It takes a lot to offend me. I tolerate a lot of things and realize they are insensitive or wrong and just go on about my daily business. This is something I will not let pass by.
A meme has been floating around the internet this month, the source being a Facebook page entitled “Adult Humor.” (I can’t be for sure that this page created the meme, but the fact that it has been shared is terrible enough.) I hate the fact that I had to screenshot the meme and attach it to this posting. If you cannot see the image, here is the problem. In front of a white background sits a brown belt, rolled up with the buckle laying to the right. The text on the image, above and below, reads “When I was young, I had ADHD, too… but I suddenly healed when I saw my Dad taking off his belt.”
Read this again. Think about this. Let it sink in.
You may think it’s funny. You might think about having acted up as a child and a parent or guardian taking corrective action into his or her own hands. To each his own in parenting, but that’s not what I’m here to argue for or against.
The problem is anyone who totally agrees with or shares this to agree with it might not understand how terrible the message is, how offensive it is.
I still hurt as I read it.
ADHD is real. It’s not fake and it’s not something to make fun of. Yes, there are people who claim to suffer from this and do not, and yes, sometimes it is diagnosed when it is not necessarily present. I am not diagnosed, but at times I believe this condition may have affected me. This is not what upsets me.
Most of you know that I was a teacher for a couple of years. In my time in the classroom, I worked with middle and high school students. Some of my students were diagnosed and suffered terribly because of ADHD. They worked so very hard to be mindful, to be present, to be still. Sometimes they were, sometimes they were not. I saw pain in students’ eyes, and I read journal entries from freewritng days in my class where students expressed how hard they tried. I worked with students via email at home through extended deadlines, I came in early and stayed late, and I talked to parents, special education teachers, the school counselor, and others countless times to make accommodations that would help each of these students. Some students saw progress, some did not. Medications were adjusted, changed, or stopped. I can not and will not go into further details because of confidentiality.
I will finish on this point: words matter. They can help. They can hurt. They are powerful. They are always powerful. Parents and students might see the message this kind of meme spreads, and it can really hurt.
If you think this meme or this topic is funny or something you can joke about, I hope you see this and you realize that this is not something to make fun of. I have been out of the classroom for nine months now. It still hurts.
Think. Let’s change the intent of this meme and spread a better message.