Misplaced Focus

The kids were fascinated. Their attention and focus was on the simple black push button on the display. There was no label at the button. Just a push button.

I volunteered for some community service yesterday serving as a guide and teacher for one of seven displays at the Shelby County Historical Museum. Each year, the Museum has a display that all the schools in the county bring their 5th graders to tour.

I serve as a volunteer for a sorority (go figure). My wife is the president of the local educators’ sorority, Delta Kappa Gamma. Finding volunteers is a sorority project. Guess who gets to help?

So, as I guided the students around the 3-part display explaining about how and why people came to North America in the 17th and 18th Centuries, I got to the third panel about the group who didn’t choose to come–African slaves. Facing them was a picture of children who would have been on a ship. And the button.

They noticed right away. “What’s that button?” I had 14 small groups. At least half of the groups had kids that were poised to hit the button. A couple got into a contest of hitting the button over each other. I had to put a stop to that. Several just came close and sort of leaned toward it. They didn’t hear a word I was saying.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about observing my grandson and how he had trouble controlling his urges–specifically to annoy his sister.

It’s the same thing. But these kids were 11, not 6. Most could restrain their urges (except for a couple). They were growing up.

But their attention and focus were completely diverted from the lesson.

Ever go to church or a lecture and notice something about a person in front of you? Maybe the tag is out on the dress or sweater? Maybe they didn’t get their hair combed in the back? Something that captured your focus to the detriment of hearing the speaker?

Part of growing up is noticing that our focus is on the wrong thing and intentionally bringing it back to where it should be. We conquer the urges and focus where it matters.

Throughout Scriptures, writers and teachers remind people to put their focus first on God. Then good things happen to your soul.

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