An image that I never tire of seeing is a parent and child face to face focused on each other. Playing around or having a conversation – they are engaging, relating, choosing to focus on this other person that they value, love.
Whether we’re astute multi-taskers or not, it’s so tempting to merely listen to our child WHILE we are doing something else. Of course, we have to do this sometimes – or there would be no meals, clean dishes, clean laundry, or any semblance of order in our home. And if we are employed and work from our home, this is even more challenging!
We want our children to look at us when we’re talking to them. Do we want this to be a rule, or part of a definition for what it means to engage with someone. Do our actions support our requirement? Do we look at them when they’re talking to us?
I had to realize that my behavior was contributing to their behavior of not looking at me when we were talking. I was humbled. I prayed for God’s help to change my habits and then I became more intentional to stop what I was doing or at least pause occasionally to look into the eyes of my child as he talked. An interesting thing happened.
My children began to look at me, too, when I talked. No rule was spoken. They were learning the behavior by my example, and God was at work in all of us.
Looking at our children when they talk communicates value, respect, interest, and love. We are demonstrating that they matter more. They see that we want to know, to try to understand, even if we end up disagreeing.
The eyes say more than the voice. Looking, I SEE more accurately what he’s feeling or how he’s doing. When I look into their eyes, I see my child – not the circumstance or any history that’s between us.
God’s eye is always on us and our children. He sees our hearts and knows are minds. He sees our children as they are excited, peaceful, joyful, in pain, confused, depressed, afraid…
He wants us to see more. As we abide in Him, we will. As we look into their eyes more often, He will give us insight about what we see.
Look, with love. Pray. Listen.