Our eyes speak volumes. Most of the time, we can communicate all we need to with a glance and a facial expression. And, that can be a great thing if you are in a business meeting, a class, a concert, or a church service (couldn't resist).
But, I've learned that I have got to be as careful with what my eyes communicate to others as I am about the words I choose to speak to them. Especially my kids.
I read a book last year entitled How to Really Love Your Child by D. Ross Campbell. For the most part, the book is filled with practical advice for parents who want to raise disciplined children with love. Much of the information Campbell shares is common sense. But, one of the chapters that really gripped me was where he talked about "loving eye contact."
He points out that many parents only choose to make eye contact when disciplining their kids. So, the only time the child's and parent's eyes connect is when mom or dad gets down in their face and says something like, "Look at me RIGHT NOW," or "Look at me when I am talking to you!!" How inviting do you think that is for a child who doesn't receive LOVING eye contact?
Campbell points out that eye contact with punishment damages the relationship between the parent and child if the child never (or rarely) receives eye contact in a gentle and encouraging way.
Additionally, kids who never receive loving eye contact will grow up to be teens and adults who are insecure and will not make contact with others. We all know kids and people like this, don't we? They are the ones who drop their heads or look away any time you try to have a meaningful conversation with them.
So, if you're a parent, make it a point this week to invest in your child's emotional health by choosing to look them in the eye and smile. Make it a habit of speaking uplifting and encouraging words to them as you look into their eyes.
Read these words, found in Matthew 6:22-23, and think about how our eyes can bring either hope or destruction to those around us:
"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!