I’ll be the first to admit, I’m very easily distractible. I make lists like crazy because, going to the store, I’ll forget things if they aren’t written down (sometimes even when they ARE written down too!). I’ll have someone tell me something, and 5 minutes later, will have completely forgotten about it. This has always been an issue, and with technology, I’ve been better because I can give myself digital reminders by creating voice memos or even just sending myself a text about certain things. No, I’ll never be that focused person, but it helps.
Part of my problem is just being present in the moment. I get distracted by so many things around me that I forget to keep what’s important in front of me. If I’m going to the store, I’ll forget eggs because I’m busy trying to find something else. If I’m supposed to call someone, I forget because of the happenings of the day around me. I get caught up being busy, that the other stuff gets left out or forgotten.
As I sat today, watching my 8th graders begin their preparations for high school, talking with the school counselor about class schedules, I was surprised how many were not present in the moment. It was this question or that pencil or a distraction to take them away from the time they had to talk with their counselor. I had an idea that this might happen, based on a writing prompt we’d done the previous week. I like asking the students about their feeling of the previous quarter, and for my eighth graders I asked them about their feeling of moving to high school. Many of them expressed a certain degree of apprehension about moving to the high school, and rightfully so. Things are done differently at the high school, and there are many students are very nervous about that. However, many students simply did not want to be in the moment.
As I watched them and reflected on myself, how many times have I been that way, avoiding by not being present? Too many to count is my guess. But if I know this, can’t I change this? While it’s not easy, putting the device down, closing the computer, turning off the TV, all which are my own distractors of choice, will help me be more present for my family. And in the end, I need to learn to deal with failing. My oldest daughter has a huge problem with this, not wanting to fail, and I understand what she deals with because I’m the same way. But, to be in the moment, sometimes, allowing yourself the freedom to fail is the best thing you can do. Plus, it’s being a good role model for my daughters too.
In the end, most of my eighth graders got a good start to their high school schedules done. They had a chance to ask some good questions, but most of all, they had the chance to be there, in that moment, and think about high school. To look at your own future when you are really unsure of it is scary and difficult. However, it’s good for them to do, and today, they were the role models for me, showing me it’s ok to be scared of things.
You just can’t let that fear get in the way of the moment.