¡Paga Atención! (Spanish)

By Mary Hunt Webb

Posted Saturday, August 6, 2011

In all the classes that I’ve have taken and taught, I have often heard students say, “If I’d known there was going to be a test, I would have paid more attention!”

As a teacher, this statement always mystifies me. Why did they think the information was given to them if they weren’t going to be tested for their retention of it?

During my years as an undergraduate student, I only had one class that did not have written tests of any sort. It was an upper level education class for teachers.

An image of students and their instructor in a park.

At the time, I did not understand the loose structure of the class or the relaxed discussion method that the professor used for instruction. Our participation in class discussions and the term papers we wrote determined the grades we received. A few years later, I came to understand that the professor knew that the true test of our knowledge would come much later.

An image of a class ring.

There was a test for that class. Our professor did not administer the exam; our students did. The true challenge of our knowledge came after graduation when we had to apply in the classroom what we had learned about imparting information to others. I can assure you that the tests our students gave were much more difficult than any that the professor might have composed. Beyond the fundamentals of education methods, the strongest lesson that class taught me is that there is always a test!

It doesn’t matter what is happening around you right now, there will be a test on the information that you are acquiring today and every day. The biggest problem is that most people don’t understand that basic principle. They don’t realize that education does not end with graduation. Therefore, they coast through life without paying close attention to what is going on each moment.

Then, when the test of that knowledge comes later, they are unprepared. They invariably echo the sentiments of students: “If I had known I was going to need that information later, I would have paid more attention!” “If I had known I was going to have to teach music to my children (grandchildren), I would have worked harder at my music lessons!” “If I had known that I was going to have to repair my own faucet, I would have paid more attention when my dad fixed ours!” “If I had known I was going to have to feed unexpected guests, I would have helped my mother prepare dinner when relatives surprised us with a visit.”

An image of wrenches hanging on a peg board.

When the need arises, we can only survive if we remember those lessons that played in front of us. When our children ask us how to read music, we can only answer those questions if we paid attention to those lessons we took. When our faucet does not work, we can only repair it if we recall how Dad dealt with it. When a son or daughter brings home four friends for the evening meal without prior warning, we can only put together a dinner at the last minute if we remember how Mom fixed a similar one under such circumstances.

Life is the school in which God is preparing us day by day for the future that He has planned for us. As long as we are breathing, we are students in the college of life. Instruction continues regardless of whether or not we want it.

Life goes so much better when we stay alert and pay attention to the instruction that God sends our way.

An image of a man in cap and jeans.

Proverbs 16:20 “Whoever listens to what is taught will succeed, and whoever trusts the Lord will be happy.”
         (New Century Version)

Proverbios 16:20 “El entendido en la palabra hallará el bien,
         Y el que confía en Jehová es bienaventurado.” (Reina Valera 1960)

All photos are courtesy of

Return to the top of the page