The Importance of Attention

My father was a complete luddite (someone who does not understand technology); my twin sister, Regan, is a complete geek and went on to be an IT professional. My father valued higher education; my twin sister (ironically the smartest of all of us siblings) never finished college. You can imagine then that my father had a hard time relating to my sister. But one of the fondest memories I have of my father, was when he tried to understand her world. Regan, about age 22, had just starting to work at Microsoft, setting up email accounts and servers for the already large company. My father didn’t understand and yet for about 90 minutes sat asking her question after question, nodding his head while she went on and on with all kind of technical jargon. I knew that he wasn’t following her. Heck, I had a hard time following her! But he kept puffing on his pipe, nodding his head, giving her his complete undivided attention. This was how my father showed his love: by giving you his attention.

I remember the importance of attention whenever someone wants to talk to me, especially on Sunday mornings. Sunday morning is often a tough time to get my attention. Before the service, I’m usually focused on the upcoming Worship Service. And after the service, I’m often mentally exhausted. But when someone comes up to me, often to make a comment about the service, ask a question, or update me on their lives, I try to make sure they have my undivided attention, if even for just a few moments. There might be 2 or 3 people waiting to talk with me, but I want the person to know that I care about them and what they are saying. I hope, I pray, that no one has ever felt anything less than my attention on Sunday morning. Attention, after all, is one of the ways that I was taught by my father to say, “I love you.”

This church, as always, has my undivided attention.

Rev. Sian