No one these days ever seems to work very hard at paying attention. The desire for attention is so strong among all the noise that today”s modern world can produce. After all we live in an ADD kind of world. It seems like everybody’s got Attention Deficit Disorder because the media, the daily grind and the high-speed technology have left us perpetually distracted. That leaves us with little time to pay genuine attention to the people and the world around us.
When you walk into a room full of people, at work or at home, how many of them are busy focused on their electronic device, phoning or texting? Seems like most of our eyes are always focused on down, engrossed in a video, the Internet or Facebook, and then on top of that we plug in our earphones and keep from hearing the people around us.
How often are you in a public place like a restaurant or at a party and you (or your friends) are more focused on “friends” on Facebook or Twitter than the live action right in front of us?
We have to look to ourselves to find the lost art of “paying attention”. I have posted before, our capacity to listen is precious. To understand what someone is saying is very precious, and even more than that is the ability to understand its meaning.
We are so ready to respond to what someone is saying, that we are missing what it is they mean. That is if we have listened at all. If we are not distracted by the next text pinging our phones, or the next Twitter that is going to say some profound thing in 145 characters or less. When the person right in front of us is likely saying something more important. Responding can be something more significant if we can just listen and understand the meaning.
So advice to my kids- put it down. Look into someones eyes, be sure you are listening, Comprehend the meaning. Take it in, digest it. No need to respond right away, but be thoughtful and make sure you are paying attention. It is really the “instant message” you need to hear.