One of my favorite sayings I heard over 30 years ago from a community college professor in Sacramento. At that time, I had recently graduated from university and I wanted to apply my training in behavioral science to better understand how technology could be used to improve the quality of workplace relationships as well as enhance productivity. So, I took some classes on computer database management and programming at a local junior college to augment my university training.
At one point the students were not paying attention. There was a lot of chatter and banter. The instructor was a kind and wise gentleman who was small in stature and in his late 40’s or early 50’s.
He took command of the class with authority.
He paused long enough for the students to realize he stopped talking, and then he said in a firm and kind voice: “Listen carefully. I have something very, very important to tell you that will help you the rest of your lives.”
The room fell completely silent in anticipation.
“Wherever you are,” he said with the inflection of his voice elevated into a high note leaving us hanging for the rest of the sentence just long enough to pique our curiosity. “Be there,” he said with this voice dropping into a lower, affirming tone.
And after that he did not have a difficult time keeping the attention of his students.
Attention management: Wherever you are, be there
One of the biggest challenges in a cyber-powered world is to be fully present. There is definitely a war for our attention. The developers of apps and devices have studied how the use of drugs and other addictive experiences impact the brain to keep you coming back at all costs. Brain science tells us that use of devices can become an addictive experience by tapping the same reward center of the brain which delivers short-term, feel good, dopamine hits. These short-term rewards never satisfy, and the body can build up a tolerance causing a person to seek more at all costs. This impact with devices if not checked can rob us of being fully present and prevent us from giving our undivided attention to a person or a task.
This is a big deal because in the presence of a loved one your attention is your power. Think about how you feel when a loved one ignores you. It hurts, doesn’t it? When divided attention becomes the norm in your home important relationships are denied experiencing love – to “get got” by one another in the present moment.
Above are some tips for managing attention in the home. The most important one is about the parent setting the example by being the change you want to see. You make the first move by offering undivided attention. Make sure that your children have permission to interrupt you, especially when you are on your device.
At our home we used the peace sign (two-fingers in the shape of a V) as a silent signal requesting permission to interrupt. When my kids used this sign they knew that I would make eye-contact and they would wait a few seconds or a minute while I finished a call or put it on hold. And then, when I gave them my complete attention it was with a sincere interest in what was on their mind or what they needed.
I have learned that when our loved ones know that they are not a burden and we form agreements on how to interrupt and give undivided attention, then home is a more peaceful place to be.
In this way I strive to “be there” for family, friends and colleagues.
Core Connectivity Mission
Restore Parental Confidence, Inspire Resilience, and
Empower Families to Strengthen their Bond
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Events for Your Parent Community
- Equipping parents to deal with the extreme influence of social media on young hearts and minds
- Core Connectivity offers Fresh Start Family Culture training to help parents exercise control over the home, regulate use of technology and empower family members. To book an event at your office, school or church, contact Joanna (be sure to include your return email address)
Private Parenting and Family Life Coaching
Fresh Start Family – Two 90-minutes sessions with Joanna. Learn about the tools to give you control over the things you can control and strengthen your role as a trusted resource for guidance.
- Want to argue less and experience more peace in your family relationships?
- Wondering if your child is ready for his or her first smartphone?
- Is cyberbullying terrorizing your child/tween/teen?
- You suspect or have caught your teen using drugs and/or alcohol. Now what?
- Get your family to put down the devices and have face-to-face conversations
- Has internet porn invaded your home?
To learn more, contact Joanna (be sure to include your return email address).
Book an event for your educators, counseling practice or agency providing resources to youth and families. Topics include:
- How the sciences of addiction, recovery and faith inform effective prevention strategy
- A parent’s guide for dealing with mental and behavioral health issues
- Embracing “the addict” as an agent for positive change in the family
- Keeping tabs on your family’s social media hangouts
- Cyberbullying & radicalization of youth into violent ideologies
- Talking about drugs and drug abuse in social media
- Family-safe conversations about internet porn and sexting
About: We are a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. Our mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device.
Peace on earth begins with peace at home.
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Core Connectivity is an initiative of Banana Moments Foundation. When you shop at Amazon via AmazonSmile, Amazon will make a donation to Banana Moments Foundation.
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and consultant on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber-powered world. She is a former technology executive trained in behavioral science at U.C. Berkeley, a mother of two grown sons, and an author of books for practical guidance on parenting, growing up and family life in the network culture. As a family and technology culture advisor, Joanna has appeared on 103.9FM The Fish, 710AM Keeping Faith in America, 1380AM The Answer, and Examiner.com.
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