My parakeet, Chance, a freebird residing in my bedroom,is tweeting. Regularly, she reminds me of the power and the value of attention (eye contact).
In response to her tweet a few minutes ago I peered around the cardboard wall that I erected to prevent her from flying over my laptop and she immediately trilled a parkeet-style trill and stretched. With the trill and the stretch, she had acknowledged my attention automatically; it's in the genes. It's in our genes, also; attention activates our automatic response unless, for various reasons, we have learned (consciously or unconsciously) not to respond.
I'm back at my laptop after joining her for a generous head-scratch (I scratched her head, not vice versa) and for many loving mutterings and affectionate eye blinks (both of us involved, here). She has whistled numerous times now and I just told her, "Honey, No, I'm not coming over." She may fly over here and light on my head with another request for head-scratching.
I'm thinking about how babies respond so quickly to attention. Pupils dilate (or contract, I forget). Physical movement begins or increases. You know.
Babies never give up hoping for attention which is fortunate since to give up hope is to eventually forget how to respond, even, how to notice if attention is given.
As adults, we can commit ourselves to giving our young our full, undivided and patient attention; we can give it to one another. We can practice noticing when attention is being requested and/or acknowledged. We can begin to notice when we, ourselves, sense the desire for attention. And we can begin to care about those times when we don't give attention or successfully signal our desire to receive it.
Join that other "attention revolution." It's not the one involving meditation (see Alan B. Wallace's excellent book, THE ATTENTION REVOLUTION).
It's the one involving our intention to give one another dedicated attention.