Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Digitally Divided Attention

I've been seeing the articles lately.  Folks commenting on how today's children (or most of them in this country, anyway), will never know their parents' undivided attention.  That they will always be fighting a cell phone or some other device for eye contact, praise, or just a simple moment of togetherness.  And gosh, it's so true!  I'm filled with gratitude that my children were born before these silly devices became so prevalent. 

But, I must say, it does not just go one way.  Now-a-days I'm hard-pressed to get undivided attention from my children.  They, like most adults, seem to always have their noses in their phones or computers.  Yet somehow we've managed to make it work for us.  In an odd way it's actually enhanced our communication.  I remember that I, as a fourteen or seventeen year old, rarely dialoged with my parents.  Conversations revolved around chores and homework, and...yes...their disappointment in me and my appearance (you know, shaved head, tattoo, piercings).  And my head was buried in a book, hanging listlessly whilst I spent time in my bedroom listening to moody broody music, or I was AWOL.

My dialogues with my kiddos?  Well, yes, they're often digital, but they're also plentiful and, get this, reciprocal!  There are countless "I love you"s in our texts, a lot of honesty about feelings, timely information about where they are, and seriously lovely moments of just checking in with each other because we popped into each other's minds (by the way, hungry = mom, so I pop into their heads A LOT!). 

So, my plan is this.  If I'm on my phone or using my computer, I want to take time to really gaze into my family's eyes when they're seeking me out.  I want them to know that they, not my gadget, are my priority.  Their plan?  Well, I dunno.  Perhaps I can lead by example.  Perhaps I can specifically request a moment of their undivided time.  And hopefully, hopefully, they'll continue to lavish me with hugs when I text them that I'd really like one.

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