Book Review: Go ‘behind the looking-glass’ to see life from the perspective of someone with ADHD
By Susan Johnson
Millions of adults in America are unaware they have ADHD. Typical traits are restlessness, easily distracted, impulsiveness, mismanaging of time and finances, underachievement, poor organization skills, all of which result in frustration and lack of self-esteem.
Ron Weckerly grew up in Freeport, Ill., with undiagnosed ADHD. Teachers labeled him lazy, unmotivated, hyperactive and retarded. He was 50 years old before he had an “Aha!” experience, finally learning the real cause of his problems.
Weckerly’s unusual book, Poems, Pathways and Peace: A Baby Boomer’s Journey with ADHD (ISBN: 978-1-59800-544-8), will take you “behind the looking-glass” to see life from the perspective of one who has been there. See the human mind as it struggles to find its way around the obstacles and tries to meet the demands of a social structure that classifies children and puts them in designated boxes. But what happens to someone who thinks outside the box?
Poems, Pathways and Peace tackles reality head on, yet it is also a story of hope. Beginning with a childhood that was sometimes idyllic, at other times frustrating, the author recounts his efforts to find his true purpose in life and shares with us other people’s reactions (both positive and negative). He also describes what it was like growing up in the ’50s and ’60s.
Though he faced some challenges that most of us never have to deal with, in some ways this baby boomer was like all of us. Interspersed with the narrative are poems that anyone who grew up in that era can relate to. These poems are simple, straightforward expressions of the heart that will kindle fond memories for many readers. Remember the “Dick and Jane” books in first grade? Like other kids, young Ron played marbles and baseball with his friends, enjoyed being outdoors on summer nights, and went to Cubs games with his family. He recalls the pains and pleasures of teen-age love, how his faith in Christ helped him avoid despair in difficult times and how he aspired to make something of himself to make his parents proud.
In spite of some problems he couldn’t help (and a few unwise decisions such as alcohol abuse), he eventually graduated from Illinois State University at Normal and became a teacher. He earned an undergraduate degree in sociology-anthropology and psychology. Later, he received a master of science degree in education. He is certified in Learning Behavior Specialist I, Learning Disabilities, Social and Emotional Disorders, and Self-Contained General Education (K-9). During his 31 years of teaching, he taught fourth, fifth and sixth grades in elementary school as well as behavioral-disordered and learning-disabled students. His last 10 years in the profession, he taught middle school U.S. History.
Weckerly shares with us his and his wife’s appreciation for nature—sunlight and moonlight, flowers, trees, the freedom of the outdoors. One particularly poignant poem recalls a trip to a strawberry field with his mother, who was dying of cancer, yet treasured the opportunity to enjoy one last outing with her son.
Now retired from teaching, Weckerly looks back on all the trouble he had from ADHD and still calls it “a gift”—noting that each of us has weaknesses to overcome. He was fondly known as “Mr. W.” to his students, who nominated him six times to Who’s Who Among American Teachers. His book has been highly praised by professionals such as Dr. Edward Hallowell, M.D., and Dr. Dan Williams, who have experience treating the problems of behavioral disorders.
This book is available for $13.95 from Outskirts Press at http://www.outskirts.press.com/poemspathwaysandpeace.
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