this piece is from my original Journal Space blog back in the day.
"Well, how do you suppose this self preoccupied state of being came about? And how do we tactfully bring it to others attention? My answer is that we can lead by our actions. The United Way and another group have been broadcasting public service announcements recently on adults teaching children things like counting, how things work while driving in their cars for instance and then someone will cut them off and out comes some yelling. The message is that children are always learning and adults are always tea ˇching whether we are aware of it or not. People have learned behaviors and it is our responsibility to continue to learn or fall into regression."
It reminded me of something I see regularly that disturbs me. I drive by a preschool quite regularly. It is on a busy street near where I live and in the middle of the block between to traffic light controlled intersections with crosswalks. When adults are dropping off children I observe them regularly crossing directly opposite the preschool, from between cars, holding the hand of the child, sometimes darting across oncoming traffic.
What are they thinking? It takes to much time to walk down the street 100 feet to the controlled intersection, press the button, wait the 60 seconds at the most for the signal to change, cross the street, walk an additional 100 feet to the preschool and all the while this would implant a strong message to the child, a learned behavior to cross safely. Of course, that is not all of it, the adult would then have to walk back to the signal, wait another 60 seconds, cross the street and walk another hundred feet to their car. I suppose that less than 5 minutes they save is a considerable time saver for them.
On the other hand, let's cross without the advantage of the crosswalk. Most of the people driving down the street are in a hurry, because they are going to work or they have many important things to do that day and they could be trying to save time by talking on their cell phone or making an arrangement for something else, some impo rtant activity that needs to be planned with the time they are saving, the wasted time of driving.
Teleportation would be to good for us, think of all the time we could save between destinations or the time lost for planning important activities.
So, what happens with all these people saving time?
What happens is that the law of averages will catch up to someone sooner or later and a tragic, avoidable accident will happen. Someone will accidentally hit one of these, time saving adults, who is quite possibly holding the hand of a loved child and no one will save time. Everyone will lose some time and something else.
Someone will call paramedics, the fire dept., the police. All activity in the vicinity will come to a standstill, and even then it will seem like time is lost -or some how bent badly out of shape, except for those directly involved. Adults will be asking how could this have happened, several people will lay blame on the driver who after all was saving time while driving. Maybe someone will get it and discover that all of us need to stop blaming and take responsibility?
It is my intention to bring this issue to the attention of the preschool so that they can bring it to the attention of the adults that the little time they are saving could be costing someone's life in the future.
Don’t picture me a saint. It took me quite a long process to figure out what I could do to influence these other people without alienating them. At first when I observed it happening, I thought what is wrong with these people? They are putting their children at risk, for what, 2 m òinutes, 5 minutes? What Idiots! That was my thinking. How many times did I have to think What Idiots before changing my own behavior? I don’t know, but I stop at a store 1 block from this preschool often and make a point now of going to the signal and crossing. I’ve gone as far as timing the distance to the signal, to the store and back to my vehicle and therefore know the length of time is insignificant. There is no excuse for not changing our behavior when our behavior puts others or ourselves in jeopardy.
If I blurted out to them while holding the hand of an impressionable child “What is wrong with you, putting your child at risk crossing the street unprotected?” That would be exactly what they are saying in the United Way Public Service Announcement. That our children are learning from us all the time and not only would they learn to cross the street unprotected, but they would learn from me to to a Élienate others by being loud and abrasive.
That is behavior that I used for many years to do exactly that, keep people away from me. I have been consciously making small changes in my thought processes for 20 years now.
You may think, only 20 years? Where have you been? I’ve been to hell, lived there for while and I don’t want to go back. This is why it has taken me so long to get where I am mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
My downward spiral took years and once I was started I had tunnel vision, no one could grasp how bent on self destruction I was, not even myself, I was the worst. The lies I told, well I was the biggest believer. Most people could see through my lies rather quickly, but nothing could be proved since I refused to admit anything. The lies I told myself started out innocently enough and they compounded so often and so long that I created my own reality which had little to do with my surroundings.
I’m not going any deeper with this now. I’ve been and I’m where am now. I am not saying I’m back, because I’m not sure I was ever here in the first place.
So, I cross at crosswalks when available. I stop for pedestrians at crosswalks, and slow down for ones who are crossing streets regardless so that I have better chance of stopping if for some reason they don’t see me coming, maybe they are looking at the speeding car and not seeing me. I actually had windows open the other day driving slowly up the main thorough fare of the neighboring city and some people were about 40 feet from the crosswalk, traffic was dense and slow and as I passed them I called out, not exactly a shout, quieter than that, “why don’t you use the crosswalk?” and as I looked in my mirror, they stepped back onto the sidewalk and headed that 20 feet to cross. I know that is not the way to effect change, but and it did work momentarily.
This is about myself, my challenge with the way I think that has been labeled as ADD/ADHD. I have known there is a name for the way I think for about 5 years. I discovered it in October 2000 while visiting my sister in Florida. I wonder how much longer it would have taken had I not gone there and picked up that book that I saw on her coffee table? How much longer would I have cart wheeled through life, continually in a state of spin, confusion and chaos and not even aware that there were others like me, because I was unaware. Discovery, awareness, acceptance, don’t know the exact order that these things have been taking a hold of me, that I have learned and held onto the words and the meanings, but this is where I am with it now. I consider myself in a constant flux, with one foot in my old world and the other in my new world of self discovery. I have worked through much, worked through old wounds created by my old behavior of keeping other away from me. I figured out long ago that I wasn’t tough, so my defense became insanity. Convince those around me that I was crazy and that worked. Those who thought they could take advantage of me soon realized that I was crazy and should be left alone. If they attempted to interact, they soon found out that I was dangerous and maybe they were mistaken. Of course, to not lose face, they had to reinforce my behavior and shout loudly that I was crazy, or something similar.
The thing that happens because of my thinking patterns is not only is it a deficit, but there are several elements that are not mentioned in my challenged thinking patterns. Not only am I challenged by my lack of focus, but I am challenged by my intense focusing and my inability to organize my thoughts and prioritize. I am slowing learning to identify my behaviors and am slowly retraining my brain.
I can see now, right here that it is time to stop. My focus is turning to someplace else, inward and I don’t want to continue to whip that dead horse. :-)