It was the fifth inning in the last game of the season. The coach pitched the ball. The batter hit it into the air. The ball bounced into the right fielder's mitt, and he threw it back to first. The first baseman stood ready, glove in the air, one foot on the base, and looking--where? At the ground, or into the other team's dugout, maybe. She definitely did not have her eye on the ball. She could have caught it and made an easy out, but instead the ball bounced off her side, and the batter arrived on base while she scrambled to pick it up. She has good skills, but she was not paying the attention necessary for success in her position.
Whatever we are trying to accomplish in life, we will be more successful if we pay attention to the right things. Here are a few ways that small investments of attention can make us more successful Mormon Mommy Bloggers.
As Bloggers, words are the tools we use to convey our messages. Like with any tool, if we know how to use words correctly, we'll be able to build the impression we want to create. If we're careless, someone might get hurt. We all know that a hasty rant or cutting comment can damage a reputation. Sometimes we need to slow down and really think about what we want to say. How we say it is important, too. Spelling and grammar count. See, if you use good grammar and spell your words accurately, no one will notice. They'll just understand what you want to say. But typos, grammar slips, and spelling disasters can be distracting, and possibly misleading.
Say I'm sharing a recipe with the world. I've worked hard to perfect it, my family loves it, and my friends have asked for it. How much difference is there between "Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes" and "Bake at 550 degrees for 50 minutes" ? Just a few keystrokes, right? And some burned brownies. Unhappy bakers. Readers losing trust in me. Whether our message is a craft tutorial, political opinion, something funny the kids said, or our testimony, it will shine through if we write it well. Let's review, proofread, and pay attention before we publish!
As Mommies (and Daddies, and other caring Adults), we have many responsibilities. So many that sometimes we try to accomplish several at the same time. Yes, I can cook dinner, run the dishwasher, and hold a conversation at the same time. But I can't pay equal attention to everything. Sometimes I think I'm listening to my child, but find myself planning something else. Pretty soon I don't really know what he is saying. Hearing is not listening. The difference is attention. Sometimes I need to pause a conversation to concentrate on the next step in the recipe. Probably more often, I need to pause my reading to really communicate with my family. Our children will not always be small and confiding. Let's pay attention to them now, before it's too late.
As Mormons, we have some pretty clear behavioral expectations. We go to church, visit teach, go to the temple. And we'll get the most out of these opportunities if we're paying attention. For example, I like to begin my day by meditating on the words of the prophets. Sounds good, right? In practice, it goes something like this: after I've pried the high school student out of bed and sent him and his Dad off to early-morning Seminary; after I've woken the junior high student, sat by him while he eats breakfast, and made sure he has what he needs for lunch; and before I wake the elementary students, I sit down on the comfortable couch with a blanket and the Conference issue of the Ensign or the Relief Society lesson manual. I read a few paragraphs in the dark, quiet morning. And soon this peaceful feeling comes over me, and my eyes begin to close. I may struggle to read the same paragraph several times, and not remember a thing it says. Or I may just take a nap. It's a comforting ritual, but not the most effective way to study the doctrines of the gospel. I really ought to pay more attention.
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have access to true doctrine, amazing revelations, and personal messages from the Holy Ghost. As family members, we have the opportunity to teach and learn from children of God. As bloggers, we can communicate with people all over the world. Let's pay more attention where it counts. We can't afford not to.