“Weldon, pay attention to where you are going.”“Yes, Mom.” Weldon responded as he drew his attention to his sliding hooves.
He caught himself for the third time in just two minutes. He had trouble focusing on his footing. High up in the Rocky Mountains, tripping was dangerous. He could hurt himself or worse—fall off the mountain. Bighorn Sheep are supposed to be surefooted.
He sighed and planted his next step firmly. He was only a few weeks old and therefore not walking long. The other young sheep didn’t have near the trouble he did to stay upright. He told himself again to focus on his hooves.Fanny watched him closely as she walked behind him. She didn’t know what could be wrong. He looked strong and ran fine on the grassy areas and flat surfaces. But navigating the rocks and ledges seemed to be too tricky for him.
Fanny guided Weldon to her friend, Peaches, who had a lamb named Darnell. Weldon and Darnell jumped and played the rest of the afternoon. The two lambs liked to play together and had become strong friends.
The next day, a late snow storm blew in. The herd banded together against the cold fierce wind. Up high where they were, protection was hard to come by. Snow fell for two solid days, covering everything making it hard to forage for food. The herd decided to descend the mountain.
Weldon didn’t want to climb down on the slippery loose or jagged rocks. He hadn’t had good luck in the last few weeks staying on all fours. Weldon followed his mom trying to put his hooves where hers had been. He did well the first fifteen minutes, but soon his attention wandered to a hawk. He took his eyes off his hooves to the graceful soaring hawk. Weldon wondered what flying would be like. Flying seemed much easier than walking on the side of this mountain. That’s when it happened. He slipped! He was lucky, he fell toward his mom and she was able to block his fall. He dislodged rocks which tumbled, crashing down barely missing sheep below.
Fanny turned. “Weldon, what are you doing? You made rocks slide and could have hurt one of us.”
“I’m sorry, mom. A hawk caught my eye.”
“What hawk? Did it swoop at you?”
“No, the hawk was soaring through the brilliant sky.”
“Weldon, you need to pay close attention to what you're doing. You can’t be looking up or away when you are on these steep paths. Your steps not only affect where you go and how you arrive, but others also. If you miss-step and cause a rock slide, it may make the pass impossible to navigate or cause harm to others. I’m glad I got in your way or you would have followed the rocks down the mountain.”
Weldon hung his head. He felt sad. He didn’t want to trip or slide. He wanted to be like the other sure footed sheep. Most importantly, he wanted his mom to be proud of him. Weldon hated hearing lectures, even though he knew she said them out of love. He hadn’t tripped on purpose. His attention sped away, which happened frequently.
They went on. Soon, Fanny stopped and said she would go ahead of him and be under him on the path below in case he fell. In this way, she would catch him. This meant he wouldn't enjoy the comfort of her nearness. He didn’t understand her decision but didn’t question her. Silently he hiked on. The mountain was huge and it became apparent they had a long way to go.
Finally, he viewed a meadow. From his vantage point he saw the beauty of it. Grass and flowers seemed abundant. The snow was scarce. He got excited and trotted, creating a problem. His hooves got tangled and the next thing he knew, he was in a free-fall slide. He let out a terrible cry and crashed against his mom. She took most of the impact but couldn’t stand her ground and they both landed in a heap. One of her legs got twisted under her.Weldon got up and shook himself, trying to get rid of the debris of rock and dirt. “Mom, I’m sorry I fell.” He looked down at her. “Mom are you alright?”
“My leg is the problem. I’ll be alright. Give me a minute.”After what seemed like an hour to Weldon, she got slowly to her hooves. Fanny took a few tentative steps. She would be fine. Her leg wasn’t broken, but pain shot through her every step. Limping slightly she led the rest of the way down. Weldon watched her and took care not to trip. He didn’t look anywhere other than on her back legs and his own hooves. Weldon hiked down the last few hundred feet without incident.
When they reached the meadow, she said he could eat and play with his friends. He shook his head. He didn’t want to leave her side. Weldon knew his lack of attention had caused her injury and pain. He ate next to her and made sure she was alright. After a huge lunch on grass and a few flowers, he plopped down next to her.
“Weldon, I’m not angry with you—accidents happen. A lesson should be learned from this. What do you think it is?”He shrugged his shoulders. She was silent, so he knew she was waiting for his reply. “Well, I should have focused on where I was going.”
“I hurt you and I’m sorry.”“I forgive you son. Weldon, you need to realize what you do affects others. I haven’t been telling you to pay attention to make your life more difficult. I want you to be the best you can be. Imagination and observation are good things. There is a time for those—when you are resting. When a job is to be done such as navigating a difficult climb, you need to focus and have determination. You’ll never live up to your full potential if your mind easily gets pulled away from what you are doing. The task at hand needs to be given your full attention. In this way, you will grow up to be a powerful ram that can lead.”
Weldon wanted to grow up to be strong like his father. His huge father was a strong unique leader who was tuned in to the needs of the other bighorn sheep. Weldon saw him across the meadow standing tall and powerful. Weldon felt certain his father never tripped or messed up.
Fanny saw where her son’s attention had gone. “Your father tripped a few times in his young life, but he learned from his accidents. He learned to focus when needed. He takes time to appreciate the beauty around him. Also, he has a great imagination. Focus and imagination made him a strong leader, but it took time to fine tune them.”“Thanks Mom. I’ll work on both.”
“I’m proud of you Weldon. Right now, why don’t you work on developing your imagination? There is an owl in that tree that’s sound asleep. What do you think he’s dreaming about?”
Weldon’s smile spread as his imagination took flight.
Boys and girls, what do you think about our story of Weldon? Do you have trouble focusing? Do you get distracted easily? I worked on that when I was younger. It is a learned thing. Some people have more difficulty focusing than others. We need to be patient with people who are distracted easily. It’s our job when we get older or our parent’s job now to gently guide them to where they need to be. Maybe sharing this story could help.Not focusing is not paying attention.
When you don’t pay attention you miss things: Isaiah 42:20 Seeing many things, but you do not observe; opening the ears but he does not hear.Proverbs 4:1 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding.
If you need to learn to focus or increase your attention span—ask the Lord to help you. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.Memorize one or more of the above verses.
Verses in NKJV unless otherwise stated.