SPRINGFIELD, MO—Most nights, Spencer Burton likes to unwind in front of the TV with one of his favorite shows or a sporting event. And often, his family chooses this viewing time to talk to him. His wife may tell him about her day or one of his four children will ask him for help with homework or for permission to do something. Burton has mildly been aware of this attempt at communication but was shocked when he recently learned that his wife and kids genuinely expect him to hear and remember the things they say to him while he’s watching TV.
“My wife texted and asked if I picked up our son from school, which, of course, I hadn’t,” said Burton. “Apparently, she told me during the game and actually thought I would listen and follow through.”
Burton’s wife thinks listening to her should be the most important thing in her husband’s life, saying, “I don’t care if he’s got the TV on -- if the kids are screaming, or if he’s on the call with a client, my voice should always cut through the noise and go straight to his heart. That’s how I am with him.”
In an attempt to improve the situation, Burton explained to his family that he may not be able to give his full attention to them when the TV is on, and if they really want him to listen, they should wait until he’s looking down at his phone.