So what does A.D.D./A.D.H.D have in common with the Readers Choice Book Competition?
Me. Bob Ossler.
That’s right. Me.
Ages ago, I was one of those kids that teachers argued over: “Don’t put that kid in my class.” My reputation was well established in the early grades: poor achiever, poor reader, poor articulation, poor behavior, poor peer relationships. I was inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive, and these qualities got me into lots of trouble.
I was the dummy in school and managed to find myself the brunt of teasing. My size (tall and skinny), red moppy curly hair, and legions of freckles added to my troubles. Other kids delighted in calling me names: Beanpole. Reds. Freckles. Dummy. Stoo-pid. Retard. I didn’t always take kindly to these names as you might expect.
Mothers told their children, my classmates, “Don’t bring that kid here ever again” after I left messes of games and puzzle pieces scattered around their family rooms. I couldn’t help it if I was curious about all those games but didn’t have the attention span to finish one game. I was an explorer and wanted to check out everything.
Even my mother despaired at times. I was the kid who slid to home plate in my new Sunday church confirmation pants, who managed to get in trouble before school on the playground on the very first day of kindergarten, and who made teachers cringe in anticipation of the difficult year ahead with me in their class. The principal established a hot line to my house to report on daily infractions.
All of this was well before A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder) or A.D.H.D. (Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder as it is now known) came to the forefront in educational circles.
Despite my difficulties throughout my school years, I did scrape through high school. I did fly through the U.S. Air Force. I did become a certified paramedic, a certified Chicago firefighter, and a certified air-sea rescue diver. And I did get advanced education in pathology, and then advanced degrees in theology. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. I used my A.D.D. strengths (oral communication skills, public speaking, memory, creativity, and compassion for those who suffer) to accomplish all this, despite my A.D.D. weaknesses (distractibility and impulsivity).
After years in emergency services with the Chicago Fire Department, I became a pastor and a chaplain and ministered to the hearts and spirits people wounded by life’s tragedies.
Long story, short, I volunteered as a chaplain at Ground Zero in New York City after the September 11th terrorist attacks, then carried deep, dark memories in my head and heart long afterwards. Fifteen years after 9/11, I decided to clear my head of those horrendous mental images of sights, sounds, smells, and even tastes at Ground Zero, and I wrote a book with the encouragement and help of my writer friend, Janice Hall Heck.
Triumph Over Terror, already an award-winning book, is now in third place in the Readers Choice Competition. Imagine that. That little dumb second grader is an author whose book is now in the Readers Choice Competition. Not only that, our book is now in 3rd place, coming up fast on second place with only five days in the competition.
You can help me snag that 2nd place by voting here:
Readers Choice Category 6/16 Triumph Over Terror.
Please help me prove that a person with ADD/ADHD can be a success in life and can even write an award-winning book!
Category 6/16 Memoir
Triumph Over Terror
by Bob Ossler and Janice Hall Heck
Thank you so much.
And next year around this time, look for our new book, Make Your A.D.D./A.D.H.D Work for You. (working title)