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Editorial

Gentle Virtues


Distractions


07/01/2007 - One Summer day I set out on my new twelve speed bike. Being only eleven, I was quite proud to shift twelve gears. A few blocks from home, I turned onto a street named after President Cleveland. There was so much to see. Sprinklers were twirling. Dogs were running fence lines and every house had some special feature to observe.

I was caught up in the moment and before I knew it, my front wheel was caught under the shiny bumper of a muscle car! Red in the face, I quickly looked around to see if anyone saw me. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a young man in coveralls rolling out from under the car.

Remaining on his creeper, he, along with the frame of my front wheel, looked slightly bent out of shape. I dislodged my bike, whimpered "Sorry!" and tried to ride off with my front tire and my pride completely deflated.

Undoubtedly I was distracted. It was not the first time I was ever distracted and it certainly would not be my last.

The base word in distracted, "tract", comes from the Latin word "traho". It means "to draw". It is also the base word for attract, extract, contract and retract. To attract literally means "to draw to". To extract is "to draw out". To contract is "to draw together" and to retract is

"to draw back".

The literal definition of distract is "to draw apart". In the Webster's Ninth New Colligate Dictionary, distract is defined as being drawn "to a different object or in different directions at the same time".

The littlest things things can become big distractions. A tiny pebble in our shoe can break our stride. Tiny drops from a leaky faucet can break our concentration.

My husband's grandma rolled off the road and totaled her station wagon all because of a pesky, little fly. (Thankfully she was ok.)

Sometimes my five year old son turns my face toward him and has me look into his eyes. He does not want me being distracted. He desires my undivided attention. Isn't that the desire in all of us? We want to be heard. We want to be valued. We want the sincere

attention from those we love.

Attention literally means "a stretching towards". Rather than being drawn apart with distractions, we can make an all out effort to "stretch" our attention with affection to those we love. By being attentive, our bicycles, cars and relationships can be longer lasting.

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