How can we expect kids to pay attention when their environment is striking them with lightning bolts faster and hotter than we’ve ever known?

It’s a lot. It’s too much.

Our world experiences can no longer be posted with #nofilter.

Not when you’re a parent–especially a parent of a young child.

Our five-month-old recently started this phase where he has to taste and touch everything. He puts everything (including his own feet) in his mouth, even after I’ve told him that there would be plenty of time to do that later in his life.

When I’m face-to-face with my son now? He has to grab my nose, ears, cheeks, and hair, digging in his fingernails and squeezing tightly.

And I love it!

But what’s really going on?

Most will tell you that this newborn is developing his hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills. Yet I think there’s more here than meets the eye. I think his world is being transformed, one sensory detail at a time, every single moment that he wants to reach out and touch someone.

Every time that Myals reaches out, I think he wants to see if what he’s touching matches what he’s seeing, hearing, tasting, and smelling. He’s seeking to gain knowledge and understanding of his environment by experiencing it through all of his senses, especially his sense of touch–his literal feeling.

I think our son wants to curiously respond to ALL the stimuli in his environment–an endeavor unprecedented in today’s world.

Because it’s in today’s world that:

  • Conceptualizing reality is based on most everything except common sense-s;
  • What you see is not always what you get;
  • All news must be confirmed by multiple sources to be true;
  • All news may be fake until proven otherwise;
  • Most news is staked on ratings and entertainment, pushing agendas and not facts;
  • Companies birthed in one teenager’s mind can monopolize the global economy through simple coding and social media marketing;
  • A few simple youtube videos or just one post can launch or ruin a career;
  • Kids base their self worth on audience approval, likes, and views;
  • Global leaders can change the world–for better or for worse–one tweet at a time;
  • Online presence trumps face-to-face interactions; and
  • Kids’ brains race millions of times faster than even just five years ago.

While defending myself from the scratching onslaught of a curious newborn innocently learning through wonder, a television down the hall echoes a trembling Mark Zuckerberg, attempting to validate that what facebook users have felt for years–indeed–genuinely matches what they’ve seen and heard.

Our reality was being constructed one facebook algorithm at a time.

While more than two billion people in the world wanted to reach out and touch someone, they now realize that they may have been de-sense-ITized through facebook’s data and privacy breaches; misleading user agreement; and biased controlling of what they’re allowed to see without their knowing.

But Mark did apologize. He said he was sorry. I know he meant it.

After all, the Q&A show was interesting to watch. Digital citizenship–as we know it–just changed forever. Again.

It’s like the world wobbles and repeatedly hiccups on its axis, possibly when even just one person slaps the basketball, perpetuating the spin on his finger.

And together, we all take baby steps into a whole new world.