Character Trait studies you can do with your children!
Attentiveness Principle- God wants us to show people we think they are worthy by giving our undivided attention to their words, feelings, and actions.
What is attentiveness?- listening to what the other person is saying, doing, and feeling without getting distracted or being a distraction
What is an example of being attentive?- Look at the person, listen carefully, do not interrupt, ask questions if you don’t understand something, be still and quiet
What is an example of NOT being attentive?- Fidgeting, moving around, interrupting, not listening fully, looking around, not asking question to understand better
The lines in italics are the parts we focus on with our little ones.
Hebrews 2:1-“We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”
Proverbs 1:5-“let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance–”
Proverbs 1:8-“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”
Proverbs 8:33-“Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it.”
James 1:19-“ My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”
A quick lesson from the Bible to help identify attentiveness.
Luke 10:38-42 At the Home of Martha and Mary
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Identify who is being attentive and who is not.
Which one did Jesus say made the better choice?
Do you tend to be more of a Martha or a Mary when it comes to being attentive to God?
A Lesson from the Book of Virtues
Our Lips and Ears– A short poem to help us learn how to conduct our conversations.
Here is my favorite part- “Five things observe with care: Of whom you speak, to whom you speak, and how and when and where.”
Practice at home-Have your children practice attentive conversations with you. Start by greeting your child and asking a simple questions. Encourage your child to return the greeting and answer the question while being still and making eye contact. Slowly work up to longer conversations and have your child ask you questions also.
Play a Game-This game is great for practicing attentiveness as well as obedience. Have your child stand attentively in front of you and give them a list of things to do (adjust the number of items on the list to fit your child’s age). They must listen attentively, acknowledge that they heard you (we use ‘Yes Ma’am’), and then quickly do the things you listed and return back to you. Remember it’s a game so make it fun! I might tell my daughter “Go touch the front door, drive that car on the floor to your bedroom, put one piece of dirty clothing in the hamper, then skip back, and give me a high-five.” For my son it might be “Touch the door, jump back here, and give me a high-five.”
Practice in public-Encourage your child to make eye contact and greet friends and their parents at a play date or outing. I have found that if your child attentively greets an adult they almost always return the greeting and ask the child something. Your child then has the opportunity to attentively respond to the question and decide if they would like to ask a question in return. I do not push my children to engage in long conversations but just politely greet. The rest is up to them.
Ideas from around the web-
Preparing the Soil Teaching Attentiveness– I love the medals!
Focus on the Family Kids of Integrity – Attentiveness
Lifestyle- Homeschool.com – Character Notes – Attentiveness