Bad Hair Day

Earthly Observations

Bad Hair Day

'A Tongue In Cheek Humor Column For Parents of ADD and/or LD Children'
By Roberta Mann, Pseudoanalyst Extraordinaire

Today's Topic: Faith and Guilt

       As I tend to write in the genre of humor columnist Erma Bombeck, and this being the day of her untimely passing, I dedicate today's column, in loving memory, to her. This is for all the times she's touched my heart, struck a human chord, and made me laugh. I hope I've done her justice.

       Faith is a funny thing. I know that I never really had that much faith, until I learned that I had a child with some disabilities. Funny how human nature works, but just when you would think a person would curse his Creator for such a punishment to himself or his child, that very person turns directly to God, as much as to ask the question, "Why?" as to ask for Divine Intervention and Guidance, knowing that it's not our fault, yet feeling guilty just the same. Our children with disabilities teach us that every day holds the promise of a miracle...funny beings, we humans are.

       On that very introspective and serious note, I would like to take this opportunity to share my almost 14 year old LD/ADD son's take on faith, guilt, and disabilities. I also must add that my son's LDs most specifically impact on his ability to understand and apply math concepts.

       Dan has a theory. God has been doing an enormous amount of work ever since the beginning of time. Everything has been up to God, every single responsibility, from the simplest speck of dust to the complexity of the human brain. One day God said, "Hey! I'm GOD!!!! It's up to ME whether or not I work this much!" God was tired of being saddled with so much, so He decided to create an assistant. His assistant's name is Johnny. Since God is the only entity that can be perfect, Johnny is not. And yet the Lord set out to train him, to help Him out with His job, anyway.

       Now Johnny is pretty darned good at helping God out. He really does his best. God gives him a list of what to do and then He goes and sits in His hot tub or just lays down on a cloud for a nap, whatever He pleases. He's God! He gives Johnny all of the responsibilities that are His, and trusts that all will go reasonably well. However, Johnny has just a small problem. He's not all that great with numbers and sequencing. Formulas elude him. God shows him again and again, but each time Johnny gets a little lost and doesn't quite completely grasp the concepts. Poor Johnny! As Johnny looks his list over, he sees that today is the day that he must help create a few human beings. He's doing pretty good, then he gets a little confused, and mixes up the number of chromosomes a child should have. Whoops! He tries again, and a DNA sequence isn't quite symmetrical. Ought oh! He tries once more, and by accident gets the formula for brain chemistry wrong...darn it! This last one he does a few times too often. God wakes up from his nap and asks Johnny how it's going. Johnny replies, "Swell! I did everything you told me too!" Johnny is proud, and God is well pleased that His protégée is coming along nicely. Johnny does not even realize that he has made any errors.

       Now nine months later, women all over the world, in proportionate amounts to any other day, go into labor. The babies that are born have all sorts of anomalies and disabilities, from mild ADD to severe chromosomal defects. "JOHNNY!!!" cries the Lord, "GET OVER HERE!" Johnny doesn't understand! Johnny really did his best! He tried and was so SURE that he understood that day how to do the work. But what is done, is done, and God sighs heavily. He will find some other way to make it up to these parents and their children. And if you know where to look, you will find that HE really has.

       The explanation of this story is obvious to me, but maybe not to you, so please allow me to indulge myself. First, many of Dan's LD and ADD friends have been born on the same day, same year as he has. WE think that's one heck of a coincidence! But I find the real purpose of this story to be somewhat therapeutic and a nice release from both real or spiritual guilt. You don't want to blame yourself for your child's problems! That's counterproductive and can only lead to misery. It helps no one. The fault more often than not lies elsewhere in the cosmos. If you blame God, this causes a religious conflict. It's not right to blame God! God is your closest ally in this maze of having and helping a child with special needs! He's your port in the storm, where you always know you can turn when all ears are turned away.

       No, you don't want to get angry at NEED Him! Yet at times you feel upset, angry, frustrated. You want DESPERATELY to be able to blame SOMEONE and get that anger out! Well, Dan's theory solves that problem completely! Go ahead! Blame JOHNNY! It's ALL Johnny's fault! Then you can get on with your life! Just remember, though, that this is between you and me...your psychotherapist need never know about this little secret, he would be just a little TOO interested if you brought this up there! You'd have to get him a new box of pencils for the next session! And you don't want your friends or religious leaders knowing about this, either...they would NEVER understand. Just lock yourself in the bathroom from time to time, whenever it's necessary, preferably when you have no company, and yell at the top of your lungs, "DARN IT, JOHNNY!" Trust me, you'll feel a LOT better!


Additional Works by Roberta Mann

Send Feedback to Roberta Mann
Send feedback to
Home Page
Home Page