I don’t know why it stuck with me, but my Dad always barked, “Pay attention!” to us when we were kids. Or maybe just to me.
But I remembered it. And still do.
I’m not 100% perfect when it comes to paying attention. But I am pretty much always paying attention to something. (Sometimes, I misprioritize the object of my attention.) At any rate, I feel it important to explain just how important it is to pay attention.
If you wanna be somebody, if you wanna go somewhere, you better wake up and pay attention. –Sister Act
At school: I know. I’m a teacher. Of course I’m a fan of students paying attention. But seriously, the students who work to pay attention do better in class. I’ve seen it. In my classroom, it’s as simple as knowing there’s a website with all information on it, should they have an off day (or week, or month, or semester…). When you’re a student, knowing what’s up is invaluable.
On the road: If we’ve driven much in our lives (especially fellow Columbusites), we’ve been cut off by someone who didn’t use their turn signal, who didn’t see you there, or were selfish. So, this issue is two fold: (1) Pay attention so you don’t cut others off. Check your blind spots. (2) Pay attention to other cars so they don’t crash into you. It’s no fun.
In relationships: It’s so easy to become self-centered in professional, romantic or friendly relationships. Pay attention to what the other person is saying, what they’re not saying, and what others are saying to them. After terrible experiences, and due to a need to keep myself from a dark place, I’ve had to withdraw from some friendships. Some of those friends sought me out because they were paying attention and knew I needed support even though I wouldn’t ask for it. Other friends threw encouragement my way. Sometimes, situations felt hopeless, but I did feel loved when others noticed. My sanity, no lie, was saved due to these people. I try to be the same to others due to these experiences and am excited to be this now that I’m out of that dark place.
Entertainment: This is a small soap box of mine that I don’t mount very often. I find it super important to really pay attention to the media you take in. Seriously: This is a God thing, believe it or not. When we sing along with a sweet song that speaks of things which are against the Bible, we are often unaware of the little tiny steps we take toward accepting that sinful behavior/talk/situation. When we watch a sitcom that, for instance, shows a woman treating her husband like junk, we are tempted to let that behavior into our lives and we normalize that behavior. It’s dangerous and easy. So, pay attention to the content of your entertainment.
Okay, now that I’ve hit the big four, I’ll leave you to think about it. Reread if you must.