"Arrrrgh! Me do it! Go away!"
Adam was determined to do it all by himself. His mother, Ruah, had tried to sit her tiny son on her lap to guide him through the process. Ruah thought that little Adam might have ODD and had him tested. After several visits, everyone discovered that Adam did no have ODD after all. He was just a stubborn child.
The incident at school that sent them to the doctor to get Adam tested for ODD was three years ago. The school regularly had problems with Adam. Ruah remembered how she cringed every time her cell phone would ring during work. It was either her mother in Omaha, or it was the school calling about Adam.
Ruah remembered that dreaded phone call like it was yesterday . . .
"Mrs. Ruah Devine?"
"Yes, can I help you?"
"This is Mrs. Granger at Crossway Academy. We have a problem with Adam and need you to come and get him."
She sighed, "What did he do this time?"
"Well, it was time to come in from the playground and he refused. We tried to coax him inside, but nothing work. When Miss Thompson held out her hand to him, he bit it and took a chunk of skin with it. Miss Thompson had to go to the hospital."
That was his last day. They asked her not to bring him back.
Here they were, three years later. The stubbornness had gotten better, but it was still a challenge.
Ruah watched Adam twist his shoestrings around his fingers, holding his tongue out of the corner of his mouth in concentration.
"Son, you are going to get it into a knot. Here, let me…"
"No!" shouted Adam, "Adam do it!" Adam ran across the room.
Pursing her lips in frustration, Ruah answered, "Fine. Do it yourself." With that, Ruah went down the hall to the kitchen to fix breakfast.
Right as she inserted the bread into the toaster, she heard a frustrated growl followed by a scream from down the hall. She wanted to run down the hall, but stopped herself. She was very familiar with this sound. She paused and listened. Then she heard Adam's familiar "Arrrrgh!"
Silence. . . Then the sound of sobs.
"Mommy! Me can't do it!" Adam sobbed.
With that, Ruah went back down the hall and walked into Adam's room.
"Do you need help Adam?" She replied.
"Yes," said Adam, as he held back his sobbing "please help me Mommy!"
Adam looked up and saw his mother standing in his doorway with her hands over her mouth. She just stood there a moment looking at him, trying not to laugh. Adam's fingers were tangled in his shoestrings. His hands were stuck. She gathered her composure, knelt down in front of him, and looked straight into his eyes. "Adam, look at me… if you want me to help, then you have to let me show you how to do it without interrupting me …you can't run away…you can't argue. Do you understand?"
Adam stopped sobbing, and looked back down at the tangled mess that had enslaved his hands. "Yes mommy."
With that, she picked Adam up, sat down in the chair by the bed, and sat him in her lap. After gracefully undoing the knot and freeing his fingers, she took his hands in hers and began to guidthem through the process of tying his shoes. Adam started to protest again.
"Adam, do you remember what I said?"
Adam sighed and quietly stopped his protest.
With his mother's hands to guide his hands, they made a beautifully tied knot on both of his shoes.
"Adam, we are going to need to do this several times until you are comfortable with doing this yourself? Do you understand?"
"Yes mommy. Can I go eat breakfast now?" asked Adam.
"Yes, Adam. Why don't we……"
. . . . . . .
"What are you thinking about?"
"Huh?" said Adam, as he snapped back into the present.
"Are you ready to go on?" asked Dr. Dodd. "It looks like your mind was a million miles away."
"Oh," said Adam "Actually, my mind was about 40 years away. I was thinking of my mother and when I was growing up."
"Well, it's time. Dr. Winklestein is about to give your introduction. Are you ready?" Asked Dr. Dodd.
"Yes," Adam replied.
Adam looked across over the wall to wall crowd as Dr. Winklestein began. . . "Today, it is my privilege to introduce Doctor Adam Land. . ."
Adam gathered himself as Dr Winklestein finished his introduction. He picked up his notes and Bible from the chair beside him, and walked with a smile to the podium.
"Control," he began as he looked at the overflow conference crowd, "It is an illusion. That is something I had to learn at a very early age. There is a reason why the Bible says to be still and know that he is God. The more we try to control things, the more frustrated and rebellious we became. I know because I was a very stubborn child. My stubborn tendency caused me to become angry, bitter and frustrated. When I became older, I finally learned what faith was all about. It is about letting go of control. It is about letting God guide your hands, your feet, your heart, and your mind. And so, let's open our Bibles…."