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Pay Attention

I recently listened to a talk by Mark Yaconelli titled “Slow Club.” In his talk, Mark describes how it was his job to get his boys ready for school each morning. As you can imagine, this was a hectic time of day for Mark and his boys. Mark would be stuffing books into school bags, quickly tieing shoes and constantly telling his sons to “hurry up.” However, his youngest son Joseph was having none of it. No matter how much his dad nagged, Joseph couldn’t be bothered.


One day after school, Joseph came home and told his dad that he had started a club. The name of the club was “Slow Club” and there were only two rules:


No running

No hurrying


Mark thought that was a neat idea, until the next morning when it was time to get ready for school!


For the rest of the year, Joseph remained the only member of the club because no one else could honestly agree to follow the two rules. One day, however, Joseph asked his dad if he would like to have a one day pass. Mark thought long and hard and finally decided that he would join the club for the day.


The day was excruciating for Mark. He had to walk everywhere and he felt like he was missing out on everything. However, his son invited his dad to look around and notice things that other people were missing. Soon enough, Mark and Joseph saw two jackrabbits. They also found Lupine flowers, watched butterflies and noticed a group of lizards sunning themselves on some rocks.





At the end of the day, Joseph encouraged his dad to share what they saw with his mom. As Mark was sharing the exciting events of the day with his wife, he realized something; Joseph has been trying to help him recover something many adults have lost. The ability to pay attention. The ability to wonder!


I hope that as educators, we can learn from children. That we would slow down and begin to notice the world around us.


Have you ever been on a walk with a three year old? It takes half an hour to walk about ten steps! Why? Because the world is so exciting to them. A crack in the sidewalk, a flower, a bee, a spiderweb. All of these things that we pass by and miss, children see. They see and they wonder: What made this crack? What kind of flower is this? Why does a bee buzz? How does a spider make its web?


It is a tragedy to lose this ability. I think it's time that we give ourselves permission to slow down. In doing so, we may begin to see the countless miracles that take place around us everyday!



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