Being raised by those two generations older than me, one becomes accustomed to the do’s and dont’s, in’s and out’s. Especially when it comes down to “children should be seen and not heard”. My grandmother called he piercing glare “the look”.
When ever we were overly rambunctious, we would get “the look”. When ever we interrupted adult conversation, we would get “the look”. When ever we were doing anything she didn’t like in church, we would get “the look”.
the glare had re-enforcement
In order for “the look” to work, one had to associate it with a future outcome. Very early on, we as kids came to appreciate what that outcome would be. It usually involved a willow switch, hand across the face, being sent to bed, grounded…. all of which were undesirable to us youngsters.
I remember my little sisters first encounter associating “the look” with its unpleasantness. She was around 4 or 5 and liked to go near the road. One day my grandmother told her not to cross the road or she would whip her all the way back. “The look” was in full display on my grandmother’s face as I had never seen it before.
My little sister had the cutest drive and determination. He little black eyes shining with eagerness to discover. She challenged everything, and she went big this time! My little sister not only went near the road, she crossed it and got a considerable ways down the gravel road that was across from my grandparents home!
It seemed like only a few seconds when my grandmother made the discovery that my sister was hightailing it down the gravel road. She went to the willow tree, found herself a nice long switch, told me to get in the car and on down the gravel road we went.
When we approached my little sister she seemed pretty pleased with herself. My grandmother stopped the car and ordered me to drive (I was 7 or 8). My grandmother got in the passenger side and commenced to whipping my sister all the way back to the house. When I got to the intersection my grandmother got back behind the wheel, I got in the passenger seat, my whaling little sister got into the back seat and we crossed the road a second time.
My sister never forgot that awakening moment and even chuckles about it today. She is an accomplished professor at he alma mater, teaching her craft of sonography. She was an honor student all through her education, even unto her masters degree.
The most I learned from “the look” was respect. Respect for my elders, for discipline, and to do as asked without being asked a second time. As a kid, I came to be grateful for “the look”; I received the message without there having to be an embarrassing moment in front of others.
A lost art
Kids today do not have the value that “the look” or a simple glare gives. It’s obvious and sad that they are not privy to a simple life changing correction such as a glaring look. But even as history repeats itself, so will the art of the glaring look. We’ll know when that day comes.