Topic | Habit of Attentiveness

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  • carlastout

    Hello Sonya and All,

    During one of Sonya’s workshops (in Charlotte, NC) she mentioned that while working on one, specific habit a good idea would be to read books that have characters who display that habit.  Does anyone know of  good living books that might display the habit of attentiveness in its storyline?  I have 3 children of various ages, but would like to use this as a family read-aloud.  I have a 13 yo ds, a 12 yo dd, and a 5 yo dd.  They all enjoy being read to…thank goodness!

    Thank you,


    Sonya Shafer

    I’m not sure that I can think of a book that focuses on attentiveness, but there should be examples of it scattered through many classic books (or examples of inattentiveness and its consequences). One example came to mind from Little Town on the Prairie: when Laura flawlessly did the mental math during the school exhibition. She heard the math problem once and had to solve it in her head in front of everyone.

    I’m sure you’ll find examples here and there as you read through favorite books.

    Can anybody else think of some examples? It seems like a good spy/war book would contain some instances of having to remember codes and passwords and secret messages and such.


    Hi Carla,

    Do you have your reading list for the year?  I’ll bet if we took a look we’d be able to pick out the habit of attentiveness and/or consequences due to lack of attentiveness in some of those books.  

    For example, we did Module 1 Genesis through Deuteronomy & Ancient Egypt last year. Our children are just grades 1-3 but I’m pretty sure you will see the same in the upper grade level books. Boy of the Pyramids shows lots of examples of attentiveness that lead to solving a mystery and how the two children were in a dangerous situation due to their father’s lack of attentiveness (don’t want to spoil the story).  The Bible is full of examples of what happens when we (or the children of Israel and Pharoah during this study) are attentive to God’s Word and when we aren’t.   

    One of my favorite examples of attentiveness is in The Arabian Nights when the robber captain, in disguise, goes to Ali Baba’s home with the intent of murdering him.  When they sat down to eat, Morgiana notices their guest took no salt.  In that land, salt was valued so highly that even the wickedest person could never do someone harm once he had shared salt with him.  She guessed that he was either not from their land or was intent on doing evil.  She then studies his face throughout the meal until she is able to recognize him though he is disguised.

    Now that I’m thinking about it, how about the O.Henry short stories?  or Father Brown or Sherlock Holmes for your older ones.

    Or Aesop’s Fables or Fables La Fontaine where you could read the short fable but stop before the end to have your children tell you (make a guess through their attentive listening) the moral of the story.  

    My thought is that you don’t want to be too heavy-handed (you want them to form the relationships) but maybe you could partner with them on the habit of attentiveness by asking them to look for occurrences in the story you are reading.

    We played a bit of a game in college when we were studying Stanislavsky’s method of acting.  He was famous for having a “storehouse” or filling the cupboards of his mind’s kitchen with things he could later use for performances.  Taking the same route everyday to class we had to report three new things we’d never observed before on this familiar route.  Maybe you could incorporate a game like this.  



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