…Thank you. Thank you from the deepest pit of my heart.

I am sorry that I didn’t sound enthused when I answered the phone. I knew it was the school and was preparing myself for what you were going to say. I feared you were calling about his subpar PARC scores, his 2 weeks’ worth of unfinished classwork, or his handwriting that just isn’t improving.

You see, I worry all of the time about my son who has attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD). My son who barely scrapes by with OK grades even though he works hard. My son who can barely keep organized and needs a team of people trailing behind him with lunch, classwork, or a forgotten book bag. My son who leaves me up worrying sleepless nights about his future.

You called today in tears to say that my son helped a special needs student who has trouble speaking. You told me how my son had patience like nothing you have ever seen. You recognized my son. You saw him. Thank you.

You didn’t see the child other parents have made fun of for how he throws a ball. You didn’t see the child whose teammates put dirt in his water bottle at practice or knock his sheet music off the stand at band. You saw that it’s not about grades. You saw the kindness of his heart. The patience he has with others. The acceptance he has of all people. The son who looks forward to family time and makes homemade board games. The son who decorates his little brother’s room with whatever drawing is requested. The son who would willingly help anyone in the neighborhood. The son who would share everything and anything he has without hesitating. The son who welcomed the new kid at school from Nigeria — asked him to sit with him at lunch and then go sledding for the first time in his life. I could go on, but I won’t because it’s not about what he does. It’s about what is in his heart and it’s pure.

You said it made your day. You said my son’s actions make you believe in the future. I’m glad he did that for you. But please know it was huge for me.

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Your call gave me the hope I strive for every minute of every day — the hope that he will be OK. It reminded me that, though his ADHD may make things harder to learn, it is also a gift. It makes him see all people. It makes him compassionate. It makes him not judge anyone.

You actually said he was a “good kid” — words a parent of a child with ADHD value more than anything. Maybe it’s not perfect grades and sport teams we should be celebrating. Those are definite accomplishments, but maybe the world needs to dole out a little bit more praise for kids who see people for who they are, regardless of grades or special needs. I needed this today more than you will ever know. Thank you.

[Free Guide: How To Help Your Child’s Peers “Get” ADHD]

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