Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Body Language (11/25/10)
TITLE: I’ve Got “The Look”
By Lynn Moses
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Sometimes you werenâ€™t even sure what you had done wrong, but you definitely knew something was wrong, very wrong. If you didnâ€™t change your behavior quickly, â€śThe Lookâ€ť might turn into an incident with much more â€śBody Languageâ€ť than you or anyone else wanted to see. If you were smart, you quickly learned how to avoid any situation that might bring about â€śThe Lookâ€ť and any collateral damage that might ensue.
Even though I didnâ€™t like getting â€śThe Lookâ€ť 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 â€śThe Lookâ€ť. 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 wouldnâ€™t want to embarrass myself), but more importantly I know it is clearly perceptible to the guilty child. Immediately after â€śThe Lookâ€ť, my child comprehends that something is very wrong in his little world and it will get exponentially worse if he doesnâ€™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 isnâ€™t sure what he has done, his best strategy is to just freeze and hope that I wonâ€™t set eyes on him anymore. For his own survival it benefits him to realize, â€śI had better stop whatever is causing Mom to freak out.â€ť
Now my child has also used body language to convey messages to me after I have given â€śThe Lookâ€ť. His face usually reads something like, â€śI 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?â€ť He does stop the objectionable behavior, but then the melancholy appears on his face and he is quiet.
â€śFinally, he is going to stop that annoying, embarrassing behavior!â€ť 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 donâ€™t want to see my child fearful of me. I donâ€™t want to drive a wedge in our relationship. I certainly donâ€™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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