“Are you listening to me?” I asked my husband when he began looking at his bookshelf while I was trying to tell him something I thought was important.
“Sorry, honey,” he replied and sat down giving me eye contact. He’s learned after 47 years of marriage! But I too have learned, and I too am still learning. It’s so easy to be rude in today’s world of distractions.
We are distracted by children, by televisions in restaurants, by marketing ploys down every aisle, by head phones and especially by devices. My friend Laura, a youth worker said recently, “Have you noticed that it’s all i-phone, i-pad, i-touch, i-watch. I see my 10th grade girls thinking through i-world eyes without even realizing it. It’s part of our culture which lifts up the individual and caters to self-centeredness.”
But it’s not just our teens that have fallen prey to this inability to focus on the other person-it’s you and it’s me. Recently, I was at an intimate dinner party and another adult pulled out an i-phone and began texting right in the middle of the meal. I too have fallen into this trap. I answered my phone the other day in the middle of a meal in a very noisy restaurant with a friend and small children. I didn’t think it would matter, but it did and my friend remarked that we need to set the example for our children by not ever answering or texting during meals. They want to raise kids who focus on others rather than on themselves and so do I. My friend was right.
The truth is that we’re talking about 2 crucial character traits: respect and thoughtfulness.
We show another person we respect them when we focus on them. And we are thoughtful when we put away all electronic gadgets and focus on those around us.