I know a boy who during elementary school would sneak out of his room after being sent to bed to listen to what his parents and their guests were talking about. Though it was very exciting to stand just out of sight and eavesdrop on these conversations, I know for sure that the now grown-up version of that kid remembers nothing that was said.

One of my grandchildren may take after that snooping little boy. After being put to bed by his parents or grandparents. Being read the books of his choice. Given kisses, hugs, a tucking into his bed; AND, even having his favorite stuffed animals settled in around him. Was seen lying in the doorway of his room asleep on his pillow because he did not want to miss out on the conversation of the adults. FOMO – the Fear of Missing Out, has a strong grip on many if not all of us.

We want to be included when our friends are doing something fun. It is such a powerful feeling that some friendships have broken off over not being included. This seems so odd to me. You love these people so much that you want to be part of everything that they are doing. Then when left out of one thing, you choose to never be included in anything again(Yep, that’ll teach them! People are weird, aren’t we.)

There was an old ad campaign that brought a striking young woman on the screen in a closeup. She was clearly saying something, but you had to stop and listen to hear her. She was softly saying, “If you want to capture someone’s attention, whisper.” It was brilliant in a world of shouting voices the advertisers chose to whisper, and we all listened, lest we miss what was being said.  Psychologists claim that the act of whispering catches our attention even when we are subconsciously ignoring other ambient sounds.

The argument is that the curiosity and concern for self-preservation call our attention to people whispering around us. Our brain calls us to pay attention, lest we miss information that is important enough to be whispered and thus kept secret.

The “Fear” part of the FOMO equation may have origins that are deeply ingrained in human survival on a planet that is sinful and often violent. But my and my grandson’s curiosity is really just about the “missing out” part I’m pretty sure.

It was brought to my attention recently that we fear missing out on so many things as humans. We call it out in kids, but inclusion is very important to all of us. We want to be part of things. We will even join in on things we feel uncomfortable about in our need to be integrated. We call it the crowd mentality. It can build so much energy that a person in the midst of a crowd will find themselves breaking their own behavior standards.

I’ve been thinking about the “fear of missing out” in heaven today. It would be a terrible event to miss, one that has eternal impact. But it does not seem to have the following that some other things have. The event coordinator wants us to be there, curiosity seems like it might be stoked by it, but how does missing out on heaven stack up with my FOMO?

I was just wondering.

Walt