Displaced Attention -- Guest Blog by Scott Hanley

The other day I was sitting at breakfast in a busy outdoor cafe in the pedestrian heavy Pearl District of Portland, Oregon. It is a pet and child friendly restaurant and there were many of both scattered about. A particularly young couple and their new baby of about 6 months was sitting across the sidewalk area from us. I began to notice that each of them individually was completely focused on the baby. I generally like this behavior and I particularly like when parents are attentive to the many little things with regard to their children. As I was watching, another young couple came over with their dog to say hello. The parents looked up momentarily to return the “hello” but in the same breath regained eye contact with their baby while continuing talking to their friends. I realize having a new baby, especially when young, is a consummate experience and significant focus and attention will be directed towards the new baby, at least in the beginning.  But this might have been a bit much. It might have been way too soon to judge and I am the first one to compliment parents for whom their children are designated an unconditional priority. It did feel a little over the top, however.