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God has blessed me tremendously with an amazing husband, Doug, and two gorgeous little boys, Gavin and Joey. It has always been a dream of mine to have a large family but God may have other plans. I had a series of 6 consecutive early miscarriages when trying for baby #2. We are currently trying for baby #3 after our 7th miscarriage. I am faithful that God's plan is perfect, even when I am not happy about it. I love comments and meeting new followers so please don't be shy!

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Post About... Oh! What a pretty bird!

I have a really bad habit of losing my train of thought when I am in the middle of a story. It can be an exciting, fun, even thought provoking story and I notice something that causes my mind to wander. Then, it is simply gone. I'll ask Doug, "What was I saying?" His typical response, regardless of where I was in my story is, "I think you'd finished." I the follow that up with, "If you were really listening then you would know what I was talking about." This happens at least 3 times a week. At least.

I would like to think that I don't have attention issues. I might be in denial but really this post isn't really about my attention issues. It is about the attention issues of our children. Well, I say issues but what I should really say is our expectations. So many children are being diagnosed with ADD or ADHD these days that it makes me wonder what has changed. It think that over the course of the last century, the lifestyles and expectations of our children has changed dramatically.

One hundred years ago young children had responsibilities that involved being active. They had to help outside gardening, farming, tending to their backyard animals. If they had already done the work at their own home, they were sent walking to the elderly neighbors (probably closer to a mile away than next door) to help them do what ever they were needed to do there. Of course, on the way they probably climbed trees, splashed in puddles, and caught a couple of frogs. Then after a long day of activities they would eat dinner, help clean up, do a couple more household responsibilities, wash off the layer of accumulated dirt, then turn in for the night.

Today, children are expected to sit. Sit for a while longer. Then after they are done sitting they can play quietly for a while. They wake up and sit at the table to eat. Then they are strapped into a car seat to sit on their way to daycare where they sit in circles to learn, sit in their chairs for lunch, then sit in the teacher's lap to read a book. They might get some time to go out and play for a while but if it is raining or cold then they get to sit and play indoor games. Then back home they go to sit down for dinner, sit in front of the TV, computer, video game system, then sit in the tub for bath time. Whew! They must be exhausted from all that sitting so we should turn off the lights and go to sleep.

No wonder so many children are being diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. When are our kids supposed to run around, be active, get muddy? When are they supposed to get sweaty, smelly, and find creepy crawly bugs? In 20 minute spurts that happen a few times a week? I think that so many of us have been taught to expect our children to be well behaved little adults that when they want to burn off some energy we view it as an "disorder". When I was teaching, I was being handed evaluations for students as young as 5 years old to determine if they had ADD/ADHD. I filled them out as accurately as I could but I really wanted to write, "Of course Little Johnny doesn't always follow directions. Of course he gets out of his seat 2-3 times an hour. And surely he doesn't focus on his work for more than 5 minute intervals. HE IS FIVE! I am 25 (at the time) and I don't always remember to do what I was asked to do. I get up from my desk 10 times during an hour. I can't remember what I was saying after getting distracted by a pretty bird flying by the window. Why are we expecting little people to have better attention spans than adults?"

Let's let our little ones get outside and "misbehave". Let's let them get dirty, smelly, and touch things that give us the shivers. They should be nice little people but not miniature adults. Let them pay attention to 100 things in 100 minutes and learn 100 things. That is not a disorder, that is what being a child is all about.


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