOCUS!" I directed. I read the word aloud and asked her what it meant. She could not tell me. I had to call Andi over to translate and give her the instructions. Still, I kept my cool. I had her repeat the instructions and she said she understood.

"Okay, Niki I am going to read with Andi and when I return you should have the first one done. READ EACH WORD and underline the right ones," I directed.

When I returned, I noticed she had underlined every word and now pretended to toy with question 2. "Niki, did you read each word?" I asked.

Niki looked at me sheepishly. An incontestable wave of guilt rushed over her face. "I read the first one," quietly slipped from her lips.

The mercury of my internal thermometer shot up so quickly it broke the glass. "So you just guessed?" I snapped. "You did not even try?! I have NO patience for this!" I exploded. Niki burst into dramatic tears. You would have thought the world was ending. But I know that "Niki trick" all too well and I wasn't falling for it. I showed not even an ounce of sympathy for her life-shattering plight.

After sufficient verbal reprimand, I sat down beside her with fire still in my eyes and what do you think happened? With the exception of some struggles in reading the instructions, she whipped through the rest of the homework almost effortlessly.

I truly wanted to pull out my hair. She CAN do the work. Why must we reach such an ugly crisis point before she will chose to move forward in her academic duties and development?

Everytime I reach that point where I teeter on the brink of losing either my temper or my mind with one of my kids, it as if God taps me on my shoulder and whispers, "That's how you are with Me." And I can almost hear the gentle chuckle in His voice.

ADD/ADHD -- Attention Deficient Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a common struggle of adopted kids. Is it any wonder that we, who have been adopted into God's family, face a spiritual form of it?

So easily our hearts drift from the duties and development our God has placed before us as we would rather chase the brightly colored, twittering things of this world, focusing on our own self satisfaction rather than our sanctification. We would prefer the admiration of our social circles to the inspiration of the Spirit. How easily we drift away.

And for those who are big "do-ers", you can throw the "H" (hyperactivity) into the equation. Always busy. Very often busily doing good things, but wrapped up so tightly in insatiable activity, we find ourselves doing everything EXCEPT that homework that sits before us on the kitchen table. We may have even purposely stuffed it away and left it in our desk at school hoping to avoid having to deal with it at all.

Still, God, our Heavenly Father, stands over us and places the homework before us. But even in this close enviroment our eyes dart about the room. We may work through the first question, but we are sloppy and just guess rather than taking the time to properly work through what has been laid before us.

Thankfully, our Heavenly Father does not lose His temper. But He is sometimes willing to bring us each to a crisis point and it may be an ugly one. Out of His great love for us, He brings us to that place of breaking and draws us through our own salty tears to move us ahead in our spiritual development.

I hate the ugly crisis. I hate the raised voices, the tensed muscles, and the desperate sobs. Ahh, but what joy comes when Niki completes her work and does it well. She looks up at me as sheer delight twinkles in her big blue eyes and all that is left of the tears is salt-stained cheeks. She throws her skinny little arms around me and hugs me tightly. And I am truly proud of her.

Let's take some time to FOCUS and overcome our own spiritual ADD/ADHD.

Let's push through the exercise the Heavenly Father has placed before us this day for our own spiritual development and when it is complete and we have come through the crises, He will wrap his strong carpenter's arms around us frail beings and say, "Well done, my child. Well done."

8 comments:

Dad and Linda said...

Can't wait to see you in the far off land--14 hours west of Mikepercs!

Trudy Chun said...

Looking forward to seeing you guys too. We depart Mikepercs in approximately 20 hours!

Gigi said...

i got tears too, different reason though, loved your newest blog entry:)

Csilla Muscan said...

Trudy, I absolutely enjoyed reading your blog entry:) I can identify with what you wrote on so many levels, it's scary!
Thank you! It was a great encouragement to me!
Miss you guys.

Amanda Beisel said...

Wow, Trudy! This was an AMAZING post. What a great, humble story. You're right that we behave in similar ways as adopted children of the Father. I'm sure he gets quite frustrated with me at MANY times, but he keeps his cool. Praise God! Thanks for this wonderfully written reminder for me. It's something I will need to pray about and work on. God bless you! :)

.arpi.horvat-kavai. said...

i guess i have spiritual adhd ... look at the bright colors ... wait, what was i saying?

Nick and Rosemary said...

GREAT POST.

taniad1992 said...

So true Trudy! I believe that one reason children are a blessing is that it helps us see how we behave toward our Heavenly Father sometimes, just like our children do toward us, and our children's struggles cause us to spend more time in prayer to the Lord. Bottom line....the struggles of parenthood draw me closer to the Lord and for that, I am thankful!