Okay, I’ll admit it. When my eight-year old chatterbox follows me around the house, I’ve been known to occasionally tune him out. He’s got an amazing imagination and is full of “what if” possibilities. (Hmm. Maybe a future inventor or author in the making?)

Yet, in the middle of my long to-do list juggling work responsibilities, household chores, cooking, and carpooling, I’m guilty of not paying attention. And that sends the message that he’s not important.

This week’s character trait to work on is attentiveness. Showing the worth of a person by giving undivided attention to his or her words.

I’m sure we all know what it feels like to be ignored, so the Golden Rule certainly applies here. But paying attention stretches beyond the feelings and worth of the speaker. The message could being delivered could be vitally important.

“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.” (Hebrews 2:1 NKJV) Words can communicate warnings, correction, instructions, solutions to problems, and encouragement on the difficult road. All things I need to hear!

As a young boy, Samuel heard a voice in the middle of the night and learned to pay attention to God’s message about the future of Eli’s family. (1 Samuel 3:1-21). Mary set an example for us all by sitting at Jesus’ feet and hearing His words (Luke 10:38-42). Jesus taught using stories or parables and often said, “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (See Matthew 11:15, 13:9; Mark 4:23)

I have two ears, but am I really listening?

What about you? Do you find it easier to pay attention to some people more than others? Why or why not? Could that change how you communicate?

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