All this pesky concern about Baxter’s lack of attention at school has, naturally, heightened my awareness of the way all of us pay attention. I find myself frequently irritable about the lack of attention span in our society to begin with: the mom on her cell phone while “playing” with kids at the playground, the dad with eyes glued to his Blackberry at the school function, the family with a TV and/or stereo blaring in the background of every other interaction. You know what I mean, and the list goes on and on.
We, of course, are not immune to this. I try to be conscious of it, but I check email on my laptop sometimes in the midst of making dinner for no particular reason, and all too often I recall something very important in the middle of a game with the kids and jump up to take care of it while I’m thinking of it. It’s like we’re an entire society with an attention deficit disorder. No wonder we’re scattered, over-tired, and not satisfied with our interpersonal lives. I know I’m not the first to point this out, but it’s something I think about a lot.
I’m trying to make more of an effort in this domain. When Baxter was painstakingly writing out all of the sentences for his “Me Poster” yesterday, and I had nothing to do but sit there in silence, I sat there in silence. It was difficult not to hop up and get a drink, sort the mail, fill out the school forms, or empty the dishwasher. Not to check email on my iPhone, which was just over there at the other end of the table. Not to engage him in conversation. Just to sit there and wait for him to be finished so that I could help him move on.
How do we expect our kids to sustain attention to a half hour lesson in school when we can’t even sit and wait for them to write for five minutes without multitasking at home? What are we modeling for them?
I’m relieved to share the good news of the day – Baxter received a written comment in his homework book from his teacher today: “Awesome worker today!”
If he can improve, so can I.