During my weekly stop at the gas station last week I felt myself frozen in stupor as I tried to pump gas and WATCH TV (projected from the gas pump) at the same time! When did someone install TV’s at the gas pump? More importantly, how am I supposed to pump gas and watch TV at the same time? The barrage of questions from the pump- do I want a carwash?, do I want a receipt?, what is my zip code?, all while someone is loudly broadcasting who won the football game last week and which celebrity is breaking up with who made my mind spin. Now, I like to multi-task, but even I found this experience at the gas station overwhelming and completely distracting.
After this experience I was thinking about the opportunity to CONNECT that the Buddy Program offers youth and volunteers at the Buddy Program. When we train our Big Buddies we ask them to turn off their cell phones while they are with their Little Buddies and give them their undivided attention; something that may be hard for volunteers to do and for youth to accept. When was the last time you had a DISTRACTION FREE conversation with someone? When was the last time you got through a conversation without checking your phone for messages or updates? Perhaps most importantly, when was the last time someone gave you their undivided attention? Today’s fast paced, distracting world makes it harder and harder for deep connections to be made during one-on-one conversations, making it more and more important for our volunteer Big Buddies to role model undivided attention to our Little Buddies. While it’s important in today’s world to stay reasonably connected, I challenge us all, including myself, to keep one-on-one conversations focused and distraction- whether it is with a spouse, a co-worker or a child!