Generosity: Attention

May 13, 2015

Attention

Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity. – Simone Weil

Although these words were written well over half a century ago, they apply to our world today. We rush along through life trying to do so many things at once and are bombarded by a thousand different distractions every day. It seems like such a simple thing, but when our time is limited, giving our time and attention to someone else truly is one of the highest forms of generosity.

Not only do we have a limited amount of time to give, but so often when we are with others, we fail to give them our full attention. We all have that friend who checks a cell phone every other minute during brunch together (and some days we are that friend). It’s never pleasant to feel unimportant and uninteresting.

I know that you are busy in a world that seems to increase in pace without cease.

But, you do not have to do everything. You get to choose what is important to you.

Let’s choose to spend our time with each other—with our families, our friends, our neighbors, and our communities.

We can start with small, every day activities.

  • Visit a friend who is sick.
  • Send a card in the mail to a loved one.
  • Do a favor.
  • Read with a child.
  • Share a meal.
  • Invite a neighbor over.
  • Write a thank-you note.
  • Volunteer with a group of friends.
  • Call someone who might be lonely.
  • Really listen when someone talks.
  • Host a potluck.

What will you choose? How will you be generous with your attention?

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