Strategies for Seeing Anew #10

…towards focused, loving attentiveness

An example from a Primary classroom
An example from a Secondary classroom

What does this mean?

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
From Leisure by W.H. Davies

It is easy for students to go through life glancing at the world and seldom stopping to listen, giving their surroundings and other people superficial thought and attention. This casual glancing and listening can be the result of our over-stimulated environment but self-absorption, superficiality and a lack of respect can also lead to paying scant attention. We need to cultivate a deeper way of viewing the world so that we look away from self to the object or person seen. We need the attentive, loving gaze and the listening ear.
 
Christians believe that God can speak through his world (Psalm 19:1) and through the things people make: through poems, ideas, stories, paintings and music. We need attentive listening and wisdom in order to discern how God’s voice can be heard in what we learn.
The first duty of love is to listen. Paul Tillich
Loving attention starts with humility. This is an attitude that considers that others deserve to be heard (Philippians 2:3). The Bible describes the world as God’s and people as his creation. In some way, people reflect a little of God and this gives them an inherent worth. It is not up to us to assign worth to some people and withhold it from others (Genesis 1:27).
 
If we value others we give their lives, ideas and what they produce careful attention. A poem takes time, skill and creativity and the writer gives something of him or herself; the writer hopes for a careful reader. St Paul encouraged Christians to dwell upon good things (Philippians 4:8). Paul uses a word that means ‘to carefully reflect on’.
 
This section is about moving towards focused, loving attentiveness. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from general inattention or self absorption or is it a movement from inattention as a result of lack of training in paying loving attention?

What does this mean in school?

Teachers can use a range of strategies to encourage loving attention as an expression of respect:
  • Read a text slowly aloud together in English/literacy or modern foreign languages.
  • Draw attention to close up images or images seen through a microscope in science.
  • Listen with closed eyes in music.
  • Use a series of questions that focus attention, or allow time for silent reflection before soliciting answers to a question.
  • Rearrange the room for some sessions to focus attention on an object that is to be studied.
  • Consider the aesthetics of science presentations and encourage wonder.
Think of a time when you were frustrated by students’ superficial attention. What teaching strategies did you use to encourage respectful, loving attention? Think of a subject where you need the students to pay focused attention. How could you teach to encourage attention that encourages respect? You could cover up most of a painting and only reveal a little at a time, give students a series of things to look for so that they discover for themselves the skill that went into the painting.
 
More ways of seeing anew
Next way of seeing anew
 
1The heavens keep telling the wonders of God, and the skies declare what he has done. 2Each day informs the following day; each night announces to the next. 3They don't speak a word, and there is never the sound of a voice. 4Yet their message reaches all the earth, and it travels around the world. In the heavens a tent is set up for the sun. 5It rises like a bridegroom and gets ready like a hero eager to run a race. 6It travels all the way across the sky. Nothing hides from its heat. 7The Law of the Lord is perfect; it gives us new life. His teachings last for ever, and they give wisdom to ordinary people. 8The Lord 's instruction is right; it makes our hearts glad. His commands shine brightly, and they give us light. 9Worshipping the Lord is sacred; he will always be worshipped. All of his decisions are correct and fair. 10They are worth more than the finest gold and are sweeter than honey from a honeycomb. 11By your teachings, Lord, I am warned; by obeying them, I am greatly rewarded. 12None of us know our faults. Forgive me when I sin without knowing it. 13Don't let me do wrong on purpose, Lord, or let sin have control over my life. Then I will be innocent, and not guilty of some terrible fault. 14Let my words and my thoughts be pleasing to you, Lord , because you are my mighty rock and my protector. (A psalm by David for the music leader.) A prayer for victory
1Christ encourages you, and his love comforts you. God's Spirit unites you, and you are concerned for others. 2Now make me completely happy! Live in harmony by showing love for each other. Be united in what you think, as if you were only one person. 3Don't be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. 4Care about them as much as you care about yourselves 5and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought: 6Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. 7Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us. 8Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross. 9Then God gave Christ the highest place and honoured his name above all others. 10So at the name of Jesus everyone will bow down, those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. 11And to the glory of God the Father everyone will openly agree, Jesus Christ is Lord! Lights in the world 12My dear friends, you always obeyed when I was with you. Now that I am away, you should obey even more. So work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved. 13God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him. 14Do everything without grumbling or arguing. 15Then you will be the pure and innocent children of God. You live among people who are crooked and evil, but you must not do anything that they can say is wrong. Try to shine as lights among the people of this world, 16as you hold firmly to the message that gives life. Then on the day when Christ returns, I can take pride in you. I can also know that my work and efforts were not useless. 17Your faith in the Lord and your service are like a sacrifice offered to him. And my own blood may have to be poured out with the sacrifice. If this happens, I will be glad and rejoice with you. 18In the same way, you should be glad and rejoice with me. Timothy and Epaphroditus 19I want to be encouraged by news about you. So I hope the Lord Jesus will soon let me send Timothy to you. 20I don't have anyone else who cares about you as much as he does. 21The others think only about what interests them and not about what concerns Christ Jesus. 22But you know what kind of person Timothy is. He has worked with me like a son in spreading the good news. 23I hope to send him to you, as soon as I find out what is going to happen to me. 24And I feel sure that the Lord will also let me come soon. 25I think I ought to send my dear friend Epaphroditus back to you. He is a follower and a worker and a soldier of the Lord, just as I am. You sent him to look after me, 26but now he is eager to see you. He is worried, because you heard he was sick. 27In fact, he was very sick and almost died. But God was kind to him, and also to me, and he kept me from being burdened down with sorrow. 28Now I am more eager than ever to send Epaphroditus back again. You will be glad to see him, and I won't have to worry any longer. 29Be sure to give him a cheerful welcome, just as people who serve the Lord deserve. 30He almost died working for Christ, and he risked his own life to do for me what you could not.
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was barren, with no form of life; it was under a roaring ocean covered with darkness. But the Spirit of God was moving over the water. 3God said, I command light to shine! And light started shining. 4God looked at the light and saw that it was good. He separated light from darkness 5and named the light Day and the darkness Night. Evening came and then morningthat was the first day. 6God said, I command a dome to separate the water above it from the water below it. 7And that's what happened. God made the dome 8and named it Sky. Evening came and then morningthat was the second day. 9God said, I command the water under the sky to come together in one place, so there will be dry ground. And that's what happened. 10God named the dry ground Land, and he named the water Sea. God looked at what he had done and saw that it was good. 11God said, I command the earth to produce all kinds of plants, including fruit trees and grain. And that's what happened. 12The earth produced all kinds of vegetation. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 13Evening came and then morningthat was the third day. 14God said, I command lights to appear in the sky and to separate day from night and to show the time for seasons, special days, and years. 15I command them to shine on the earth. And that's what happened. 16God made two powerful lights, the brighter one to rule the day and the other to rule the night. He also made the stars. 17Then God put these lights in the sky to shine on the earth, 18to rule day and night, and to separate light from darkness. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 19Evening came and then morningthat was the fourth day. 20God said, I command the sea to be full of living creatures, and I command birds to fly above the earth. 21So God made the giant sea monsters and all the living creatures that swim in the sea. He also made every kind of bird. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 22Then he gave the living creatures his blessinghe told the sea creatures to live everywhere in the sea and the birds to live everywhere on earth. 23Evening came and then morningthat was the fifth day. 24God said, I command the earth to give life to all kinds of tame animals, wild animals, and reptiles. And that's what happened. 25God made every one of them. Then he looked at what he had done, and it was good. 26God said, Now we will make humans, and they will be like us. We will let them rule the fish, the birds, and all other living creatures. 27So God created humans to be like himself; he made men and women. 28God gave them his blessing and said: Have a lot of children! Fill the earth with people and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and every animal on the earth. 29I have provided all kinds of fruit and grain for you to eat. 30And I have given the green plants as food for everything else that breathes. These will be food for animals, both wild and tame, and for birds. 31God looked at what he had done. All of it was very good! Evening came and then morningthat was the sixth day.
1Dear friends, I love you and long to see you. Please keep on being faithful to the Lord. You are my pride and joy. Paul encourages the Lord's followers 2Euodia and Syntyche, you belong to the Lord, so I beg you to stop arguing with each other. 3And, my true partner, I ask you to help them. These women have worked together with me and with Clement and with the others in spreading the good news. Their names are now written in the book of life. 4Always be glad because of the Lord! I will say it again: be glad. 5Always be gentle with others. The Lord will soon be here. 6Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. 7Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel. 8Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don't ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise. 9You know the teachings I gave you, and you know what you heard me say and saw me do. So follow my example. And God, who gives peace, will be with you. 10The Lord has made me very grateful that at last you have thought about me once again. Actually, you were thinking about me all along, but you didn't have any chance to show it. 11I am not complaining about having too little. I have learnt to be satisfied with whatever I have. 12I know what it is to be poor or to have plenty, and I have lived under all kinds of conditions. I know what it means to be full or to be hungry, to have too much or too little. 13Christ gives me the strength to face anything. 14It was good of you to help me when I was having such a hard time. 15My friends at Philippi, you remember what it was like when I started preaching the good news in Macedonia. After I left there, you were the only church that became my partner by giving blessings and by receiving them in return. 16Even when I was in Thessalonica, you helped me more than once. 17I am not trying to get something from you, but I want you to receive the blessings that come from giving. 18I have been paid back everything, and with interest. I am completely satisfied with the gifts that you asked Epaphroditus to bring me. They are like a sweet-smelling offering or like the right kind of sacrifice that pleases God. 19I pray that God will take care of all your needs with the wonderful blessings that come from Christ Jesus! 20May God our Father be praised for ever and ever. Amen. 21Give my greetings to all who are God's people because of Christ Jesus. The Lord's followers here with me send you their greetings. 22All God's people send their greetings, especially those in the service of the Emperor. 23I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless your life!