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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Body Language (11/25/10)

TITLE: I’ve Got “The Look”
By Lynn Moses


All of us use body language to communicate with those around us. A highly sophisticated form of body language, often considered to be a secret weapon by many mothers, is frequently administered to convey an imperative message to a child (or possibly a spouse, but that is another story). The message is “Stop that now!” This variety of body language uses mainly the face and is often fondly referred to as “The Look”. You know “The Look”. It’s the one your mother gave you when you were over at your Dad’s boss’s house for dinner and you gagged on the brussel sprouts. Or the time when you refused to kiss your Great Aunt Martha after Thanksgiving? You couldn’t help the way you reacted in those situations, and then all of the sudden your mother was giving you “The Look”! She didn’t have to say anything, even if she was clear across the room, you could still see “The Look” and you knew that you needed to stop whatever it was you were doing. Immediately!

Sometimes you weren’t even sure what you had done wrong, but you definitely knew something was wrong, very wrong. If you didn’t change your behavior quickly, “The Look” might turn into an incident with much more “Body Language” than you or anyone else wanted to see. If you were smart, you quickly learned how to avoid any situation that might bring about “The Look” and any collateral damage that might ensue.

Even though I didn’t like getting “The Look” from my mom when I was young, I have decided it is one of the finest skills a mother can develop. This form of communication works for me-especially now that I have two children of my own.

In my six short years in mommy training, I have perfected my glare, but unfortunately, I almost certainly look like my mother did when she gave me “The Look”. Even though it might make me appear somewhat unstable at inconvenient times, it is highly effective at stopping out-of-control behavior in children. I want to believe my twisted face to be invisible to any on-lookers (I wouldn’t want to embarrass myself), but more importantly I know it is clearly perceptible to the guilty child. Immediately after “The Look”, my child comprehends that something is very wrong in his little world and it will get exponentially worse if he doesn’t stop what he is doing. His face suddenly changes from one of young oblivious, foolishness to one of discriminating fear that his mother might be serious. He waits a few seconds as if to verify how truly dire the situation is. When he isn’t sure what he has done, his best strategy is to just freeze and hope that I won’t set eyes on him anymore. For his own survival it benefits him to realize, “I had better stop whatever is causing Mom to freak out.”

Now my child has also used body language to convey messages to me after I have given “The Look”. His face usually reads something like, “I am so scared that something bad is going to happen to me. Oh no, I might loose my Wii time. Now what have I done?” He does stop the objectionable behavior, but then the melancholy appears on his face and he is quiet.

“Finally, he is going to stop that annoying, embarrassing behavior!” I think to myself with motherly smugness because of my ability to get what I want with just the right look on my face. But has my communication been too callous?

Providentially, God has also given me and so many other mothers a compassionate and nurturing heart. When I see the gloomy face of my child, my heart is convicted. I don’t want to see my child fearful of me. I don’t want to drive a wedge in our relationship. I certainly don’t want to make him feel badly about himself. I just want him to understand.

So, I thank him for listening and obeying, reassure him I love him, and suggest we head out for ice-cream and some mother-son bonding time. The new expression on his face is the best form of communication for a mother. His smile tells me that he loves me too and that he can forgive me. I rejoice because, while I am not a perfect mother, I am not all bad either.

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This article has been read 279 times
Member Comments
Member Date
diana kay12/03/10
i enjoyed this and i know just what you mean about that "look"
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/05/10
I know the Look well. My mother was able to raise just one eyebrow. It was very effective. My eyebrows both have to go up together but my Look is one my kids know for sure. My husband is learning it too:)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/09/10
Congratulations for placing 6th in your level!