I recently had the privilege of attending a program conducted by “Thread of Hope Records” based in Benton Harbor, Michigan led by Founder, Bonita Michell. This program was realized as a partnership with Covert Public Schools in Covert, MI where my wife, Dr. Bobbi Morehead, is the Superintendent. The Assembly, using all CPS students was entitled, “Celebrate Life and Pursue your Dreams.“ For several months staff and instructors of “Thread of Hope Records” worked with students as part of an additional program called “I’m Saving Myself.”
The objective is to teach students that no matter what life has led them to, they have the ability to overcome their current situation and still have a bright future. During this culmination ceremony, student after student came on stage and sang songs, performed drama’s and gave dramatic spoken words. Each performance was an expression of hope that these broken students shared in front of their peers, family and community.
As I watched these performances I was moved that anyone can Celebrate Life. You don’t have to have a story worthy of a tv interview to need an intervention. All of us has SOMETHING that we are going though, and if not handled correctly, will set us back in pursuit of our dreams.
I began to think of my own life. I must admit, I have NEVER been a “Straight A” student! Never. When I was a young boy I was diagnosed with “BB Disorder” – Bad Behavior. During my schooling ADHD was not very mainstream so they just felt I was a “bad kid.” However, as an adult I was tested and diagnosed with adult ADHD. So, at the age of 28 I was given a new “label” to my life. I’m not sure if you have any experience carrying a label around, but it is quite the extensive workout! So I thought I would try to understand what my new label meant. Here are the top challenges I discovered for ADHD:
- DIFFICULTY PAYING ATTENTION. I can pay attention . . . for about five minutes.
- FREQUENT MISPLACING AND LOSING ITEMS. Just two weeks ago, I locked my keys in the house and then had to walk to the coffee shop and wait until someone could bring me another key.
- DIFFICULTY COMPLETING TASKS. I have NO issues STARTING projects, lots of projects! It’s finishing a task that I struggle with.
- FREQUENT FORGETFULNESS OF TASKS AND INSTRUCTIONS. This week I actually set an alarm . . . to set an alarm to pick something up for my wife. This of course was after I already forgot to pick it up in the first place!
However, I decided I did not like the label of ADHD. I am not going to live by a label. So, I changed the label. I no longer live with ADHD, I live in HD – HIGH DEFINITION – I am going to live my life and CELEBRATE my life on my OWN TERMS.
On further study of ADHD, I learned that there are also a lot of STREGNTHS associated with ADHD, so I choose to embrace the STREGNTHS of ADHD instead of being held captive by the challenges of ADHD. In the article, “17 Things to Love About ADHD!” I found several qualities that really applied to who I am:
- PERSISTENCE – Research shows that people with ADHD excel at pushing past setbacks, adapting new strategies, and moving forward. I have found this true in my own life.
- CONTAGIOUS MOTIVATION – High energy is contagious. I have been able to use my boundless energy to speak to children, teens and adults at camps, workshops, and services all over the country.
- SUPERSTAR CREATIVITY – I have been accused a time or two of being creative. This creativity allows me to help others achieve their best.
This article concludes with, “Celebrate Your ADHD Every Day! Write, draw, paint, film, act, invent, create, and dream. You set your sights on something and do it. No disability can stop you from pursuing what you want.”
My challenge to you is to keep living your life regardless of your obstacles. I don’t like receiving “D’s” in my life. However, We all have a “D” attached to us at some point. Mine is ADHD, but no matter what your “D” is you have the ability to celebrate life. If you have:
- OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) – You can use your sense of perfection to create the best art this world has ever known and CELEBRATE LIFE!
- LD (Learning Disabilities) – Use your “differences” to find new and creative ways to learn and CELEBRATE LIFE!
- DEATH –I survived 4 deaths in my family – Brother, Grandmother, Aunt, Mother – in a four year span of time. Even through this tremendous disappointment, you can take time to grieve, catch your breath and then CELEBRATE LIFE!
- DIVORCE – Many people are not fortunate enough to have their parents stay together. Divorce brings a lot of stress to a family. However, I know many people who have survived this difficult time in their life and they still CELEBRATE LIFE!
So here are some “D’s” to help you CELEBRATE LIFE:
- DECIDE – Make a decision that you are going to be great no matter what happens in your life!
- DISCOVER – In the midst of all your mess discover the strengths that only you can give to the world.
- DESIGN – Create a plan to use your strengths to better yourself and those around you.
- DELIVER – The best way to make a difference in this life is simply to show up. If you show up every day, and face every challenge head on, people will have no choice but to give you an opportunity.
The Apostle Paul, who had an egregious past spoke confidently, “I CAN do ALL THINGS through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13).” I believe the same is true for you! YOU CAN DO THIS! So, regardless of your disability, disappointment or dilemma, go get a cherry popsicle, play to your strengths and celebrate life!