ADHD: Plaguing the twenty first century

Teague had this on facebook, and he had commented on it that it would be better if it had a cool background, so I took it of facebook and had some fun. Here are the before and after:

This is what I wrote about ADHD about a month ago…

ADHD: Plaguing the

twenty first century

A new disease has swept the school system claiming countless victims in the last twenty years. The disease is known as ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and it is wreaking havoc amo

ngst the current generation of teenagers and children. “Overactivity, restlessness, distractibility, and short attention span, especially in young children” characterize the disorder. So why, after thousands of years of evolution, are the children and youth of today being plagued by this disease?

For the past two decades educators, philosophers, neurologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and allergists have struggled to shed light upon the cause of ADHD. Each of these professionals has indeed been able to find solid results, however in entirely different areas. As Eugene Schwartz states in his book Millenial Child: “…many clinicians have come to recognize that a combination of treatments, tailored to the individual child and regularly reviewed, adjusted, and corrected, will yield the best results.”

There are many factors that can contribute to ADHD. These include exposure to modern plastics, chemicals and artificial food additives, lack of discipline in the home, emotional instability and a lack of solid role models in ones life, and of course a combination of these things.

However, one of the largest causes of ADHD has been the increasing insistence that children become ‘little adults’ far before they are ready. Parents and educators are demanding that children begin to read and write at younger and younger ages, alas they do not realize the incredible damage that this can create.

During the childhood phase children develop certain qualities and skills that they are unable to develop as and adult. These qualities that children develop during childhood can be compared to the arms and legs that they grow in the womb. If we were to remove a child from the mother’s womb before it were ready, the child would be crippled for life, and more than likely would not survive. In the same way, if we remove children from their childhood before they are ready, they will have to deal with certain undeveloped capacities for the rest of their lives. One of the disorders that often result from removing children from their rightful childhood is ADHD, a very serious disorder that is tearing apart families and schools alike.

Humans go through three main stages of development from infancy to age 21. Each of these stages generally lasts for seven years. The first stage in infancy is that of willing, the children have not yet developed feeling or thinking powers, but they are able to unconsciously will themselves to do things. This state can be compared to that of sleep, as they are still unconscious of their actions. The second stage is that of feeling from age 7 to 14 where children begin to develop their feelings for the world around them. At this age it is like they are in a dream; they can will and feel, but have not yet developed their thinking powers. The third and final stage begins when the teen is around 14 and experiencing puberty. The teen begins to develop his thinking powers, and finally begins to become awake and conscious of his will and feelings. They are now shifting from childhood to adulthood.

It is of the utmost importance that the child is allowed to develop properly and fully at each of these stages. If we are to begin teaching children to use their thinking powers before they have developed their feeling powers, it as though we are pulling the child out of the womb after only 4 months of pregnancy, and the child is doomed to suffer through life with undeveloped feeling powers, and this often leads to disorders such as ADHD.

The best protection against disorders such as ADHD is allowing children to be children, allowing them to live in a world of dreams and fantasy, of stories and myths. In this way children learn to be creative and imaginative, qualities that are becoming extinct in today’s children and young adults. There are many who will argue that knowledge without imagination is useless, for the knowledgeable person will be unable to put their knowledge to use aiding the evolution of mankind without the creativity to do so.

Most of the jobs that will employ the children we are educating today have not yet been created, so all we can do is give them the powers and imagination to be individual thinkers, who are ready to tackle a new generation of evolution that we cannot directly prepare them for.

One simple thing to consider when thinking about the way to properly allow your child to experience each stage of development before the next is the way in which we answer their questions. The nature of children’s questions at a young age are more of a symbolic nature than literal as they are beginning to feel subtle changes as their physical and spiritual bodies realign; they are asking for reassurance. The following scenario is adapted from Eugene Schwartz’s Millenial Child:

(A mother and her child sit in their backyard on a spring evening as the sun sets.)

Child: Mommy, why does the sun turn red when it sets?

Mother: Well, dear, that’s because we’re seeing it through more layers of atmosphere than earlier in the day. Particles of dust and molecules of water float in the air, and they alter the range of the spectrum that is visible to us. You remember what a molecule is, don’t you, sweetheart?

A parent familiar with the concepts we have earlier discussed would take the opportunity to reassure her child of her parent’s love in the same symbolic language in which the question was asked:

Child: Mommy, why does the sun turn red when it sets?

Mother: All day long, Mother Sky watches with joy as her child, the Sun, runs over the world, shedding light and giving warmth, and playing hide-and-seek with is friends, the clouds. When the day ends, Mother Sky calls the sun home. “Bed-time!” she exclaims, and she dresses him in his warm red flannel pajamas. The Sun Child lays his head on the earth like a pillow, and Mother Sky slowly folds up her bright blue dress and now puts on her dark nightgown, spangled with stars. And do you know what? I think that it is time for you to get into your red flannel pajamas.

This is the kind of response that we could find in virtually any ancient or indigenous folktale, and also mirrors the way that a 9 year old relates to the world. At this age a child wishes to see the universe in ways that are familiar and comforting.

Somewhere within the twenty-first century this kind of response has been lost and transformed into literal and scientific responses that draw on the thinking power of the child before they are ready, and before they have finished developing their feeling powers. This is precisely what leads to disorders like ADHD.

At this point in their development it is much more important for children to develop a sense of wonder, awe, and respect for the world around them. Adults who have developed this sense of awe and wonder in their childhood are much more likely to become global citizens who strive for the betterment of the world. Why? Because they have a sense of awe and respect for the world around them, and they understand their relationship to it – something that cannot be explained through literal and scientific terms.

Early diagnosis of ADHD in children is discouraged as it has been found that children often act like their diagnosis, which simply makes their condition worse. The best treatment is a combination of good nutrition, strict discipline in the home, and allowing your child to be a child in a world of dreams.  After all, they are children!

Based primarily on Eugene Schwartz’s book Millenial Child.