The moment has arrived. The dreaded acronym has reared its head – ADHD or ADD, call it what you like. Attention deficit disorder + the hyper is what it boils down to. I feel full of dread. Full of remorse and full of how did I get it so wrong? All the wrong responses I know.

I am a statistic. I know that too. I know so many people with ADHD kids, on meds or not. All have battled, are battling. Why should I be any different? The stats for ADHD are big, the stats for kids on ritalin is huge. And I’ve nothing against the medication perse, except that it doesn’t feel right… Our kids are born perfect. So beautiful, sweet and innocent. As babies they hold all the light and love that we want for ourselves, and then they grow up and we medicate them so that they don’t disturb the class.

Of course it’s more than just disturbing the class. I had a meeting with my hubbie and the teachers and the principle at the school today. My Prince cannot keep still, is impulsive, shouts out and big hideous shiver (and laugh) burps out loud. (I hate when he does that. I couldn’t help but giggle) but he’s bright and clever and sweet and he needs to be helped so that his self esteem doesn’t plummet further.

I’m afraid to say I left the meeting in tears. And it wasn’t because the teachers were horrid. They weren’t, they were lovely. It just felt like a dead end situation. Because the system is rigged. School is structured, it’s an overwhelming schedule and if you can’t deal with it as a child you need to either go to a remedial school or go on medication. I’ve done the remedial school route and it is a brilliant route if that’s what your child needs. My Prince No. 2 is thriving in remedial but that’s another blog.

If I was sent as a student to school today I don’t think I would cope. Sitting at a desk, not being able to choose what I learn, having no creative outlet for my own personal, individual curiosity – I wouldn’t fare well. And the truth is I didn’t fare very well at school. I never felt understood. I never felt stimulated. I felt like we were treated like idiots.

Funnily enough I did well for Matric/HSC in grade 11 and 12. When I was responsible for my own studies I flew beyond my and everyone elses expectations. And University was a pleasant breeze.

So what am I doing to my kids? It’s sad to think of kids surviving school instead of enjoying school. Surviving childhood instead of exploring and finding themselves. Being defined by marks, instead of what they can create. Who they are.

They need responsibilities, a sense of purpose, a sense of importance. We all need that.

I know I’m meant to be doing this for them at home. And I’m certainly trying. But trying is not enough. It’s so hard being a mum and a person. I have so many of my own issues. I’m meant to help my kids have a foundation of confidence, self importance and responsibility when I’m struggling with my own. No one told me I should sort myself out before I had kids.

Instead I was brainwashed to believe that was my sole purpose and value (that is so another blog). I now know that it’s not a good idea to bring up a generation of girls to have kids in their early twenties before they’ve cemented their sense of self.

So I’ve spent my twenties having kids and it looks like my thirties will be spent running from doctor to therapist, doing damage control for my twenties. And probably by my forties I’ll be pulling out my hair because they’re teenagers. There must be a better solution.

On the upside. I still believe I’ve grown tremendously through my kids. I know that this has been a face smack face to deal with reality. Last night I listened to a talk by Rabbi Goldfein about blessing the good and the bad. Bless the bad, the unpleasant, the things that make us cry. Because how many times does something bad turn out to be for the best.

So I’m going to bless this situation. Bless the teachers who have to deal with so many kids who can’t focus through the school day. Bless my little Prince who needs to learn to focus or be in a system that supports high, high energy. (There is an ADHD school in Jerusalem apparently.) Bless all the mothers out there, all the tears that have been shed as they’ve had to face the acronym I had to face today ADHD.

I’d like to just add that the meeting came as no surprise. We’ve had an inkling since grade 0 that this was not the run of the mill child. We damage controlled through play therapy and reward systems for as long as we could…

I have had an idea which has been playing at the back of my mind and I’m going to share it here just for the fun of it. Just for the smiles, just for the journey into the imagination where things can be different, especially if we had the guts to do what we’d really love to do.

So what I’d love to do is get together with a bunch of creative, intelligent parents and put together a homeschooling program. Wait let’s not even call it school. Let’s call it something like a Place for Passionate Curiosity. (I heard a talk about how Einstein – who didn’t do well at school – said that what he had that made him different to everyone else was ‘passionate curiosity’. That’s what I want for my kids!) We decide which subjects we’ll cover and we divide the week between us. So instead of going from hour to hour with a different subject you might have English all monday morning, where you play with letters, write in the sand, just have fun with English (in a structured way of course) and then for lunch the kids make their own lunches in the kitchen (imagine no packing lunch for school anymore). The next day is science – they learn about some cool concept and go and do it. Like the science experiments I’m doing with the Princes. And you can include English there as they read the instructions. There would only be a few kids, maybe six or eight maximum and they’d have an individual relationship with whoever the teacher was. (Apparently that’s one of the most important ways kids learn through personal relationship.) They could do reading with an old age home. I read that there was this school experiment done where the kids went to the old age home and they read to the old people. The literacy went up and so did the mortality rate at the home. Isn’t that beautiful. Just some ideas. If I really put pen to paper. I’m sure I could come up with a tremendous system where the kids won’t want to stop learning and neither will the teachers.

Our human structures like school (which is based on the industrial revolution – cookie cutting individuals – see Sir Ken Robinson) don’t necessarily work. So why can’t we change it? I’m too lazy for one. No that’s not true. It’s intimidating facing the establishment and saying, ‘It’s not working let’s try something new.’

Well at least I have ideas. If I were to create my rotational school with other parents I could teach English and Art. It would be fun. It’s an idea. The best innovations begin with ideas. And all ideas are in response to problems. We’ve got the problem that’s for sure. (Case in point I moaned in OT (I do tend to externalise my dramas don’t I!) to two other moms about ADHD – and the one said her three year old has to be assessed for concentration. The other mom said her six year old daughter is on antidepressants and has the same story!?!?!?!?)

So now what are we going to do about it? I say let’s think out of the box so we can help our children and mothers (yes don’t forget all those mothers tears and sleepless nights).

And the last thing (I promise this is the LAST thing) in the movie Defiance (a must see) the Jewish partisans before the war were rejected by normative Jewish society as being too wild. It always stuck with me, what would have happened if they hadn’t been wild, if they didn’t know how to survive the forest and use a gun? Who would have saved all the Jews that they ended up saving. The scholars, lawyers and accountants were worse than useless for survival. We need all types for all different situations. That’s life.