February 17, 2002
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

At Hilcrest Church, Pastor Don is giving a class on leadership that I am enjoying. He uses a lot of quotes, such as this one from Chicken Soup from the Soul: "When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot! And swing!!!

A paragraph in the hand-out he gave today said:

There is a need for tenderness in this hard-hearted world of today. But a "toughness" of spirit is also needed if a leader is not to become "too touchy" or easily hurt. Every leader who leads gets criticized, misunderstood, opposed; even resented. Every leader also makes mistakes. A lesser leader gives up and walks away then, but a good leader "stays around" to learn better lessons, better methods, better ideas and better character.

Fan mail:

I have not spent a great deal of time reviewing your web sight, however I just came across a comment that really pissed me off and is just plain WRONG! I have been teaching for 13 years, hold a BS in Special Education with a minor in Psychology, a masters in Education with a focus on special ed and another masters in Education Administration as well as 5 certifications. I also happen to have a child with ADHD. I severely resent the comment in your Feb. 12th entry in which you quote the wonderful principal, Lisa, as stating that the majority of the children with ADHD are not medicated in her school and that the ones that are medicated are because their parents do not know how to deal with them at home. Shame on you for repeating that! The decision to medicate my son was made FOR HIM and him alone. I consider myself a specialist in the area of ADHD and have worked with these children for years. I tried everything, and I mean everything, to NOT put my son on psycho-stimulants but realized, with the help of many specialists, that it was the best thing to do for my son. It is used for educational purposes ONLY. I receive no "benefit" from the wonderfully effective use of Ritalin for my precious child, but boy, he sure does! By the time he is home, the medication has worn off and I (believe it or not) "deal" beautifully with his ADHD symptoms despite the difficulty. Not only was this principal extremely irresponsible for saying this, you were just as wrong for repeating it. I plan on letting her know too! My son and I are both vegetarians and into kayaking, hiking, roller blading, swimming and tennis. My son is also on a variety of teams including soccer, baseball, karate and basketball. We love nature and natural things but I realize that homeopathy and nature-apothy do not always hold the answers. It is important that you understand what you are writing about and the audience you are addressing. My friend emailed me your web address hoping that I could get you into my school district. Can you understand my hesitation??

-Christa B.

The boy is obviously not the only family member who is hyperactive. Maybe it is in the genes. I didn't quote the principal with regard to her remarks about ADHD and the use of drugs. I wrote what I extracted from our discussion, which was about Seawood school only, and a few children that might have ADHD. Like everything in this journal, it is biased toward my perspective, and I am certainly am not a leading expert in many areas that I comment on. As for the use of Ritalin and kids with tons of energy that don't want to sit still for hours on end... that topic is very controversial. It is not some whacked conspiracy theory I came up with myself. The Province of New Brunswick has the one of the highest rates of Ritalin use in Canada. It is not unthinkable that a parent who sends their kid to school with a can of cola and a fruit roll-up could get frustrated when the child simply doesn't want to do math or spelling, so they get a proscription from a doctor who is more than willing to write one, cuz he gets kick backs from the pharmaceutical company, maybe a golf trip, like the ones my uncle, Dr. John goes on? I am certain that many institutionalised children do benefit from Ritalin. Most kids, I believe, are better off free to do as they please... as wild and crazy as they can be.

I want my readers to correct me on mistakes or ask about possible misunderstands. That’s what this huge homework project is all about. We are all learning together, so please stay cool if I make myself a fool. I don’t spend vast amounts of my time building this web site just cuz I wanna look cool. I don’t need to prove anything. I get respect, more than I can even fully appreciate cuz it's so normal. The only people who are not friendly with me are those who see me as competition and feel threatened. Who does he think he is... "An Action-hero Teacher"... and he doesn't even have a university degree?!!!

As in any publication, it is up to the reader to decide what sounds right, and there is truth in every side of every issue. And it’s not like I’m writing to someone who might take it personally; this is my personal journal, and I am being extraordinarily open in sharing it.

In that same February 20th journal, I wrote that the YMCA song was by Men at Work, when it was in fact by The Village people. That was clearly an error, a black and white… cut and dry…. you know what I’m talking about… the five gay guys that dress up as a cop, an Indian, a city worker, etc… everyone knows they sing the YMCA song… but did anyone email with this correction??? NO!