An unexpected gift arrived today

As parents many of us are always looking for evidence in our children that our efforts to teach them what it means to be a good person are not in vain. When you parent an ADHD child, that validation can seem all the more elusive. That’s what makes what happened today so special.
Yesterday was rough for Joe. A couple of things went wrong at school, and when he got in the car at pick up he was fighting tears. He didn’t want to talk but eventually told me he’d gotten a “yellow slip,” a warning with a consequence, for talking—his first such infraction. As I often hear, he provided abundant reasons why it wasn’t fair—that someone else should have gotten the warning too, technically he wasn’t really breaking the rule.  (He was actually whispering and how can a whisper disrupt the class?)
We talked it through and eventually he accepted that he didn’t have to like the situation, but he did have to accept it and deal with it.
As his consequence he had to have “silent break” today, meaning that instead of joining his classmates in the lunch room for morning snack time, he had to stay in the classroom and have the break alone. When I picked him up today, I asked how it had gone.
“It was fine. I could have gotten out of it, but I didn’t.”
“What do you mean?”
He explained that the teacher who had given him the yellow slip had a substitute today who apparently wasn’t aware of Joe’s consequence. When she dismissed students for break, Joe stayed behind. She told him to join the others. He explained that he had been given a consequence and needed to have his snack alone in the classroom, and that’s what he did.
I was stunned. Joe’s a good kid, but he’s 11. I hate to admit it, but I might have expected him to take advantage of the opportunity. That he didn’t, that he did the honorable thing and didn’t take the easy way out blows me away.
I told him I was proud of him, and tried not to gush. It doesn’t matter what’s under the tree this Christmas, it won’t beat the gift he gave me today.  

Tammy Murphy

Tammy Murphy is a journalist on hiatus. She’s the mother of two—a 14-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son whose ADHD and related symptoms were evident practically from the womb. Tammy is a native of Maryland and a recent Georgia transplant. She started blogging about her up-and-down experiences with Joe—and life in general—as much-needed therapy.

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About the author

Tammy Murphy is a journalist on hiatus. She’s the mother of two—a 14-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son whose ADHD and related symptoms were evident practically from the womb. Tammy is a native of Maryland and a recent Georgia transplant. She started blogging about her up-and-down experiences with Joe—and life in general—as much-needed therapy.

4 Comments

  1. dmd says:

    What a wonderful story! You *need* those moments!

    We had one on Sunday. I had told Dylan he couldn't help decorate the tree on Sunday until he finished his homework (an exam study guide). Sunday morning when I got up he was up and was doing his study guide on his own! I couldn't believe it! That kind of self-direction never happens! But he wanted to be able to decorate the tree. When I tried to praise him he told me to be quiet so he could concentrate. 😉

    Congratulations – you are doing a good job!

    dee

    Reply
  2. Huge moment! I don't think Javi (10 on the 23rd) would be that honest. He'd go to break with his classmates and then tell on himself later.

    Reply
  3. Tammy says:

    Dee, that's a wonderful moment. See, we fear the worst but each of us knows the good person that our child is. When we believe in them and are there for them, sending our positive feedback and energy to them while they navigate the barrage of negative input they encounter each day, we get these wonderful little surprises that let us know they ARE moving forward and progressing.
    And Kelly, that's what I thought Joe might do but he surprised me. You never know….

    Reply

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