Back in the mid-1980s, I took driver’s education at school. Along with quizzes over the driver’s manual and rare days behind the wheel, we watched movies about driving. Many of the educational films included variations on the same scene: a ball bounces into the street and, in a few seconds, is followed by a small child. An announcer would then remind viewers that alert drivers are safe drivers. The lesson stuck. Whenever I’m driving and I see a ball roll into the street, I automatically tap my brakes lightly. When we are alert to our surroundings, we can anticipate what might happen and be prepared for it. Being alert can also prove useful in our personal relationships—being alert to the feelings of others can help us to choose our words carefully. Being alert also helps us look for and praise family members for displaying good character.
The ring-necked pheasant survives by remaining alert to the actions of predators. Pheasants originated in Asia and were introduced in North America during the 18th century. The birds now inhabit a widespread area of Canada and the United States. Pheasants build their nests on the ground, making them particularly vulnerable to predators like coyotes, foxes, and wolves. The pheasants must stay alert and vigilant to guard their nests and eggs.
With vacation season beginning, many of us will travel by car or plane, and that usually involves waiting. To fill the time and focus on alertness, play games that enhance attentiveness. The following games require nothing but time.
- I Spy—one player picks an object everyone can see and gives the other players hints about what it is. “I spy something red.” The other players ask the spy questions and guess what the object is. The first one who guesses correctly is the new spy. For a variation, particularly in a moving car, pick a few random objects or images and see who can be the first to spot them.
- Sound Selector—each player is absolutely quiet and identifies as many sounds as possible. This game works particularly well if you are standing in line or waiting at the airport. You might hear mechanical sounds, intercom announcements, people speaking in a foreign language, or music playing.
Gayleen Rabakukk is a freelance writer who spends her time in Edmond keeping up with her teenage and preschool daughters. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Central Oklahoma and is a regular contributor to MetroFamily Magazine.