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Theft & Drugs (O.D.D.)

This article is part 5 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

When O.D.D. strikes a child it seems as though their entire lives are going down the drain. Outsiders nonchalantly look on the child & their family as they whisper how pitiful it is that such a seemingly wonderful or normal child has gone so wrong.  Some will make open comments in public places, some will talk behind the child and family’s backs and smile to their faces.

The truth is simply that people on the outside looking in don’t have any idea what life is really like living with a child or teen affected by Oppositional Defiance Disorder. Whether people intend to or not, they judge the parents and certainly the children for the behavior. If you are a parent, you can’t let this get you down. If you want to change the oppositional behavior, you can’t give up, give in or let go. I know the tears you’ve shed. I know the impending doom you think you see & the failure you feel hover over you. There is hope & it’s layered in Love 🙂

When we left off in the last article, I was sharing with you our progress up to week 5.  Let’s move ahead into weeks 6 & 7 after Knight moved in with us.

Near the end of week 5, leading into week 6, odd items began to disappear. My pocket knife I kept on my hip always was suddenly missing. It was a treasured memory item for me & I had worn for many years when I started hiking. I asked everyone to help me find it. Supposedly no one had seen it. Everyone searched for it. It wasn’t until I broke down in tears that it reappeared – in plain site on the coffee table everyone had walked by for days. Coincidence?

I smoke cigarettes. I know it’s bad for my health & one day I’ll stop. Anyway, my lighter disappeared the same day the pocket knife reappeared. I asked everyone to look for it & no one could find it. Things had never disappeared before Knight came to live with us. It was an odd coincidence… 😦

By week 7 my oldest son complained about his batteries disappearing from his gaming wireless controller. My youngest son was missing some clothes. My husband’s lighter was missing. Everyone was missing socks. $20 disappeared from the change compartment in my car. The steak knives started disappearing from the kitchen! Finally, I confronted Knight about all these random item disappearances. He denied having anything to do with them.
One day we were inside a local service station getting drinks & snacks. Knight asked me to buy an energy drink for him. I said, “no”. Not happy with my answer, he decided he’d just help himself to what he wanted. He looked around & slid the small product into his pocket. I walked over to him & asked him if he’d had the pleasure of meeting any local law enforcement officers. “No”, he huffed. “Well dear, I love you enough to let you meet those 4 fine officers over there.” I said pointing to a group of local & state officers. Knight’s face turned red, “You wouldn’t!” I smiled as big as I could & told him I was serious as a heart attack. Plus, they’d already seen him do it & were just waiting for me to walk away so they could arrest him. “This is a point in your life where you make a decision Knight. Go to jail over something as stupid & petty as theft or come home with me. If you choose jail or juvenile, I will NOT come get you out. Choice is yours. When I step away, your decision should already be made.” Knight quickly took the item from his pocket & placed it back on the shelf. On the way back home we talked about that ever-so important respect he wanted from others & that theft was the lowest form of deceit. I emphasized that I have nor ever will have respect for a thief. A few weeks later all the missing items began to slowly resurface. The odd disappearances weren’t discussed any further. Things also stopped disappearing…

Knight spoke often about drugs. Sometimes he said he missed them and sometimes he spoke regretfully about them. We had no available “drugs” in our home and no one around him that he could easily bum weed from. He’d told me stories of living around them, doing them, & selling them. There is no future in drugs. He is with me to build a future, therefore drugs are counter-productive. I told him where I stood on the issue of drugs – NO.  No drug talk. No Drug t-shirts. No weed jokes. No drug innuendos. No drugs period. I told that anything that can alter your mind causes you to be out of control and more than anything, he wanted to be in control.

By the end of week 7, our focuses were the same.

  • Maintaining open dialog
  • Pointing out annoying behaviors
  • Bringing lies to Knight’s attention (Taking Ownership of his Words & Actions)
  • Structure in his daily life
  • Consistency in discipline

Knight was almost ready to start working on his next step: Relearning how to communicate with people to earn respect.

Footprints in Life

Which way will we turn next in our Footprints in Life? What direction do we want to take? What’s around the corner? Should we worry about things that we have no control over? Should we spend precious time trying to figure life out? Why do we spin our heels worrying about how our kids will turn out? Why do we become consumed with ideas or thoughts?

In the long run, it doesn’t matter which way we are about to turn or what’s around the corner. Our Footprints in Life are measured not by our own eyes.
There is no need to worry over things which we have no control.
If we spend precious time trying to figure life out, we miss the here and now.
We can’t worry how our children will turn out. We must simply put our best effort in to leading by example, not just leading by words. Our examples will been seen in our Footprints in Life.
We must not allow ourselves to become obsessed by any one thought or idea. Lest we find ourselves stuck in an alternate reality, ever missing the present.

Be still. See with new eyes.
Quiet. Hear with new ears. Observe. Take in every moment that God the Father gives us and cherish the amazing favor he has granted us each day.

We have no promise of tomorrow.
We have no bargining power over life.
When a door closes, a window opens.
The cup is half full, not half empty.

We are resilient creatures, fully capable of healing, regenerating, and restoring  mentally and physically. 

We leave our personal footprints on thousands of hearts over a lifetime.  Our Footprints in Life can be harsh, rigid, rough, hurtful, disappointing, sorrowful, or degrading, …uplifting, happy, loving, compassionate, empathetic, determined, honest, integral, ethical, graceful, or empowering. 

Consider: The man that lives alone in the neighborhood. His yard is high & unkempt. Maybe his trash piles up before he hauls it off. The finer folks decided long ago he’s an eye sore and can’t wait until the day that the bank forecloses on his home. He goes to work at the same time on the same days each week. He parks his car/truck in the same place. He does not waive to passerbys & all the neighborhood youth have a naughty nickname for him to match the stories they’ve created to scare the younger kids. Why not smile, wave, and offer to help him? No one is exalted above him. 

Consider: The lady that changes your trash can at work – Do you smile and thank her for removing your waste?  Would you treat her differently if she was serving you a hamburger? Her job function is no more important than yours. She is a person and deserves the same friendly smile and gratitude for a job well done as we all do. You make Footprints in Life the same was she does each day.

Consider: What about that socially akward and silent family member or coworker that we all know? They are eager to fade into the background, stay to themselves, & never be noticed or make any ripples. Do they deserve any less attention than the loud, out going, extremist that we all know?

Everyone has a great deal to offer & has a role to play in life. Many of us play multiple roles at once. Some of us find a role we are comfortable with and remain within those confines. Regardless, we are all important and worthy of compassion, generosity, empathy, and kindness.

If one person falls out of your daily loop, your entire life will change. What if the man living alone moves out of the neighborhood? The entire neighborhood changes. Whether the opinion be that the change is for better or worse is irrelevant.  Change will occur nonetheless.

What if the lady changing your trash at work seeks employment elsewhere? The next person will make a different footprint in your life.

What happens when the socially awkward family member or coworker dies? Does everyone avoid/boycott the funeral and the grieving process because that person was socially awkward? Are their Footprints in Life wiped clean?

     Have you ever been in public and seen a poorly dressed or assumingly poor put together person? Do you stare in disapproval…or smile, knod your head and understand they may be in a bad place in life?

Every soul, every interaction we have with everyone embeds a footprint. Will your footprint be a positive one or one that breeds negativity?

In my life I’ve been very blessed. My Lord has allowed me to witness many things both good and bad. One day several years ago, I asked him to allow me to witness a few of my footprints. He granted me this prayer.

     Sixteen years ago, I had the privilege to work with physically & mentally delayed children in a preschool program at a public school. We worked with these children one on one. They were NOT just a job. Their development, livelyhood and social interactions were influenced by the work that we did. I prayed to see one of them again. The next day, I saw one of these children, a young man by then, at a local gas station the next day. He was socially functional! My heart filled with joy 🙂 I am not the only reason he became functional, but I heard my footprint as he paid for his gas, counting his money to pay the cashier.  🙂

     Nineteen years ago, I met a guy that was destined to become a best friend. We related to each other well and could talk about anything together. Many nights, we would lay outside, stare at the stars, and contemplate life. He was skeptical, I was hopeful. I spoke to him not too long ago and he told me he still stares at the stars and wonders about the possibilities out there 🙂

     Ten years ago, I met a young woman raising 2 very young boys.
She was single & happy with her life. They lived modestly and were a well defined family. Our children played together everyday when I got home from work. Things got bad for her when she followed a crowd that dabbled in drugs, taking the edge off of life. She quickly became addicted, forgot about her children, and lost her way. Her children knew I was just across the street if they needed me. Many nights they would wake up alone & run across the road to my house. I bandaged boo boos, packed lunches, provided clothing, food, transportation, and comfort until their mommy came home day after day. Five short years after I first met her, she called me to tell me she was straight, clean, sober and pregnant. She thanked me for never judging her or giving up on her. She died in a freak accident the next day…ran over while crossing the road on a foggy morning-by a street sweeping truck! At the funeral, the boys came & loved on me. I saw my footprint on them.   🙂

Not every footprint is a good one. In fact, we are usually well aware when we are making the bad footprints in life. But, if we strive to make at least one good footprint everyday, they sure add up overtime 🙂

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