Attend!

The hallmark of a living system is change, for to change is to grow.  If you’ve been a visitor to this site, you know that, to quote MisterRogers, “Everything Grows Together.”  And therefore, change has to happen simultaneously.  We can “think” we’re only going to change one thing.  But when we do that, we’ve unknowingly created a ripple effect of changes.

For example, let’s consider my desire to lose that bulge around my middle, and decide some regular exercise is what’s needed to accomplish that goal.  However, with a herniated disc in my back, sit-ups are just too dangerous.  The gym my kids work at has a great “crunch” machine, so I’m thinking I’ll go there for an hour three times a week.

But wait!  First, I have to buy a membership.  Then, I have to plan time to do this – do I go in the morning, or at night?  Since I’m on the road a lot, perhaps it would be better to do it in the morning on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  Or, if I’m not yet home on Friday morning, then I’ll go Monday morning.  But wait a minute – how “regular is that?”  And to get there when they open, that means getting up an hour earlier, which means making bed time an hour earlier, and…

You get the idea.

One of the things I like to see is how things change over time, especially meanings of words.  “Crunch” used to be a bad thing, since one was crunched for time, or someone’s car was crunched in an accident.  Now, it refers to an exercise to strengthen abdominal muscles.  Or how about the word, “swipe.” 20 years ago, to “swipe a card” meant to take an item from a greeting card store; now it’s what you do when you want to purchase something on credit.

As for the word “attend,” it comes from the Old French word, “attendre,” which means, “to heed.”   It’s what we should do to our “call” (from the Latin, “vocare,” vocation).  Not just hear, but listen…”attentively.”

While there are still several meanings to the word in the dictionary, the first one is the most commonly used definition today.  Today, it means “to show up”…for class, for an event, for a meeting. The more original meaning was that one had to show up in order to attend (what we refer to now as “pay attention”) to what is being presented (present – as in, “a gift that’s given,” “now” or even, “Here”).

So what does this have to do with Marketing?

1) Attend something this Lent.  Rather than just “giving up” something, rethinking what we’ve fallen into the habit of doing is what we’re actually called to do.  Perhaps a weekend retreat might be a great change of pace.  Maybe “unplug” for a weekend.

2) Attend to what’s happening in your school.  Pay attention to the things that you sometimes take for granted. What you consider to be ordinary may really be something quite extraordinary, and when their extraordinary, they’re remarkable.  And remarkable things are marketable things.

3) Just “attend” – be present to what God is saying.  We can do all the talking and asking when we’re praying, but real prayer is communication with God.  And if we don’t allow Him to talk while we listen, we’re not really praying.  That might be something new and “out of the ordinary,” but it’s very appropriate since we’re not in ordinary time for a while.

And, if it’s new, that means it’s a change from the old, and change is the hallmark of a living system.

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2010-2015 (Original Publication Date: 20050307)