Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Attraction of Distraction

I’m easily distracted. Just ask my husband. My nickname is “Bright-Shiny-Thing”. It’s true. Whatever I begin, no matter how simple, I end up off course. The definition of distract means to draw away from or divert. No matter what is on my to-do list for the day, I struggle with being drawn away or diverted.

When I became a mother, I went from being the distractee to the distractor. It was these early years of mommyhood where I learned the fine art of distraction. Today I hold an advanced degree in the field. Bringing home my first child, I hated to hear her cry. I wanted to soothe every wail and quiet every whimper. My mother would encourage, “It’s OK for her to cry Joanne.” She’d remind me. “It strengthens her lungs.” Really, where does it say that in the medical books? I wondered.

As she grew, when she’d reach for something I didn’t want her to have I’d tell her “No.” If that didn’t work I’d begin the amazing game of distraction. “Meghan, look over here.” I’d shake her favorite toy, drawing her eyes away from whatever was holding her attention. By the time child number four came into the world, I was a master-distractor.

Outings to the grocery store were my classroom. This is where I’d fine-tune my skill, drawing my children away from the cookie aisle, soda pop and candy aisle, and anything else that danced, whirled or whistled by them at the check-out counter. I distracted with the finesse and speed of a gazelle. I was teaching my children to have the attention spans of gnats, cutting their focus down to mini-moments. “Look here. See what I have? Oh wow, come check this out!”

In my own life, distraction is the very first step towards discontent. Quite honestly, when I’m no longer content with the abundance of blessings I’ve been given my day seems to lose its sparkle.

Discontent makes way for grumbling and grumbling cuts a wide path for coveting to settle into my heart- not a great way to spend the afternoon when I’m cleaning the kitchen for the umpteenth time.

My mind likes to work overtime as I scrub and wipe, polish and sweep. I begin to let it wander where it shouldn’t…to the Land of Grumbling & Fables. “Cheryl has it easy. Her husband does the dishes for her every night.” Truth-Cheryl’s husband did it once on Cheryl’s 40th birthday. “Terry’s teenage daughter was cleaning the kitchen when I was over last. Her daughter is so helpful.” Truth-Terry’s teenage daughter was cleaning the kitchen because she’d been disciplined for coming home late the night before. “Melanie gets to work all day with adults.” Truth – Melanie would give anything to cut back on her hours at work. And she can’t stand half of the adults in her office. “All I do is clean, clean, clean. I’m just the maid around here!” Truth-I spend more time each day checking my email than cleaning the kitchen.

How about you? Are you easily distracted?
What is it that distracts and derails your day?

Stay tuned, tomorrow we'll take a peek at the Bible's poster-girl of distraction.


Denise said...

Wow, life is full of distractions.

Mariel said...

this is great, Joanne! i TOTALLY relate and do the same things! Oh, shiny thing in the corner, gotta run...

Karen said...

Great post...really made me think....

L. E. Neighbour said...

owww ya got me there... like reading blogs when I'm supposed to be writing :halo:

Wendy said...

Everything distracts me, if I let it! Anything that I can see, especially. That little thing in the Family Room needing to be put away leads to the paper pile I see in the BR to go through, which leads to my reading the article in the magazine, which leads to my checking out their website, which leads hour or two later...and where did that time go? But honestly, right now? main Distractor is my blog. Keeping on top of it: finishing the redesign, responding to comments, following back, reading some and "enough" of others' posts to keep up, writing content that is worthy of the Lord (the only Reader/Editor/Commenter Who ultimately matters) and that is not a waste of my readers' time.


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