Do you listen to talk radio? And by that, I mean news talk, political talk, issues-based talk.....not fluffy stuff. I do, mainly because I'm a musician by vocation and avocation, which means I do NOT want to listen to music on "my time" while I'm driving my hour-long commute each morning and afternoon. So, I usually do a local talk show in the mornings, and Sirius talk in the afternoons (3 pm, my main man Ed Schultz, but I digress........)
This morning, I got really pissed off at something I heard. Really. REALLY. And the more times I think about it, the madder I get. My problem is this: In order to be successful (read: controversial), these talk show hosts have to be very opinionated. There's no gray area, no seeing of both sides, no concessions made that maybe another opinion might have some merit. You're with them, or you're against them. Or they spout out statements that they expect you to accept as indisputable fact, no exceptions allowed. But the real fact is that life is about exceptions, and until you've walked a mile in someone's shoes, you shouldn't claim to know what they know or feel the way they feel. The further in life I go, the more I understand that. And that's why I'd be a terrible talk show host.
The issue this morning was medicating of children, specifically for ADHD. See, now, why it hit home for me? Apparently, a series of studies has been released saying that the ADHD meds can cause hallucinations and/or other symptoms of "psychosis" (the talk show's word, not mine). So, the host just goes off on this topic, bitching about the overmedication of kids these days, laziness of parents who don't want to discipline, etc. The host was a teacher himself for a few years, and his wife is a teacher too......so obviously that gives him ALL of the child development and educational knowledge that he could possibly need, right?
(excuse me while I wipe the dripping sarcasm off of my keyboard)
Ok, I'm back. He did toss people like me a very tiny, mangled up bone, when he said something like "well, I know there are some kids who need those medications" but then he was right back into the generalizations and the judgments. He even tried to "help" people understand what goes on in schools today, by this example: he said "today, at every school in this area, at around 10 or 11 am, there's going to be a loudspeaker announcement saying 'the following students report to the office.' " And the point being that they will be marching up to the office like good little lemmings to take their psychotropic drugs that aren't even needed.
So let me counter with this: I"ve taught for 14 years, in both middle school and high school, public and private. And I have NEVER heard an announcement like this made, ever. That is not how it happens, so quit sensationalizing it when you don't know WTF you're talking about.
Second, this host also claims to know all there is to know about preemies and the NICU, since his son was a few weeks early and I think he stayed in NICU about 10 days after birth. Pardon me if I say "SO????" Try 10 weeks, how about 11 weeks! My son weighed the same as 700 paper clips at birth, and is incredibly lucky to even be alive today. And after the heart defect, the brain hemorrhage, the ventilator, and all the rest.......the ONLY long term health effect of Energizer's prematurity has been the ADHD. It's not a label, it's a fact. It's not an excuse, it's not a crutch, it is real. You, Mr. "Morning Buzz", do not live with him, do not deal with the aggression and the impulses he can't control, and the horror of being forced out of the only school and only friends he's ever known. Until you do, I'll thank you to shut your mouth about things which you do not understand.
Since I actually CAN see both sides of issues, and can look at varying perspectives, I can agree that there most certainly are some kids out there who are given meds but don't really need them. Some people may be too quick to prescribe, resorting to this as a quick fix. But I'm so tired of the "back in my day, we didn't have those kind of meds, our parents just told us to sit down and shut up, and we did it". Yeah, right. And my sons would both be dead right now if we lived back in your day, so get your head out of the sand and move into the 21st century, please.
And then secretly, quietly, I admit to myself that I still have the lingering guilt over the fact that we're giving him the meds. I don't like it. I know he needs it, I"ve seen it work, but I don't like it.....because society tells me that I'm lazy, I'm a bad parent, I need to learn how to discipline, I need to spank him, I need to straighten him out. So when Energizer said "can I listen to Kids' Stuff radio?", I responded "with pleasure" and used the power of my finger to change that radio channel. Too bad it's not that easy to turn off the nagging guilt.