Split Focus

“What’s more, the waning of our powers of attention is occurring at such a rate and in so many areas of life, that the erosion is reaching critical mass.  We are on the verge of losing our capacity as a society for deep, sustained focus.”

“Without self control, we can have the strongest of motivations and set the highest of goals, yet we will invariably get sidetracked by the distractions, temptations, and obstacles of life.”

Maggie Jackson,author of Distracted

The brain is not hard wired and that’s good news!

In addition, one’s IQ is not fixed as was once (and pretty recently) believed. False is the notion that the structure of the brain defines and determines its function.  The opposite is now known to be true:  function in fact determines structure. What modern science  tells us is that the brain has incredible plasticity – also called malleabilitywhich is the lifelong ability of the brain to reorganize and restructure its neuro-pathways based on experiences.

As we learn things, our brain changes.  As we practice and form new habits, these practices restructure the brain’s networking.

This really is good news – and essential information for today’s tech savvy students.

Through modern science God is providing us with the knowledge we need to address the learning deficit in today’s technology saturated culture.  We know that a maturing child’s brain increases in size and weight as a result of growth of the connections between the brain cells.  In addition, we now know that these connections form through specific stimulation.  Yet much of what kids do today is random stimulation, which does not produce change efficiently.

What happens to the brain of a student who spends hours multitasking media?

No one knows for sure.  Modern science (with the ability to scan and measure brain activity) tells us there is reason to be alarmed.  What today’s students are doing and as a result what they are NOT doing are both of deep concern to neuro-scientists.  These concerns are not just about the student’s ability to learn and develop skills, but also about character deficits that develop like habits of instant gratification and a lack of self control.

Click on the link below to watch this powerful 2 minutes video and watch it with your kids:

Split Focus” is a Front line PBS video about the dangers of multitasking. When kids gets the facts, they will be more motivated to do something about it. The facts are that multitasking not only bifurcates the brain and interrupts linear thinking, but it teaches one to respond to any urge the moment it comes up.  Multitasking is basically the juggling of interruptions as well as the practice of  instant gratification.  Yet vital to future success of our students is the ability to focus, to delay gratification and to be self controlled.

While you are on the Front line site, find out what a 16 year study shows about our diminishing ability to hear the sounds of music by watching  “Where Are We Headed.”

The key to managing the technological world we live in is knowledge about how our brains function and change.  Parents, educators and students must together embrace the fact that proper stimulation and exercise of the brain is essential to not only gaining and retaining information but also to developing the skills of attention, memory, problem solving and not to mention SELF CONTROL!

Split focus is exactly that: focus that is split!

When we split our focus (multitask) nothing gets our full attention or effort.  We give halfheartedly to everything, including the people around us.   Half -hearted effort is a sure path to complacency and boredom. Only by jumping in wholeheartedly will we find joy in learning or joy in anything we do.  To quote Archibald Hart, “we feel the deepest of pleasures when we are fully engaged in our uniqueness, our passions and our purpose.  Our brains are not designed to enjoy a constant, high level of stimulation.  Our kids are overindulged in seeking too much stimulation for their brain’s pleasure center and that is slowly deregulating it…causing it to lose its power to enthrall.”  (Thrilled to Death)

Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

Proverbs 2:2-5

I somehow just can’t get over my need for instant gratification, and it is messing up my life.  I figure it is not my fault really.  I was raised in a world of fast food, and I live in the age of the Internet.  Anything in the world is at my fingers at just the touch of a button.  Or is it?  You see that is the problem.  I have been fed all this hype about how I can do anything or have anything or be anything just by wanting it, and it is all a big fat lie.”Teen blog on the internet.

This series continues next week…..

I’m excited to announce that Family Wings, LLC now offers a variety of services for families and parents including in-home parent consulting and educational consulting.

Check out our services page or call us at (512)262-6026 for more information.

2 Comments

  1. I love todays blog. We are reading a book in our life group all about what is our focus. What defines us. What do we think about and/or spend our extra time on. If we are multitasking on so many things, how can we truly focus on what Gods purpose is for us? You are right on, Ellen. Aunt Debi

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  2. I was big on technology in college. It’s amazing what it has done, but I look at our generation today and…gosh, the kids today have so much to fight. Our flesh yearns for “instant gratification”. It will take a lot of self-control to step away from the “instant gratification” of today’s technology. I even think that Christians are ignoring the dangers. We need to be praying for protection. I’m looking forward to your presentation this coming week, Ellen.

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