Let’s stop and consider how to bolster parents’ ability to concentrate on their task, and to do it “tenderly, willingly, with justice.” Everyone agrees that distracted parenting is a rising problem, at least in the US where I live.
It’s obvious from even a casual observation: Go to any school pickup area or any local park and you’ll see dozens of parents or caregivers intently studying their phones.
They are the trappings of what we want, the side effects of outward success—a mere distraction from what our minds and “inner geniuses” (a favorite term of mine from Marcus Aurelius’ Sorting this out, though, is more complicated than ever these days.
It’s hardly an excuse, but I felt terribly awkward after trying to start a conversation a few times at class pickup, and being ignored or answered tersely.
So the phone “rescued” me from facing other adults. When I have to wait to pick up my kids, I attempt to avoid automatically going onto my phone. And when I take the kids to the park, instead of gluing my face to the latest FB posts, I either talk with the kids or other people there, or I take a brisk circular walk around the perimeter, observing not just the children but the trees, birds, plants.
But to me, Marcus’ words read like a rather harsh pep talk.
For today’s world, I’d like to try shifting the emphasis to address an encouragement for modern people, and, in particular, parents.