"Hear, O sons, a father's instruction,
and be attentive, that you may gain insight."
"Get wisdom, get insight, do not forget,
and do not turn away from the words of my mouth."
Some of the grandchildren have a tendency when they have been told to do something and didn't respond to say, "I didn't know," or "I forgot," or "You didn't tell me." Actually we all tend to do that in one form or another, don't we? And unfortunately sometimes we do forget. Attentiveness, I believe, is key in obtaining insight and wisdom.
I have a daughter who seems to see everything around her at once. She can tell you what Mrs. Smith wore to church 3 weeks ago, what a particular garden looked like among 30 others, and can go somewhere in the dark and drive there again the next day. (She did that once in Miami, and the destination was 50 miles away!)
I must say that I am not so fortunate as to have learned attentiveness so well. I must memorize directions in order to get out of a box--a small one! I must focus on what someone says or I'll forget it soon thereafter. These verses of Scripture say much to me.
From Mr. Noah Webster again. "Attentive: Heedful; intent; observant; regarding with care. It is applied to the senses of hearing and seeing, as an attentive ear or eye; to the application of the mind, as in contemplation; or to the application of the mind, together with the senses abovementioned, as when a person is attentive to the words, the manner and matter of a speaker at the same time."
In order to apply wisdom, it appears that there are some very important things I must do. Attentiveness does not just happen with me.
1. I must heed what is being told me. "Heed: To mind; to regard with care; to take notice of; to attend to; to observe." In other words, it must be important to me that I learn. One way for it to become important to me is to realize the consequences of both heeding and not heeding. The Proverbs is a great place to begin to see those consequences.
2.I must have intent. "Intent: Literally, having the mind strained or bent on an object; hence, fixed closely; eager in pursuit of an object; anxiously diligent;" In order to have wisdom, I must want to hear and know and focus enough to make it happen.
3. I must be observant. A cursory glance or a half-listening ear just won't cut it. I must take the time to not only see and hear the words but to discover what is being said and the intent of the saying of it.
4. I must regard it with care. How important is it to me that I learn what my Father is saying? How important is it to you, children, to learn what is being told you by your parents that God gave you? Do I care what God has to say to me through His Word and the proper teaching of others? If so, then I will hear with listening ears.
5. I must use my eyes, my ears, and my mind as I focus on what is being taught or told me. My whole heart must desire to learn and gain wisdom and insight. Does hearing and obeying one's parents help a child to develop wisdom? You bet it does!
Let's look at God's Word, at the teachings of the Holy One, with attentiveness so that we do not forget or forsake.
Learning attentiveness (in my old age),