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Zebra Stripes for ADHD

A monthly newsletter of stories tips and news for those concerned with ADHD, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, No. 20

Sarah Jane Keyser : ADHD Coach

A Christmas Gratitude List

Miss Zebrette called the class of young zebras to order. 

"Joey, sit down now please. Christmas is coming and I know it's
difficult for you all to sit still. So today we're going to do
something special for Christmas. Your task for today is to make a
Gratitude list."

There was a collective "Huh?" as they all looked wonderingly at each

"What's a Gratitude list, Miss Zebrette?" asked Koko.

"I've already written my Christmas list for Santa", said Sammy.

"I haven't written my Christmas list because Santa doesn't come to my
house, " said Buddy a scrawny, ill kept zebra from the far end of town.

"A Christmas list is an I-want-list. A Gratitude List is an
I'm-glad-to-be-alive-because.. list", said Miss Zebrette.

"I'd be grateful to have some stripes so I don't have to watch so hard
for lions," said Joey whose pure white hide shown like a beacon in the

"Joey, that sounds to me like 'I want stripes.' Could you turn that
around and say 'I'm grateful for my good lion detecting skills, because
I can help protect people I love'?"

Joey thought a bit  "Well, yeah, I could say that."

"Miss Zebrette, I'd be grateful  if my Mom would stop harassing me
about doing homework", said Koko.

"Do I hear, Koko, that you resent having your Mom tell you to do your
homework? What do you say to her?"

"Get off my back. Leave me alone," replied Koko.

"Imagine, Koko, that you are grateful for a Mom who tells you to do
your homework because you know she loves you and cares for your well
being. What would you say to her now when she tells you to do your

"Maybe I'd say 'Mom, I love you. I'll  do it right now'.", replied

The others laughed at the idea of Koko saying such a thing to his Mom.
Miss Zebrette smiled. Perhaps, just perhaps, he would say it.

"Miss Zebrette, I think I see what you mean. Instead of being mad and
sad that Santa doesn't come to	my house. I can be grateful because I
have Mom who loves me and does what she can, and some good friends too.
 It certainly feels better that way." said Buddy.

"Thank you Buddy. And I feel very lucky to have all of you  in my
class. I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and Holiday."  


Gratitude vs. Entitlement

Gratitude and entitlement are moods that give background color and texture to your life.

The mood of entitlement is seen in the phrases: 'I want..', 'I expect..', 'you should..', 'that's mine', or 'I have the right..' . In contrast, phrases like 'life is good', 'I'm happy to see you', or 'I'm singing in the rain', come from a mood of gratitude.

Moods are the breeding grounds for actions. Different moods different actions. Here's an example.

It's Christmas shopping time; you have lots of things to do and not much time. You need to park the car. You see a spot, but someone else gets there first. If you are in a mood of entitlement, you'll get mad. You'll think even shout out 'That's my spot, I don't have time to look for another. I saw it first'. People have been known to pull out a gun and shoot the villain or ram his car. Even if you don't resort to such tactics you will be wound up, tense, nervous and ready to spit at anyone who crosses you.

Now imagine the scene from a mood of gratitude. From this place you can say 'Oh dear, too bad, I'll find another spot, somebody around the corner will be leaving' or 'Yes, I don't have much time but still I can get things done. It's Christmas I can be cheerful all the same'. Now you can continue your way calm, relaxed and clear headed.

Living in gratitude means observing the world from a different place, seeing life as a gift to be shared.

I first learned to look at gratitude and entitlement in this way from a coaching program from Newfield Network. We were asked to list things we were grateful for. I couldn't think of much which was weird because I really have a pretty good life.

Why don't I feel grateful? What kept popping up were thoughts like 'Life would be wonderful if only he would...', 'I wish I could...', or 'if it weren't for them...', all entitlements.

When I started looking for things to be grateful for, I found them. And then I found more. When I let go of the resentment which comes with the shoulds and the if-only's, I am grateful. And it feels good.

Try it for your holidays.

  1. Make friends with that cousin who drives you nutty.
  2. Listen from the heart to your old Auntie.
  3. Give Mom hand, and think of all her advice as love letters.

Happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and all.

For more about me, Sarah Jane Keyser, About Sarah Jane

Do you need a safe place to talk?   email me today for a free coaching session.

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