A couple of weeks ago I watched as a woman walked out of the Sonic parking lot and directly into the path of my truck. She was talking on her cell phone and had her back to me. I guess she finally realized where she was, because she glanced up, made a face, and continued across the road. I got the feeling that I had somehow inconvenienced her! Thank goodness I drive slowly and carefully in town. Thank goodness I was focused on the task of driving, and not talking or texting on my own phone!
Many people I know like to brag about “multi-tasking” and are proud of all the things they seem to accomplish at one time. They talk on their phones while shopping and driving and cooking and any other thing that can be done with one hand. Last week at the hospital the woman in the next bathroom stall made a phone call! No, she didn’t answer a call that inconveniently rang while she was in there. She dialed a number and called someone. And you do NOT want to know the purpose of the call- it was all I could do to refrain from bursting out in derisive laughter!
Some of my students seem to function in a disconnected state of indecision and confusion. They listen to stories, but can’t retell them. They listen to instructions but can’t follow them. They see the task at hand but don’t complete it. I’ve garnered some reasons for this, just from casual conversations during circle time: “We don’t ever have quiet time.” “My mom always does that.” “I have a television in my room.” “My dad was talking on the phone and we didn’t stop.” “It’s a game and you shoot things.” “We don’t have time to read.” “My mom never reads anything.” I’ve also made a few observations: Parents arrive to pick up their children, but don’t acknowledge them because they are talking on the phone. Parents arrive to pick up their children and I can hear their car radio before they open the door. Parents bring their child to breakfast and do everything from opening their milk to removing the crust from their toast.
The children in my classroom have so many challenges ahead of them. They are facing an explosion of information and options and decisions. I can only hope that someone teaches them how to focus on the things that are truly important.