Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Maintaining Focus

First, an announcement: 

After a lot of hard work, time and (ahem)
focus, Jeff graduated with his Bachelor's of Arts in History this past weekend. This is a big moment for us - and the best part about it is that his brother also graduated a few weeks ago, just as my sister and I both graduated in 2010. 

What a huge achievement for two wonderful men and their proud Mama and wives!

And now a story... from the every-day "life with boys"...

When driving from place to place the other day, Buttercup announced (with only a 70% urgency in her tone, so not too dire yet!) that she needed to go 'potty'. I told her there were no bathrooms around and she would have to wait until I reached our destination. Bruiser, who had used a port-o-potty at the same place earlier in the day, informed me that the, "blue potties are no good and are really gross, but the green potties are okay."

He followed this announcement up with, "Make sure you use the one I used earlier today. Even though it has pee and gross stuff all over the seat, it has clean toilet paper and hand sanitizer, so it's pretty good."

Hmmmmm... Interesting things for him to notice... although, being a boy, maybe not.

She wasn't too urgent at the next plea, so first I dropped Maestro off to take care of an errand at the store. We headed for the "exact same port-o-potty" that Bruiser had used earlier. Sure enough, there was pee on the seat (and probably unsee-able gross stuff). I was grateful for the hand sanitizer, which I used liberally after wiping the gross stuff off. When we returned to the car, I thanked Bruiser for his advice and he said, "wasn't it a good one, Mom? There's even a shelf you can put your purse on!"

He followed this pronouncement up with an analysis of how the urinal worked in the port-o-potty ("It doesn't go to the ocean, Mom, but just into the toilet instead.")

At some point in this interesting little exchange, Chef (formerly Smeagol), gave a more-detailed-than-I-liked comment on the contents of the port-o-potty. (UGH!)

Fast forward about fifteen minutes. I thought I'd give Chef an opportunity, as second-oldest, to take on a small job and some responsibility in the store. I dropped him off at the gas station, telling him to get his Pop a Diet Coke and meet me at my next stop (around the corner at the car wash trash can area.) Five minutes later, he arrived with two bottles in a bag: a surprise Dr. Pepper for Mom and a regular Coke for Pop.


Forty-five minutes after this incident, we went to pick up Jeff from work. Nothing unusual. Jeff put his gym bag in the trunk and motioned that he was going to throw a sack into the dumpster. Okay. As we arrived home and were taking the bags in from various errands, it became clear that the bag Jeff had thrown away was not the trash sack his ten-year-old son had said it was (and been throwing garbage into.) Instead, said sack was the brand new batting helmet I'd finally picked up for Bruiser.


HOW does a boy who notices the contents of a temporary toilet NOT notice that his Pop hasn't drunk regular Coke in almost ten years? (Ten years would be MOST of said boy's lifetime!)

HOW does that same boy miss that he's putting trash into a batting helmet and not just any old sack??

HOW am I going to cultivate an environment of attention-to-detail in my boys to lead them to their own great achievements???

But isn't that how it goes? How often do we let our minds get distracted when we're doing something or when someone says something to us? Perhaps it's time to make sure that we're engaged in the world around us and not in the world we've fashioned for ourselves. Perhaps it's time to give thought to how we'll make the day-to-day stuff count.

The reality is... that I can't. I can only change my actions, I can only teach me new lessons and mentor, guide and lead them by example. So this is where my focus will be. Where it always should have been - and mentally... I knew all of these things, but putting them into practice has not always been easy. Might never be. But that leadership and mentorship is where you'll find me on my best days (and on the worst... you might just find me washing my hands twice with hand sanitizer and cleaning the lid of a port-o-potty!)

What distracts you from the "now"? Texts, e-mail, cell phone calls, music on the radio or just the music in your head... 

What do you do to help combat inattention?

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