How many times have you heard the words “Pay Attention?” I am guessing frequently since you were a child in school, learning how to drive, from your parents, and possibly even your bosses. You may now even say “Pay Attention” to the children in your life. Paying attention, however, means more than just sit up and take notice. Sometimes if you pay attention to your surroundings you can avoid bodily harm. It is certainly very important in driving or even riding a horse. I heard a story today that I had heard once before. It was about a group of applicants who had applied for a job at a Western Union office. There were many people looking for work and after waiting for a over one hour, one last person arrived. He took an application and was clearly paying attention to the sounds around him. Finally, he stood up and opened the door to the inner sanctum of the office. A few minutes later he reappeared with the manager of Western Union. The manager announced that this bright lad was hired and the remaining applicants could go home. The people waiting were furious. One of them spoke up and said he was the last to arrive and all the others waiting should have had the opportunity to interview. The manager said that they hadn’t been paying attention. While all of the applicants were sitting and chatting, the new person heard the message on the Western Union Telegraph. It said, “If you hear this and understand the sounds, come in through the door and you will be hired.” There are many times in my books when the characters pay attention to their surroundings. Sometimes its the children who notice a change in the weather, a huge black cloud, the reactions from animals and sometimes from other people. I have written several books using good observations and the weather as the basis for the stories. For example, in “The Cattle are Restless” a prairie dog scares a cow and the next thing you know all the cattle are following the scared cow off the path. Cory, Gus’s cousin, noticed almost immediately the cow’s reaction, and informs Joe Kelly the owner of the cattle that there may be a stamped. Of course, Cory saves the day by enlisting the town’s help. The next time you hear”Pay Attention” remember “The Cattle are Restless” might be the ideal book to teach a child the powers of observation.