Friday, September 19, 2008


A couple of months ago, I went to a bridal shower for my friend Lois. At the shower, the hostess played a game with Lois to see how much she knew about her fiancé, Chris. She'd prepared a list of questions, called Chris over, and videotaped his answers. Then she played the video at the shower and paused before each of Chris' responses giving Lois a chance to answer.

Probably 20 challenging questions were asked (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Bible verse, favorite worship song, etc.), and I am not exaggerating when I tell you she got maybe one question wrong. It was unbelievable. I left there feeling like I needed to go home and have a conversation with James considering how I knew very few of the things Lois knew by heart. Since then, I've tried to be more observant of James, but I can't say that I've really learned anything new.

Until this week. This week, I learned that James knows how to play chess. I learned of his game-playing abilties when called me while I sat stuck in afternoon traffic with loud, grumpy kids in the car. I was driving dragging them to a chess club the library 21 miles away. I've known James for ten years, I've been married to him for eight years, and he waits until the most inopportune, most inconvenient, and most stressful afternoon time to share with me this tidbit of information? Sheesh.

Instead of turning back towards home and hoping James might share his newly revealed skills, we pressed on towards the library. Bub and I have been wanting to play chess together for a long time. I've thumbed through chess how-to books at both the bookstore and library, but I can't understand how to play the game by looking at a picture in a book. I purchased a Chess Teacher game and planned to use it until some of the pieces magically disappeared.

The chess club is meant for all ages and skill levels, and we were hoping someone there could teach us a thing or two. We were fortunate to be the only new players, so the young man who heads up the club spent an hour teaching us all the basics. I was so surprised by how easy the game was to understand (it always seemed so foreign!) and how much Bub already knew about chess. The young instructor was very good with the kids and made the lesson fun. As soon as he finished with basic instructions, he left us on our own for a game. Again, Bub surprised me with his skills, but even more, I was surprised by how he could look ahead, predict several steps, and make an appropriate choice.

One of the major characteristic's of Bub's ADHD is his lack of impulsivity control, which translates to an inability to see the consequence from the decision. I can't tell you how many bumps, bruises, braces, stitches, and staples could testify to that fact. As we played chess together, I wondered if playing a game that causes one to consider the consequence of a decision could help with the same considerations in real life. I wonder if strengthening those skills through play would cause the brain to function more effectively when the selection is sincere. Thoughts? Experiences?


  • Randi

    There are so many benefits to chess, and the "consequence" idea is neat ... it makes sense. Elijah went to a charter school for kindergarten and they started every day with chess ... I think 30 minutes of it. It helps with math skills among other things.

  • Cy

    My son (now 16) was ADHD and now more ADD, which is somewhat common with age progression. It's a trying road still for him except when it comes to piano playing, art, chess, drama, etc. He now excels in all these with the greatest of ease. I am still unable to understand the ADHD and ADD mind but respect it greatly and when the "hyper focus" ability kicks in, truly amazing accomplishments emerge. I Don't know why I am adding all this blather. You're a good mom tuning in and more great things await you and yours.

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