It’s called continuous partial attention…

I read this Atlantic article about the dangers of screen time on kids. Yeah, blah, blah. But, no! This article turns things around.

The bigger, broader, scarier issue (bigger than the direct effects of kids’ screen addictions) is the impact of parents’ screen addictions. Yeah, we’ve all been projecting. We always do when we experience shame, which reminds me of another killer article I read recently by a psychiatrist who pulls apart what is going on with men and their shame post-#metoo). 

The bit that grabbed my attention was this notion of “continuous partial attention”, a term coined two decades ago, but brought into the present to explain the state parents (all of us) are in – when we’re interacting with kids (and each other).

It’s chronic. We know this. It pains us. We know it’s wrong. But we’ve got ourselves so bloody stuck. You know what I’m talking about, yes?

[clickToTweet tweet=”We’re waking each day with the fundamental, awful awareness we’re not attending to the real thing.” quote=”We are waking each day with the fundamental and awful awareness we are not attending to the real thing. “]

We are not paying attention to What Matters. 

It’s on our to-do list. To get through everything (including preening our Instagram DMs) so we can get to…what was it again

Yeah, what is it? It’s our core. Our soul, our home base. It’s our primary tool for growing – interrelating. It’s the dialogue between me and you – that vibrant, electric space between us… this is what we’ve dropped. And so we miss out on growing.

The impact on kids, according to the article, is that this chronic one-foot-in approach is interrupting “an ancient emotional cueing system [in kids], whose hallmark is responsive communication, the basis of most human learning. We’re in uncharted territory.”

We are interrupting and missing the same thing in adulthood. And this is a travesty. It’s really bothering me and I want to change. What do you reckon it takes? I’m betting continuous, committed, fired-up full attention.

Are we willing? Shall we explore it more here?

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