Thursday, December 1 2022 - 11:03 PM
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Look at Me

When my children were very little, I discovered the importance of eye contact. This can result in behavior adjustment. Once past the age of nursing or being held in arms, little ones can be neglected for adult eye contact. They toddle around at knee or hip height, and often don’t connect face-to-face. Adults direct words at them, grab or punish them, but they miss eye contact. There is something very powerful about looking into someone’s eyes. It’s usually a bit harder to lie, yell, or ignore someone who looks in your face.

My spouse and children all have lovely blue eyes, yet I rarely see them. How often do you look at your children, parents, or spouse in a day? Even if we walk together, ride home in the car, or watch TV together, we miss looking at each other’s faces and eyes. Few families eat together at a table, so they don’t look at each other in conversation at meals. Many of us spend hours with indirect communication, telephones, e-mails, Facebook (what face?), Twitter, etc. Ever observe business transactions taking place while the payer is talking on a phone, ignoring the clerk? After a day of that, some employees must feel like “chopped liver.”

The Importance of Eye Contact

The emotional infilling connected to eye contact can work in many ways. Eyes are used to flirt, threaten, and avoid. And meanings can change with one’s culture. Yet, I would guess that most of us are missing the eyes. There is a depth to intimacy and trust that is lost when we skip eye contact. Physicians and counselors are often trained to sit down when speaking to their clients—looking at their level conveys warmth and concern.

It’s evident in the Gospel stories that Jesus did not have to look at someone to provide healing for them. On several occasions, He merely spoke, and a person at a distance was healed. Yet, He often looked and touched, speaking to someone who needed forgiveness or healing.

Consider it a ministry this week to look into the eyes of people. Not staring, glaring, or tempting, but letting them know they exist—they matter.

Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:

1. Remember when eye contact made a difference in one of your relationships.

2. Try looking into the eyes of someone you trust for 30 seconds without speaking. What did you notice? How did you both react?

If you enjoyed this, you might like, Learning to Listen.

Karen Spruill writes from Florida.

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About Karen Spruill

Karen Spruill

writes from Orlando, Florida.

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