For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Richard and Jennifer love God, His people, and the Call to ministry. Richard has been in ministry for many years serving in Youth ministry in Virginia, Teen Challenge in Upstate NY, and he has been on the Evangelistic field full time since 1996. They have 3 Children, Olivia, Grant, and Brady, and a dog named Sidney. Richard and Jennifer believe in the local church and enjoy serving there. Jennifer teaches little ones on Sunday's and Wednesdays and is also involved in Missions. Richard and Jennifer lead and host a Life Group once a month in their home. Richard is also the Senior Royal Ranger Commander and was recently ask to come on staff at Crossway Church as there Pastoral Care Pastor.
Hello, my name is Richard Rochkind, and I have finally decided to put my story on paper. Your probably wondering why on Earth the title of this booklet is "Zeno." Well, not only is my story dedicated to all the children and adults that have lived with ADD and ADHD, but to those who have for years wondered what my middle name was, it's Zeno folks.
Dennis the Menace
For those of you who don't know me, I grew up in a suburban area in Baltimore, Maryland, the oldest of three children in a single parent home. I never knew my father, but my mom did a great job as both parents. She passed away on July 4, 1996 of Lupus, which is an incurable disease of the immune system.
At a very young age I was diagnosed with what is termed today as ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Back then those terms didn't exist. I was just a hyperactive child. In fact, the doctors diagnosed me as being hyperkenetic, or having an abnormal amount of energy, and on all accounts they were right.
I've often said you could loose weight by just watching me. Because of this boundless energy I was instructed to go to the school Growing up as a hyperactive child made life very interesting for my family. I did things that would make Dennis the Menace look like Gabriel, and no one knew why. For example, on one occasion I made an "innocent" attempt to climb into the polar bear cage at the zoo. I might have fulfilled my dream of having lunch with these furry animals had my trip not been cut short by the fear-filled screams of my mother begging me to come down. On two other occasions I was the cause of my brother's need for stitches. Once due to an outing digging for worms and the other throwing hand-made wooden spears. I'll leave it to your imagination, but I was always a good shot. Other daily events in my world included throwing rocks at cars passing by just to see what would happen and tossing balls around the house WITH the intent of breaking things. (Lamps being 5 points, pictures and glasses being 10)
Because of this boundless energy I was instructed to go to the schoolnurse everyday for afternoon rounds of medication, consisting of Mega Zinc, Vitamins B6 and 12, and Ritalin, the most noted of the three. At home, I was on special dosages of Mega Vitamins, and as you can probably guess, sweets of any kind were not an option. I was also instructed to keep a daily log of the foods I ate, which I might add was never really successful.
Quite a bit of my childhood was spent visiting behavioral counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and various doctors at various hospitals for numerous test and exams. I would often ask myself, "What's wrong with me?" It was extremely difficult for me, as well as most children with ADD and ADHD, to sit still and concentrate. In fact, it was nearly impossible to do so. I can still recall hearing as a young child those famous phrases ringing over and over like a broken record in my ear, "Slow Down, Stop, Come Here," and the ultimate, "That's it, the game is over, put an end to it before someone gets hurt." I can often remember my mother cryingwith frustration and guilt, at a lose as to how she could help me.
At the age of ten my situation became so desperate that every two weeks I would have to receive an injection of Vitamin B12, which would enable me to cooperate and focus, allowing me to function at a "normal" pace, sometimes...........
Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be the last tree on the lot on Christmas Eve? We all remember Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. But could you imagine being the last tree left? People passing you by because you were the wrong size, you had broken branches, a poor shape, or because your needles were falling off.
Growing up I had the most love anyone could receive from their family. But because of my ADHD I often felt like that Christmas tree, like I didn't quite measure up to other people and their expectations. As a young child I can clearly remember the piercing words the doctors and teachers used to say about me to my mother. That I was spoiled, undisciplined, disruptive, learning disabled, and that I had minimal brain dysfunctions. I was in special learning classes for reading and comprehension, and constantlyneeding one on one assistance. School was just one of those things that never came easy to me. I always had to work hard for my grades from the first day of kindergarten to my final day of College. I would dreadfully fear tests, exams and quizzes and pray that teachers would give written assignments or papers because I knew I stood a better chance at passing. I was one of those students that was always hoping for extra credit opportunities, even throughout my college years.
My self-esteem was SHOT!
As I was putting this material together I came across an old report card from fifth grade, 1975. As I examined the contents I noticed that there were a good bit of number 3's, which in my estimation was quite an accomplishment. (1 being good, 2 better, and 3 excellent) However, at a closer inspection I realized my grading scale wasn't exactly accurate, in fact it was dead wrong. ( 1 being outstanding, 2 being satisfactory, and 3, well you know.) On the back of my report card was written an all too familiar phrase by my special education teacher, Mrs. S. "Richard gets very excited in crowds and assembly programs, as well as during classroom activities. He has been studying hismultiplication facts, but finds concepts difficult to grasp." Between the labels I was given, the medications I took, and the hundreds of doctors that I visited, my self-esteem was shot!
In addition to my inward feelings of inadequacy, I also felt self- conscious about the way I sometimes looked. Because of the large amount of medications that I took at one time, my body began to have an allergic reaction to them and any type of pressure to the skin would cause it to peel and then scab. Now being a hyperactive child I enjoyed playing sports and goofing around. Thus, one can only imagine the amount of times I was getting hit or running into things. My face was a constant scab. At one point my mother was called into school for a parent-teacher conference due to the fact my teacher believed I was being abused because of the condition of my face.
A Ray of Light
Thank God for His glorious love and mercy. After years and years of living this way, the Lord graciously saved me at the age of 17, and took my excessive energy and began to direct it in His own perfect way. The Lord started to do and accomplish things in my life that I never thought possible.
Thank God for His glorious love and mercy.
By becoming a Christian the Lord allowed me to see myself for who I really was, a child of God. That I was chosen and set apart just for Him. WOW!
The Bible tells us that our frame was not hidden from God... That we were woven together in the depths of the Earth, where the eyes of the Lord saw our unformed body. That all the days ordained for us were written in His book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:15- There is good news friends! I found out through the reading of God's word that He doesn't look at us the way people do. He doesn't scrutinize out personality or criticize the way we look. God looks at our HEART, our inmost being and loves us unconditionally for who we are. In the Bible we read in 1 Samuel how the prophet was looking for an individual who demonstrated the qualifications necessary to be the next king of Israel. While in the house of Jesse, Samuel asked to have his seven oldest sons brought before him. After one glance over he knew that not one of them showed the sign of the chosen one. Samuel then asked Jesse if there were any more, with a hesitant reply Jesse stated that there was still one, the youngest, who had been out tending to the sheep. David, the next king of Israel, wasn't even being considered for the job, yet when Samuel saw him, he knew he was the one.
The Lord looks at the HEART!
You see God wasn't looking for the biggest or the strongest. In fact the Bible states that the Lord said to Samuel, " Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.' The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the HEART." (1 Samuel 16:7)
I began to realize that even though I may not have been the smartest kid in school, God loved me for who and what I was. His son.
You know friends healing may not take place in one day, but it does take place. God is constantly moving and doing new things in my life to make me more like Him and I believe it is so important for each one of us to know that we are so special in His sight.
THE DEVIL IS THE BIGGEST WANNA-BE OF ALL
Growing up I can often remember being called a wanna-be, and I'll admit, I was, we all are. We all want to be liked, loved, accepted, needed and wanted, and that's okay. However, what we need to remember is that the Devil is the biggest Wanna-be of all. He wanted to be God, but since that wasn't an option he had a fit and decided to oppose God by going downstairs and starting his own program. I know that in my own life I have experienced the Devil trying to make me feel like I am nothing and that no one loves me. But the Bible tells me in Colossians 1:6 that, "For by Him all things were created, things in heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible. Whether thrones or powers, or rulers or authorities. All things were created by Him and for Him." AMEN!
The Lord has continually revealed to me over the years how much he loves me, and He loves you too. In fact, the very theme of my ministry is Jesus loves and cares for you. Oh how he cares for us. I end this portion with one final verse from God's word found in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Some information for you...
As my wife and I have had the honor of traveling around the North East minister- ing in churches, we've noticed a tremendous response in services when I mention just a short version of my testimony and my struggles with ADHD. Although I pray that the information I have already provided you with will allow you to be encouraged and to grow Spiritually, I have also decided to leave you with some interesting material on the topics of ADD and ADHD, which may help you gain more insight into these two disorders. Many researchers and doctors state these disorders may be inherited or acquired...
ADD and ADHD, which are said to be found present more often in boys than girls (3:1), are estimated to affect 3 to 10 percent of the population. Individuals who suffer or may suffer from these disorders may have many, but not necessarily all, of the following symptoms:
=> The inability to pay attention or listen
=> Difficulty in finishing something that he/she started
=> May be easily distracted
=> Acts with a great deal of impulsivity or without thinking, later demonstrating regret
=> Requires a good deal of supervision
=> Can often be emotionally unstable displaying periods of angry outbursts
=> Can be very sensitive to criticism
=> May be a social loner
=> May have a difficult time sitting still
=> May often show an excessive amount of energy during sleep
=> Always appears "on the go"
These however, are just some of the characteristics or symptoms that may accompany an ADD or ADHD child. One question that people often ask me is how do I know when to look for symptoms that my child may be ADD or ADHD. Doctors say that individuals with these disorders usually begin to show signs by the time they start school. However, some very impulsive children are diagnosed as early as two or three years of age. Others seem to develop more severe symptoms around the fourth grade. In yet other cases there have also been children that have remained undiagnosed until their teens, and more recently studies show adults being diagnosed with ADD and ADHD. However, most doctors and researchers suggest that these individuals had the disorder as children, but may not have been properly diagnosed.
"What Causes ADD and ADHD?"
Another question often asked by many is, "What causes ADD and ADHD?" The symptoms of ADD and ADHD are caused by neurological dysfunctions within the brain. Several studies show that there is a definite difference in brain functioning between individuals diagnosed with ADD and ADHD and those who are not. However, the underlying physiological mechanisms which cause the disorders is still not thoroughly understood and remains under study. Many researchers and doctors state that ADD and ADHD may be inherited or acquired. In fact, recent research in genetics has shown that the disorders do run in families. ADD and ADHD may also be acquired through various conditions that cause damage to the brain, such as overexposure to radiation, complicated deliveries, fevers from seizures and so on. Many times I have been asked the question, did I outgrow my ADD? I believe I have, "for the most part." I often tell people it would be better to ask my wife. But in all honesty, I do feel that I have outgrown many of the difficulties I used to greatly struggle with in my childhood.
My one great word of advice for those of you who are reading this now, and know of someone who suffers with ADD or ADHD is love them. So many of these children, and even adults may be experiencing a great deal of frustration and lack of self-esteem. They are continually being mislabeled, as I was, as strong- willed, rebellious, and spoiled rotten, when many times this is not the case.
People often ask me how long will the disorder last? I cannot answer this question, but I do tell parents with ADD and ADHD children that with the proper treatment, lots of love, support, a consistent environment of acceptance, and most of all PRAYER, these children can lead very normal and successful lives. But you need not take my word for it, God's word would be better, and with His help we can overcome ANYTHING! The last thing to remember is that even though we may not understand ADD and ADHD children, GOD DOES! AMEN!