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Does ADHD Build Character?

Late again!
Late again!

You know, having an ADHD friend may be a mistake. We can’t be counted on to be on time. Ha, sometimes we can’t be counted on to show up at all. We’ll forget your birthday. We’ll forget dinner dates. We’ll forget to gas up your car when we borrow it.

Hell, we might forget we borrowed your car in the first place.

A cousin of mine married a man who may or may not be one of us, but I’m giving him an honorary diagnosis (I can do that right? It’s part of my membership kit, a certificate that allows me to initiate others into our family???). They were leaving their home on the east coast to come to the center of the continent for a visit.

Flying to catch a flight

They were running late and made it to the airport with only minutes to spare. While my cousin shuffled tickets, her husband rushed their luggage to the baggage check-in counter. “Are we too late? No? Thank heaven!” they collapsed for a few moments in seats in a waiting area before being ushered to their plane. They settled in for an uneventful flight as they congratulated themselves on making it to the plane with moments to spare.

The flight was several hours long. They relaxed. As they circled Toronto airport in preparation for landing my cousin’s husband looked out the window at the layout of the terminal. It looked different from their home airport. For one thing, back home they were able to drive right up to the front door of the airport.

Suddenly our hero realized that the front door of the airport back home was exactly where he left his car, still running, waiting for him to return to it, to put it in the parking lot. Once on the ground they made a hasty call back home to the authorities who went out and checked. “Yes sir, your car is still there. Yes, it’s still running, would you like us to park it and shut it off? Very good sir.”

Alright, quiet down …

Okay, we’ve had a good laugh (I’m still laughing and it’s been 20 years since this happened). But I don’t feel bad about laughing, I’ve done stuff that was just as foolish. No, I’m not going to tell you what those things were, but my cousin’s husband has a few stories about me he’d like to share. Ask him.

The cost …

The point is, that we’ve all made some pretty hard to believe blunders and we’ve paid in either embarrassment or detriment. The latter can come in the form of lost opportunity or lost assets, even lost friends and lovers.

Worth the  purchase …

We’ve all paid any number of prices for our muck-ups, and we’re not done I’m sure. But if adversity builds character, and we’re told that it does, then we must have that to spare.

Those who haven’t paid the price

I’ve noticed that the people I was jealous of as a youngster, those who were given every break, ever chance, and every advantage without earning it, now seem to lack that quality we call character. I’m not saying you either have ADHD or you lack character. I am saying, however, that the ADHDers I’ve met in my life seem to be people with character.

They might not be people you can rely on to remember your birthday or your meeting or your dinner date. But these ADHD friends of mine are among the people I want to have in my corner when the chips are down, when the stuff hits the fan, when it all goes south, blows up in your face, goes pear shaped.

Enough clichés? Maybe not

Maybe you don’t have to be a character to have character, but I’ll give you odds that if you are a character, you probably have it. And maybe that’s the way I like my peeps. Many of them may be a little off center, but they’re still right on the mark.

Does ADHD Build Character?

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live on the traditional lands of the Chippewas of Nawash in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or 7 generations and my First Nations friend's families go back hundreds of generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I am a freelance writer and I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about living with ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2012). Does ADHD Build Character?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 3, 2020, from


Last updated: 4 Apr 2012
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