no indecision, a paradox, and nailing him
The opening sentences must be businesslike. There must be no indecision, no “puttering.” The teacher must leap at once to the hand-to-hand combat with the theme which tells his scholars that there’s purpose in it. The opening sentences may sometimes best catch the class by directly addressing one person in it, the most restless, indifferent one, and nailing him.
A paradox is good to begin with, some statement of the lesson theme so startling as to spur to discussion, possibly to opposition.
— Amos Russel Wells, chapter 9, “Getting Attention” in his Sunday-school Success : A Book of Practical Methods for Sunday-school Teachers and Officers (Fleming H. Revell Company, Publishers of Evangelical Literature, 1897) : 55 : link (Harvard copy)
same (LC copy via hathitrust) : link
The only way always to keep attention is always to be expecting to lose it.
from following chapter “Keeping Attention” p58 : link