I remember a person who I worked with many years ago – a teacher – who, whenever children came up to her to ask a question, share something, say hello – she immediately turned to them and gave them her undivided attention – eyes warmly and directly upon them.

And I witnessed the response to this teacher’s power – for myself – and for the children who knew they were valued by her – cared for – listened to.

As parents, we often find ourselves using the most direct eye contact with our children when we are trying to discipline them – to make sure our point is heard – and understood. I get it – who hasn’t? But increasing being more available at other times – a gentler gaze, an interested gaze, a knowing gaze that says ” I’m listening and I care what you have to say” could change the equation.

I think in this digital age when our eyes are often on cell phones and computers, we do need to be more intentional about eye contact with others. And I know how often children have things they want us to hear about – like sometimes constantly. But I wonder – if they felt satisfied with being heard with a parent’s eyes more often – that stronger connection would satisfy and assure them of your caring and interest- and the constant need for attention would lessen.

For nothing says I love you more than focused eye attention when a child or spouse is speaking to you. (and that goes both ways, right?)

Try it – practice it – (you know it makes perfect) and experience the difference it might make – for all of you.

I’m listening.

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