The Curries

The Curries
Keith and Patricia

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Discipline: The stern look

It was Sunday night in church. As usual a knot of youth were sitting together about half way back on the left. Six rows up, on the second pew sat out pastor’s little wife. She was the model pastor’s wife, sweet, business like, serious yet caring. While her husband was preaching, somebody made a noise that attracted her notice. She turned and looked at all of us. Her eyes were like a searchlight, her brow knit, her lips tight; the effect almost magical. That little group of youth were transformed into intense listeners for the rest of that meeting and she did it with a look. My junior English teacher had the look, my dad had the look.

Proverbs 20:8 makes this statement:

When a king sits on his throne to judge, he winnows out all evil with his eyes.

A person of authority has a certain ability to deal with wrongdoing with his eyes. Sometimes this is more effective than words because we open our mouths and show that we do not really know what is going on. As a young teacher in my first classroom, I came in from the hallway to find everyone in their seats preparing for class except for two boys. The bell had not rung and I had no real suspicions that they were doing anything wrong. I was curious; so I just looked at them. One of them saw me, said something to his friend and they went sheepishly seats. Whatever they were doing, their own consciences were provoked by my gaze.

Here’s the goal: develop a stern look. If you don’t know how, do this. Stand in front of a mirror, grit your teeth and press your lips together, narrow your eyebrows, and stare for five seconds. Practice this look of disapproval a few times and then at the right moment this week, try it on your kids. We would love to hear how it works for you.

Question for next week: What makes your discipline successful?