ADD, ADHD, or some other Alphabet Condition
By: Garland Davis
I am glad that I lived and grew up in the time I did. I was a restless child. I received excellent grades in school, although, I did not study. I was a voracious consumer of the printed word from the time I learned to read. I would read my schoolbooks at the beginning of the school year. I have always been able to remember what I read. After the first couple of weeks, I became bored with school. Teacher statements on my report cards say that I was inattentive and restless. I guess they were right because I remember suffering through the minutes that dragged on like hours until recess, lunch, afternoon Phys Ed and the end of the school day. It was almost impossible to pay attention to anything else. I was happiest in a corner with a book to read.
I was often given a pass for my inattentiveness at school. My parents and teachers overlooked much of my behavior because my grades were good. My parents were wholeheartedly on board with teachers administering corporal punishment. My father assured us kids that if we received a spanking at school, a whipping would be forthcoming at home. You could not call what my father did spanking.
I remember a high school teacher, freshman science, who was frustrated with my inattention and my attempts to smuggle books into the class to read while she was lecturing. She jumped me one day about it and I informed that I didn’t need to listen to her because I knew everything in the textbook. She angrily took me by the arm to an empty classroom and gave me a series of tests. I answered every question correctly. They were all the tests for the Science class.
Afterward grading the tests, she took me to the principal’s office and informed him that I did not belong in the class. She told him that there was nothing she could teach me about high school level science and that I was disrupting the rest of the students. The principal told me that he would give me the credit for the science class, but that I would have to finish the year in Home Economics. I know he did it because only girls were required to take that class. I guess he thought I would be embarrassed to take the course. Actually, I loved it. I was the only boy among all those girls. Instead of scorn from the other boys, I received their admiration. I found in that class that I had a flair for cooking and baking. Sewing was another matter. I can screw up sewing a button on.
The only courses in high school that troubled me were math courses and Latin. I studied for those subjects and received good grades. When I was fourteen I arranged to take the GED tests and received a High School Equivalency Certificate. I hoped to be finished with school and just wanted to work and read until I turned seventeen and could enlist in the Navy. Because of my age, the state required that I stay in school for another two years until I was sixteen. The principal arranged for me to take a baking course at a local vocational school rather than have me around the other students. He envisioned a horde of students trying to GED out of high school.
I saw my first television set when I was nine years old. I never had that distraction to “dumb me down” during my formative years. Even after my family got a TV set, we were still required to do our homework and, living on a farm, we had chores. If there was time left, we watched TV for thirty minutes or an hour. The parents of my generation chased their children out of the house to play or work and did not permit their children to vegetate watching TV. In summer, I would go to the woods and fields with my friends to work or play. On rainy days and during the winter, I lost myself in the pages of a book. There was nothing on daytime TV to interest me anyway.
I am afraid that if I were a child today, I would be diagnosed with one of the alphabetical problems, termed a mentally challenged child and be dosed with one or more of the drugs used to make sure children are docile and well behaved. I would have regular sessions with a school counselor or psychiatrist. I would be written off as a troubled child and instead of giving me school work to challenge my intellect, I would, in all likelihood be placed in a class for troubled children and be given make-do projects that would be of little or no benefit to me as an adult.
I fear for the future of our country and many of the children in our “progressive” schools of today. I talk with my neighbor’s children. The schools teach a different history of the world and our country than I learned. Many of the children do not understand how the constitution designs our government and prescribes the rules by which it operates. They ask why congress does not do what the president tells them. They see the separation of powers as an impediment to Obama.
One child asked me why I did not want to pay more taxes to take care of the poor people. I asked him why should I pay more taxes. He told me because I am rich. I told him that I am not rich. He said that his parents told him that I am rich and that I should pay more taxes to help them get unemployment and food stamps.
After hearing that, I am seriously considering increasing my level of alcohol consumption or going on Ritalin myself.
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A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.