Focus: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

Matthew 13:24-30 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition

On January 6th, we celebrated the Epiphany of the Lord. Can you imagine what it must have been like for the three magi travelling to Bethlehem? What would have been the outcome if they had lost focus? They might have wandered aimlessly and eventually have given up without the star to guide them and provide direction.

Focus is a strength that helps individuals to stay on track to reach their goals. People especially talented in focus tend to be very goal oriented. These goals help to guide and determine priorities just as the star guided the magi to Bethlehem. A team member, colleague, or classmate who is strong in focus is extremely important in accomplishing tasks since s/he is highly efficient when able to determine which actions are most likely to obtain goals and complete projects. The focused individual is also likely to be able to help others who begin to wander off-task back to what is most important. This ability to “cut through the chaff” helps everyone to make the most effective use of the time available.

Individuals high in focus might become impatient by delays, obstacles, or those who see alternative pathways. They might become frustrated when it seems that the content or ideas being generated are not taking the group in the right direction.

Teachers who are high in focus are able to quickly determine which outcomes are the most substantive and lead to the deepest most meaningful learning. They tend to be excellent curriculum mappers and pacers.

Students who are high in focus will need to help to develop patience and the ability to explain to others why their route should be considered and why it is efficient. These students also need to clearly understand outcomes so that they do not become frustrated by a lack of clarity. These students can be instrumental in a classroom – if they seem confused about tasks, chances are that the task does lack a clear focus and direction as even inquiry or project based tasks require clear scaffolding, timelines, and expectations. Learn more about the Focus strength in this video: