Perhaps I’m the only one, but, when I’m talking to someone, I like to make eye contact. Whenever possible, I like to look them in the face and would like to see them do the same. As a parent, I am trying to train this into our children. I want them to learn how to stop, look, and listen.
Often, when people are having a conversation, we are not really paying attention. We are hearing their words and mentally attempting to form a response which we plan to vocalize the minute the other person stops speaking. We are so anxious to participate in the conversation we aren’t paying attention to the other person at all. Do they really want a response? Is one even warranted?
One area which I definitely want to work on with my kids is open acknowledgement of other people. Sometimes our children speak to another person, but do so with their back turned or respond to an adult’s request without actually making eye contact. This bothers me. When someone is speaking to them, I want them to stop what they are doing (if this is possible) and truly look at that person. I want them to listen intently and then form a response, if one is warranted. When someone offers them something, I want them to respond with a “No, thank you.” or a “Yes, please.” while looking at the person!
How often have we spoken to someone who is staring off into the horizon? While it’s true they might be listening, it can also be frustrating. Are they really paying attention and being respectful? Especially when a response is required, looking at someone while listening and speaking is a polite gesture. Does this mean the person looking is always paying attention? (sigh) Unfortunately not; but it’s a first step.
It’s true; this isn’t a moral issue. One might even debate this is completely subjective and they would probably be right. It is a preference. However, it is my preference and therefore this is how I choose to train my kiddos.
Time to Chime In: How important is eye contact to you?