I got one of the best lessons in the benefits of positive attention from a Montessori teacher named Karen Leavesly . A number of us had started a cooperative Montessori school and the parents acted as assistant teachers. On one of the days I was there as an assistant teacher, I was helping to get the kids ready for lunch. I didn’t realize I was about to get a major lesson in how much kids respond to positive attention as I watched Karen get the kids started on sitting down just by noting who was in their chair. She was pointing out, for examples, that is Ben is in his chair, Kathy is getting her lunch, Mark is getting ready to sit down. They did and other kids followed suit. I joined in and pretty soon we had 20 kids sitting at the table ready to do lunch. This experience got my attention on how much you could do just by encouraging the positive direction, the positive movement. Kids respond hungrily to attention and it’s better to give them positive attention now, rather than to wait for them to demand some other kind of attention later. And the simplest is just a quiet moment with them or a hug.
It works for adults, as well, including ourselves. We need to find the positive movements in our lives, the ones that spark something in the people we love or those around us. For each one of us, taking a few minutes to be quiet allows us to settle into our experience and sense a movement that feels positive, that feels “right.” If we place our attention there, we will move in the direction we need to go.