Have you ever heard the old expression that our eyes are the window to the soul? Have you ever considered that you are expressing so much to your children every single time that they look into your eyes?

This week we are helping an 11-year-old boy, who traveled with his family from India, to be with here with us at the Autism Treatment Center of America. Now, our sweet friend has given us many green lights this week by looking at us. As a result, we have had many fun interactions! There are also times when our newest friend will place his hands on our face, in order to hold our gaze, and then he will stand and stare into our eyes. This will happen for up to 15 seconds at a time. During this time, he is very clear that he does not want us to move and he does not want us to grab a toy. In fact, if we try to start a game, he will pull us back and hold our faces again.

He simply wants to look into our eyes.

When he stops me and holds my face, I easily stand still and my only intention is to convey love and appreciation as I look back into his eyes. Every time he looks at me, I want him to see my eyes smiling back at him. I want him to see softness. I want him to see kindness. I want him to see love. I believe that he sees all of this and more! Most importantly, I believe that he sees a caring friend who is grateful to share that special moment with him.

Yesterday, after standing in front of one another and looking into each other’s eyes, he hugged me and then kissed me on the cheek while giggling. Now, I did not need anything in return from him in order to appreciate the moment that we were sharing. But, I was deeply moved by his own expression of appreciation, which also required no words.

The next time your child looks into your eyes, stop and ask yourself, what are my eyes expressing to my son or daughter right now? Joy? Appreciation? Love? Excitement? Peace? No matter what you are expressing, know that how you feel, when you are looking back into your children’s eyes, absolutely matters!

Written by Brandi Davis, Senior Son-Rise Program Child Facilitator