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Moses and the First ADHD Coach?

posted May 30, 2011, 8:59 PM by Susan Nguyen   [ updated Jun 15, 2011, 7:59 PM ]

ScienceDaily published an article on June 10, 2008 entitled “Is ADHD an Advantage for Nomadic Tribesmen?” In a study, led by an anthropology graduate student from Northwestern University, Dan Eisenberg analyzed the correlation between wellness (as exhibited by desireable BMI and height) and the presence of a certain dopamine receptor DRD4/7R gene. This gene has been linked to greater cravings for food and drugs, novelty-seeking, and ADHD symptoms. Apparently, in the nomadic society, where defending livestock against raiders or locating food and water sources are things that are highly rewarded, individuals who had this gene were generally in better health and held in higher regard than those without it. The opposite was true, however, for those same types who lived in a more settled, farming environment.

This whole nomadic thing started me thinking about famous nomadic people, and first to  pop into mind was Moses. You know, it seems quite possible that he had ADHD :-).He was impulsive and got into big trouble for it. When he saw an Egyptian kill a fellow Hebrew, he took care of it by killing the Egyptian. Pharaoh got wind of it and tried to kill Moses. He fled to Midian where he charmed some young ladies by rescuing them from shepherds who were preventing them from getting water from the well. This won over their dad who then gave one of his daughters to him to marry. He went to work for his father in law, got distracted from his shepherding job, and went to check out a bush that looked like it was burning up. The rest, of course, is history. There was risk taking involved: parting the waters of the Red Sea and inviting his followers to share in the risk as they gingerly followed him across. Problems with no food and water were solved ingeniously with Manna from heaven, a tap on a rock resulted in outpouring of water, and quails were flown in on special order for satisfying the people’s craving for meat.

Moses never took credit for these miracles, but he was willing to risk his reputation in following divine orders. There was also disorganization. Moses was so good at giving advice and settling problems, that he had a huge backlog of folks coming to him for help. It was out of control. Moses’ father in law came to the rescue, though, and helped him get organized by suggesting Moses appoint a hierarchy of judges under him to tend to common affairs, leaving the trickier jobs for Moses to deal with. (That may have been the first use of an ADHD Life Coach.) The tragic thing is that, after 40 years of shepherding the Hebrews through the desert, Moses himself was not permitted to enter the Promised Land, as a result of an indiscretion involving not sticking up for God at one point along the line. Moses was only able to climb a mountain and see the Promised Land from a distance. Nobody ever saw him again. He wouldn’t have been of any use in Canaan, anyway. That whole thing was mostly about settling, and that requires a different kind of brain.

 The End ;-)

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