I told him he was handsome and he told me he wasn’t sure. I told him he was special and he shook his head. His eyes downcast, he thought about my words. I saw the way his eyes rushed around the room, moving like sparks of lightening but seeing nothing. He was deep inside his mind, with my words and his own. Inside his mind our words danced face to face. He said nothing. His eyes returned to me, seeing my face and he shrugged. In his mind the words I gave him were still roaming, in search of a place to sit. When I told him he was very smart, he gave me a list of things he had yet to learn. My words again went into the warehouse of his mind, and found no place to rest. Inside his mind, a game of musical chairs played out. Imagine there are 5 chairs in a small circle within the mind of my seven year old son. Each chair has been claimed. Then, I add a new player. My new player is an expression of positive affirmation. The new player enters the game, and has no seat. The game begins. The music starts and the others get up and circle the seats. The other players are not like the new player. The other players are doubt, fear, worry, disappointment and sadness. When the music stops, my son has to decide who gets a seat, and who does not fit. Time and time again, my words of affirmation are left without a seat, and the game is over. This is what happens in the mind of my child with ADHD. Meanwhile within my chest, my heart breaks again and again for him. They called him defiant, disruptive, unruly, stubborn, and bad and those words each found a seat within him. Ask him what he thinks of himself and those words will parade out of his mouth in a declaration of self-destruction and shame. He did not do this to himself. His mind is a wide open field of discovery, endlessly in search of something new. He is amazing. Facts and numbers enter the stream of his thoughts and return in perfect order. Questions pour out of him and answers absorb back in. He is happy when he is learning, and he is perfect. One day the game of musical chairs will begin to change. One day when the world opens up to allow him the freedom to be himself, he will let go of those hopeless words and mine will sit in their place. He is good, he is smart, he is handsome and he is loved. ADHD is a diagnosis, not a curse. ADHD is a condition not a limitation. Encourage your children, help them to replace the negativity in their minds, with the love and affirmation they truly deserve. Be the voice that speaks louder than the doubt. Be the smile that covers them. The music is playing, change the game.
The Other “C” Word
The power of a word rests in the weight we give it. Some words are considered extremely powerful, some words offend, some inspire. Still others bend and contort to change according to their environment. Words like love and hate make declarations of passion, while words like life and death convey a coming certainty. Every word can be broken down into a simple combination of letters, strung together to create a sound. Then, one word, on any given day, can change everything. Cancer.
Did you feel that? Chances are, you felt the gravity of that word.
For years that word has echoed around you, playing its benign song in and around your world, always giving just enough space not to invade your comfort. Then one day it comes barreling out of a black tunnel aimed at you. With a savage howl it hits you, pierces through you, and leaves you crumbled in its wake.
His name was John. Cancer took him.
One day the word Cancer took center stage, with only a short performance in mind. Three weeks later the word funeral replaced it, the show was over. Cancer is a greedy word, and it wasn’t done yet.
John’s younger brother was Josh. Cancer took him too. This time Cancer stuck around for more performances, granted a few encores, and when it had the audience on their feet, the curtain came down hard.
When the fog lifted, two brothers were gone. Swallowed by the blackness of the word Cancer.
Then I saw it. Like the ripple left in the water after it has been touched. Like a scent in the air that lingers. Like warmth of a hug long after its embrace. LOVE.
Love is the greatest of words. Love covers, cleanses, heals, refreshes, inspires, and comforts. When the dark of the world succeeds in defeating the flesh, love comes to light the way out. Love endures beyond the grave, beyond the pain, beyond the loss. Love has this power even when we don’t realize it.
It may not be possible to remove the fear and suffering from words like Cancer, but we can choose to give more life to words that lift and strengthen us.
Consider the power of your words. How do you speak to the ones you love? What words in your life have you given power to destroy you or others? Could you take back that power and use it to encourage? Could you cover more darkness with the light of love? We shoulder the responsibility of our words. We are individually responsible for our usage of these simple words. Your words will define you and remain long after you are gone. Your words will be your legacy. Be wise in using them.