Kids have always misbehaved. They always will. It’s like a sport for adults to try to figure that out. As hard as it is to imagine, even I sometimes misbehaved in my wayward youth. A generation ago they labeled this depravity. In a more enlightened age and we began to call it juvenile delinquency. That had social overtones.
After a while they gave this a clinical sounding name that made it sound like a medical condition. They started calling it hyperactivity. About that time they even started treating it with medication. Since then it has become a growth industry.
Recently the name for misbehavior was changed to attention deficit. I like that, although, I’ve never been real excited about calling a need for attention a disorder. That makes it seem like you have a bad twitch or something. But attention deficit, that has a nice ring to it. When I was little they used to say, “Kenny needs attention…”
Well, that was then and this is now and guess what? The other night I was longing to spend some time with my wife just being with her talking or sitting quietly in the same room. Sometimes I just want her all to myself and I want her complete and undivided attention. It occurred to me that Kenny is all grown up now and Kenny still needs attention. I don’t need medication. I don’t need therapy. I don’t need ink blots. I don’t need behavioral modification. But when I’m around Lois and the children sometimes I still like attention and I’m not ashamed of it.
I may have stumbled across one of the great secrets of the universe here… little boys need a lot of attention. Big boys still need a lot of attention. And though it is an untested hypothesis, I am toying with the theory that girls need attention too. I may be on to something here. I think there is something powerful about having someone’s undivided attention.
If you have a child that is misbehaving try giving him a little attention. If your husband is a little annoying pay attention to him. See what happens. Let me know if it works.
Riverfront Character Inn
September 20, 2004