Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Distracted Driving

With the coming of cell phones much has been written and discussed about distracted driving. Most of us have had the experience of the car next to us drifting into our lane, causing us to honk, brake, swerve and comment sharply on the driver's erratic moves, only to discover he or she was looking down at a cell phone -- presumably texting. This would be classified as distracted driving.

We have also likely witnessed the driver in front of us engaged in an animated conversation on the phone, gesticulating passionately about the call. Soon the car seems to be following the gestures: weaving, bobbing and faking like an NBA guard. This weaving, however, may have more disastrous consequences than anything in the NBA. This too would be classified as distracted driving.

As most parents can attest, distracted driving isn't always due to texting or a phone call; it can result from some altercation involving siblings. One of the more common squabbles involves personal space and the other sibling's invasion of it. Most of the time the dispute ends with an ear-splitting, high-decibel screaming of the word, "Daaaaad!"

This sudden noise will make all but the most hardened road warriors jolt. With that jolt the vehicle often makes a sudden swerve out of its traffic lane. This, too, qualifies as distracted driving.

Not long ago I experienced a different kind of distracted driving. I was on a long road trip and purchased an audio book to listen to for the drive. I was so engrossed in the book I failed to notice my gas gauge. When I finally did I pulled into the nearest gas station and put 11.49 gallons into a tank that holds 11.5. That was distracted driving.

Men, we all know what it's like to witness others who are driving while distracted, but we must confess we have often driven that way ourselves. We prove that it isn't always possible to give our full attention to two tasks at one time.

Thus I am advocating we give our full attention to the most important tasks at hand, especially those that involve our family.

When the woman in our life desires a conversation, it's not enough to mute the TV. Instead, we need to turn it off and give her our complete -- and undivided -- attention.

When our child asks for help with homework, we need to detach ourselves from our preoccupations and give him or her our full consideration.

I know first-hand how hard it is to give one's full concentration to two different tasks. Let's show the people who are most important to us how much we value them as we give them our full attention.

Your focus on the ones you journey with makes the road you travel that much smoother. Take it from one who knows.

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