Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Long before I knew of the Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, the principal and public address system piped these words into every classroom of Saint Thomas the Apostle School at Townsend and Miller, on Detroit east side:

"Your attention please!"


"The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention," that revered Buddhist said.

My entire class of 56 fifth graders also gave fullest attention as Sister Mary Valerie's voice boomed out from her office into our ears.

After all, the leader of our school was speaking.

Sister deserved our attention, unlike today, when common courtesy and the common good seem gone the way of dinasaurs.

A litany list of current events voiced through, including special visitors to our school, a reminder to worship this weekend and to bring a copy of the weekly bulletin as proof of our participation at community Mass.

Full, active and consciously we participated in the life of the family and parish.


How often does it happen in today's high-tech, less personal and highly dysfunctonal days at most levels, including family and goverment structures?

For my part, as we mark this Thanksgiving Day, I can vow attention to each person standing or sitting before me.

And, I promise a little attention to my elderly neighbors who struggle for life as much as turkey and deer do these days.

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