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A skill every child should learn is how to be aware of their surroundings. Some awareness skills we are naturally born with, instinct. However, if you really want to succeed in life, you must learn it and pay attention to it. This life lesson can not only save their lives, but it enhances their ability to succeed in communication, life skills, and survival in many different situations. I’ll teach you how to help your child and yourself become more aware of using your eyes and ears. Check out my tips below.

Gone fishing

CTFishon

“Shh…walk softly on the dock, we don’t want to scare the fish,” my dad instructed. It was a summer morning. The lake was like glass, not a movement of wind. Today, at seven years old, I was going to learn how to fish. And the most important fish skill of all: awareness.

We got into our boat, started the motor, and trolled to our fishing spot. My dad whispered instructions on how to bait the hook. He showed me how to adjust the bobber, and he demonstrated how to be quiet watching for signs of a hungry fish.

I wasn’t just learning how to fish; I was learning how to become more aware of my surroundings.

What exactly does it mean to “be aware”?

Wikipedia explains it like this: Awareness is the ability to directly know and perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, thoughts, emotions, or sensory patterns.

As the world drives to go faster, to be aware of what’s going on around us and in us is being ignored. This can get us into trouble. We get so focused on our to-do lists, phones, and work that we forget to stop and look around to see what’s happening in our relationships, our children, and our overall path in life.

To be aware is a skill

There were two major events that helped me understand how important it was to be aware of my surroundings. One was fishing. The other was when I endured a rare sickness.

The sickness

Awareness doesn’t come naturally; it is a skill that can be learned or in some cases forced. Not too long ago I felt that force…not Luke Skywalker ‘force’, more like the ‘dark side’. My body suffered, so much so, the tiniest movements made me fall ill. For months on end, I was continually nauseous and weak. Have you ever heard of muscle wasting? That’s when your body eats itself because you’re not getting enough nutrition from food. That was happening to me. I couldn’t keep much food down, yet alone fluids. It was hard for others to understand what I was going through.

What I noticed while going through this torturing sickness was the love and compassion of others. Never had I paid attention to it before because I wasn’t the receiver of it. I became instantly more aware of how powerful a card was, how impactful a visit was, how humbling a listening ear was, and how a small smile from a stranger made me feel.

Not only that, I also became more aware of the power and reality of spiritual presence.  My faith grew stronger every day I suffered; I became more aware of His grace and protection. But I had to seek Him to get it. If I hadn’t endured this suffering my eyes would have missed these little gems of light in our broken world.

How to be aware with your eyes and ears

Open your eyes

This skill of awareness starts with using your senses.

click for details

The simple exercise helps us to pay attention to even the smallest details. Do you know those “Hidden Picture” games in kid magazines? Or the Where’s Waldo books? These games are great exercises for enhancing our skills of paying attention. I would qualify myself as a Master Finder, not only in these games but in finding things around the house. Having the challenge to find something is gets me going. My dream vacation would be to hunt for buried treasured or go to a goldmine!

Want one?

Lately, my 11-year-old son is in that phase of asking me where everything is. My answer varies from, “It’s your responsibility to keep track of your own stuff” to “If you can’t find it, you can’t have it.” When in fact the item he is looking for is literally right in front of his face. I’m not trying to be mean by not helping him find it, I’m trying to teach him the skill of looking, to be aware. He obviously needs to brush up on this skill.

Tips

Tip #1: when finding certain objects whether it be inside or outside is to look for a piece of the object, not just the whole thing. Rarely is the entire object going to be visible? Look for a part of it. This technique works for fishing and hunting too.

Tip #2: envision yourself finding it. What reaction will you have? Will you pause and whisper to yourself that you found it or will you yell in excitement? Visualize yourself finding the object.

Tip #3: Lastly, but firstly, pray to God in helping you find whatever it is that you’re looking for. He knows exactly where it is, why not ask him to help you find it. Most importantly, listen for his ques and hints of where to look.

Use your ears

Like using your eyes, use your ears too. Ears come in handy when it’s dark or when you’re lost in the woods. Have you heard the lesson about listening for the road when you’re lost in the woods? How about listening for a car coming when you’re riding your bike on the road?

I’m a fan of the show ‘Naked & Afraid’. I hate to publicly admit that, but it’s a great show to teach us about awareness. The nakedness part could go away, I don’t like to see people’s exposed. Yet, because they are nude I think their awareness of their surroundings enhances. They feel vulnerable and their senses are on overdrive.

In this show, it seems at night is when they get the most freaked out. I don’t blame them. The noises they hear when they can’t see become so much bigger and uncertain that panic nestles in.

As in walking down the street. Using our ears helps us hear when someone is coming up behind us. Walk signs now have beeps to tell us when to walk. And horns on cars tell us something too.

I didn’t even mention Mother Nature, but we can learn a lot about the noises she makes.

Tips with hearing

Tip #1: If you’re in a strange place, unplug the earbuds. Pay attention to the sounds around you.

Tip #2: If you’re having a conversation with someone, listen to what they’re trying to tell you. There is more behind the words they say. Like when I was enduring the sickness. People understood that what I was really telling them was that I felt alone and needed comfort. Be aware of what they’re really trying to say, then act on it.

Tip #3: As in fishing or hunting, use your ears for clues of where they are. Is there a splash in the water? Are there leaves rustling or twigs snapping?

In conclusion

Be aware of the peace that is offered daily by nature, the kindness that is freely given by others, and the small blessings that are awarded without reason. I encourage you to stop and look around; for I know you’ll be amazed by what you see and find.

By CT Copyright © 2016 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

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