I once almost missed the news of a friend’s pregnancy because I was only half listening. We were at lunch and while she was talking, I was also on my phone toggling between texting and social media updating…eeek. And I’m not alone in this – we have to have laws to keep people from texting and driving, and according to a recent article, our attention spans are down to 8 seconds.
Consider, then, the four legged dog. Once a dog has chosen a direction, all four legs get involved and get moving so that progress can be made. Where could the dog go if each leg was distracted by its own task? This proverb told me that I made the decision to go to lunch with my friend, and she deserved my full attention. That meant putting the phone away and really listening. We had a great time, and I learned something about respecting the value of friendship.
So I think that one meaning of this proverb is that it is better to focus on one thing at a time; anything or anyone that deserves our attention deserves our full attention, even if only briefly.
I also think there is another meaning, but in deference to 8 second attention spans, I’ll talk about that in another post.