Teaching Attentiveness

Now that I have shared why we are teaching character and how we are teaching character, I thought it might be beneficial to see the teaching a little more up close.  In posting these, my hope is that it will encourage you and also give you some ideas that you can incorporate into your family time.

During our first week, we focused on the quality of ATTENTIVENESS.

Definition, "I will"  statements, and verse we memorized during the week:

I used the definition straight from the Character First curriculum.  For the "I will" statements, I tweaked them a little. Each day we practiced our definition, our verse, and we focused on one of the "I will statements." I focused a lot on making sure the kids understood what the definition and statements meant, as well as gaining an understanding of how we could incorporate them into our lives.  For example, on the whiteboard photo pictured above, I drew a picture to help them understand what it means to give our "undivided concentration."  We did a lot of practicing these "I will" statements -- both in showing how to do them and how not to do them.  The kids especially loved acting out the latter.


Luke 10:38-41 (Mary and Martha).  We read the passage, talked about who was being attentive and who was being distracted, and then we acted out the scene.  The kids loved getting to play all the parts (which means we acted out the scene 5 times so everyone got to play every part!)

Mark 6:30-35 (Jesus feeds the 5000).  We talked about being eager listeners and how even when the people were hungry, they still sought after Jesus and listened carefully.  We also discussed how Jesus and the disciples were attentive to the needs of the people and realized that they needed to be fed.

Psalm 25:12-14

Matthew 2:1-12 (Story of the Magi).  We discussed how the magi had to follow the star for a long time to get to their destination. They had to be attentive to make sure they got to where they were going!


Silly Commands:  We played a game that was like Simon Says, but with a twist.  I would give silly commands and if my hand was on my lap, they had to do it, and if my hand wasn't on my lap, they didn't have to do it.  The point was for them to practice being attentive to details.

Talking to others: We practiced saying hi to people/introducing ourselves. We practiced looking people in the eye, responding to their questions, and making sure we listened to what they had to say.  The fun thing was, the day after we practiced this we had an opportunity to practice it.  We were at the school where Jason works and Caleb and I ran into the principal.  The principal said hi to Caleb and Caleb stopped, looked him in the eye, said hi, answered his questions, and then gave him a fist bump (the principal's greeting of choice!) As we left I told Caleb how good he did with being attentive and he said, "Well, it was easy...you had told me what to do.  If you don't tell me what to do, I won't know.  But since you told me, it was easy!"

Learning about deer:  We learned about the white-tailed deer and how attentive they are.  We learned about how deer LOOK, LISTEN, BLEND, and RESPOND.  We practiced these characteristics. We also read books about deer and did a coloring page.

Listening Ears: We made a pair of "listening ears" to remind us to listen well.  The kids had a lot of fun wearing them every day.

Magnifying Glasses: Using cardboard and Saran Wrap, we made magnifying glasses.  When you add a drop of water to the Saran Wrap, things are magnified. These were to help us remember to look carefully.

Treasure Hunt: By answering riddles that were placed around the house, the kids found a secret treasure.  This was to help them remember to read closely, think through things carefully, and then look intently.

Following the Magi: To go along with our story of the Magi, we played a "follow the star" game, similar to follow the Leader.

 At the end of the week, all the kids had the opportunity to recite their attentiveness definition, "I will" statements, and Bible verse.  They all did great (even Katie, who is three, was able to do most of it) and they each earned a "medal" for attentiveness.  The hope is that they will continue to earn more medals throughout the year. Getting out the glitter and making their own medals was probably their favorite part of the whole week!

Next stop: OBEDIENCE!

10 thoughts on “Teaching Attentiveness

  1. mountain mama

    i’m really enjoying your new blog! what a great inspiration you are, thanks!!!!!!

    btw, i’m doing a giveaway for a signed copy of “The Resolution For Men” to promote the upcoming release of “Courageous” if you’re interested.

    keep up the GREAT work!!!!! 😀

  2. Kellie

    Thank you for sharing your heart! I really love your blog.
    I was home schooled 4 th grade thru high school and, while it may not be for every family or every child, it was THE BEST thing my parents ever did for me. I am the oldest of 7 kids and we LOVED growing up being each others best friends!
    My oldest just turned 4 and I just cannot bring myself to send her to preschool….it is way to soon.
    This character series look great! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Janet Post author

      I love hearing from people who grew up in large families who loved it. So far, my kids seem to love it too. I hope and pray that it continues!

  3. Megan (glumirk)

    Thanks for your blog! Wow, it’s what I need! Both DH and I work with the kids at church, and are noticing how different kids are now than they were when we were kids, and it makes us worried about sending our kids off to school, or how we can raise our children better. Their parents are amazing people, but there are things that DH and I value that obviously aren’t even being approached by their parents or teachers. Attentiveness is one of them. Homeschool has definitely been on my mind, although it terrifies me. DS is 2 and DD is 3.5 months.

    Thanks, again. I may not comment much, but I love the wisdom that you have in raising your kids in righteousness. I definitely feel uplifted and am ready to take on age 2 for another day. 😉

    1. Janet Post author

      Hi Megan — I think that the more you work with kids, the more you will realize that just because families are Christians and they go to church, it doesn’t mean that they are being intentional and purposeful in their parenting. There are a lot of parents just winging it day to day and hoping (even praying) that their kids will turn out okay. But it takes so much more than that. It takes hard work, planning, giving up of our selfishness, and a total commitment to doing whatever it takes. Sally Clarkson just posted a GREAT post about this today — http://www.itakejoy.com/building-strong-foundations/. It isn’t easy, but the results are worth it!

      As far as homeschooling goes…don’t get scared. Give the thought time to sink in and realize that every day — if you are training your children — you are already homeschooling. Teaching our children at home is about living life WITH them and teaching them what they need to know. It is also claiming their time as time that YOU should be with them. When my daughter was in Kindergarten, she was in school. One day it dawned on me that her teacher spent twice as many waking hours with her than I did. And the hours I got were full of meals, baths, homework, etc. We had VERY LITTLE quality time. I knew it was time to pull her out. It was right for us.

  4. Hollie

    Just make sure you post your “lesson plans” for each one of these, and I will be good to go! I am going to steal every one of these awesome ideas!!!! Ah…I am so glad you are doing this. I hope someday you write and market your own curriculum. Every time I look at curriculum, I think, “Oh…I don’t know. This looks pretty good, but I am not sure it exactly what I am looking for.” It just always feels like something is missing. Or it’s disjointed or something. But this…this works. Thanks, Janet 🙂

  5. sherri

    Whoooo Hooo!
    I love your blog!!!
    I am so happy I decided to google attentiveness!
    I have this same program…and love it!
    I went through it with my older girls…awhile ago..and we are going to start it again next week!
    I look forward to following along on you blog!!!!

  6. Linda

    Hi Janet,
    I LOVE these ideas about teaching attentiveness. I would love to read about other character qualities you have covered with you children, but I didn’t find any when I did a search for “obedience” or others. Did I miss them?
    Thanks for sharing such great ideas!!


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