Attention Matters

To what do you attend the most? In other words, if you were to divide your day up into little blocks… say 30 minutes a block for 48 blocks a day… how would they be filled?

If you are a ‘typical’ Weequahic camper (which means nothing other than you are aspiring to be a fantastic human being), you fill:

  • 18 blocks with ‘sleep’
  • 14 blocks with ‘school’
  • 1 block with ‘eating’
  • 4 blocks with ‘homework’

That means you’ve got 11 blocks left – about 5.5 hours. Now, considering the average young American spends more than 7 hours a looking at screen for entertainment purposes, you probably spend a good bit of those remaining blocks playing a game, watching a video or something else.

Your Blocks

How are you spending your time? Are you giving your attention to a screen, to a book, to a friend or something else? ‘Giving’ is the correct word. You get to choose… once you become aware of it actually being a choice.

That’s the funny thing with today’s screens. They are incredibly good at demanding your attention. The graphics are incredible on the games. When I started playing, ‘Space Invaders’ was equal parts fun and annoying. Same with PacMan and ‘Pong.’ It’s so easy to give your attention to the games that are prevalent now for hours.

When we give our attention to that kind of entertainment – games, social media, videos, etc. – what are the consequences? There are some good ones: connection with friends, being up to date with the goings on in culture, possibly learning something useful.

What could be some of the negative consequences? There are a lot that scientists, parents, and kids have reported. What do you think? When you look at your ‘block’ list of a day, does how you fill it up engage you, leave you curious or connected to others? What does it do to your ability to attend to hard things?

Can’t Wait for Camp

As we move closer to camp, I get more and more excited for our kids and staff. They are inching towards a time when their waking hours are filled with friends, real world connection, laughter and thoughtful moments. A time when the only bells you expect announce a meal or activity change. When a ‘beep’ means the golf cart is coming by rather than a message just landed.

There are consequences of that, too. You’ll miss what is happening in cyberspace right now. It’s ok – you’ll catch up. You’ll also fill up your soul with everything you’ll need for year ahead. A summer at camp – can’t beat it. See y’all soon!

PS – Parents, there is a great podcast on this topic with Bari Weiss and Johann Hari.

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