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what has your attention?

Here's a fun challenge: try to get 5 kids to stop and look at you as you take their picture. All 5 of them have to be looking at the same time. Bonus if they're smiling. Allow me to share with you a brief case study of this challenge from a recent time our family went bowling:

Attempt #1: not all 5

Attempt #2: still not all 5

Attempt #3: all 5, but only 3 of the 5 are looking

Attempt #4: all 5 again - and all are smiling! - but 2 still aren't actually looking at the camera

Well, we got close anyway!

During my years in the classroom, one of the things I found the most challenging was figuring out how to consistently get (and keep) the attention of my students. I'm sure any teacher can tell you that there are tricks and techniques that help with this struggle, and any teacher will also probably tell you that not all tricks and techniques work the same for all students (or teachers for that matter).

Unfortunately, my suspicion is that the challenge of holding someone's attention is not limited to the classroom. Whether we're students, teachers, children, adults, parents, grandparents, teenagers, or any other category we can come up with, there are continually a lot of things vying for our attention. Everyone who uses a smart phone is likely very familiar with the feeling of having things compete for their attention.

For example, you're in a conversation with someone and your phone dings. It's a text message. Do you open it? Wait until later? Even trying to make that decision itself can pull your attention away from the conversation you were having. I've heard that just having your phone in sight affects your ability to focus and be fully present wherever you are. Yikes.

It's not just the phones though. In any given moment, there are countless places where we could choose to focus our attention. Perhaps some of us do better than others at having a singular focus. Maybe for some people, it's simply a matter of choosing, this is what I'm going to focus on right now. No matter what.

Wherever we find ourselves on the continuum of our ability to focus our attention - whether it comes easily or feels impossibly difficult - it remains true that our attention is really valuable. The poet Mary Oliver once said, "Attention is the beginning of devotion." Many places throughout the Bible we read, "he who has ears to hear, let him hear." In other words, pay attention to what you are hearing. I suppose it's one thing to be able to hear, but it's quite another to pay attention to what it is you're hearing.

So what has our attention today? What has our students' attention? Our children's attention? Our friends' attention? Realistically, most of the time we can't control other people's attention. It's hard enough to control our own. But I'm reminded of the words Jesus spoke to Martha...

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

Oh that we could continually remember this one thing that is needed above all else! Maybe our prayer to start off this new school year can be that first and foremost, Jesus would have our attention.

Pray with me...

... Father, teach all of us in the ACSD community how to place You first in our hearts and minds

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalm 16:1-2

... God, help all of our students to learn more deeply how to manage their attention

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2

.... Jesus, make ACSD into a community in which we give loving attention to each other

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12


Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and pray for Alliance Christian School District! Lord willing, I plan to publish a new blog post weekly throughout the school year. Feel free to subscribe (at the bottom of this page) if you'd like to be notified each time a new blog post has been published. We also have a prayer team that is always open for new pray-ers to join. If you'd like to learn more, email me at

~ Carrie Warner, ACSD Prayer Team Coordinator

Soli Deo Gloria To God alone be the glory

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2 comentários

Kelly Strickland
Kelly Strickland
05 de set. de 2023

Carrie, I loved this blog, it reminded me that although I can get distracted and loose my focus, even when in communication with others, I should never loose my focus on God! He is always focused on us!

Respondendo a

So glad it was an encouragement to you!

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