Eyes wide, lights shine: Teaching your kids to see others

Written by Kristi Hayes
Published on October 26, 2021

There is a saying I yell out the door each day to my kids …it’s “eyes wide, lights shine…” 

We said it so much that the carpool lady then started telling her kids, and the principal started asking my kids if their light shined that day. It caught on. 

And I loved that my kids were held accountable at school. We constantly tell our kids things every single day, and we just hope and pray an ounce of it sinks in. We just never know. 

Sometimes we say things until we are blue in the face and they never get it, and then sometimes they do. 

Beautiful moments and experiences

I say the eyes wide part at the beginning because I have noticed these days we just don’t pay attention like we used to. 

Our heads are buried in our phones, we don’t talk to strangers in the check out line, or look into the eyes of the person who takes our order at our favorite restaurant. 

Our eyes just don’t seem as open anymore, and when that happens we miss things, we miss people, we miss out on lots. Lots of mundane, special, beautiful moments and experiences to see and be seen.  

If your goal as a parent is to help your kids love others, love others compassionately, we have to show them, teach them, and be an example ourselves. But so many times we miss the mark. 

The one who never misses the mark in seeing others and loving others just as they are is Jesus. Point our kids to seeing through his eyes and they will always be pointed in the right direction. 

Light givers and receivers

My intention with this saying, eyes wide, light shine, is because I wanted them to make sure before they did their normal thing, like sitting down for lunch with their friends, or playing on the monkey bars at recess with their besties, that they scanned the lunchroom, the playground, the places that are so vulnerable for a new kid, a lonely kid, or someone just having a bad day. 

That’s where stuff goes down. I want to remind them to look, to see, to not miss others’ feelings. And when they see someone who might need a little extra shiny light on them, God’s light that shines through them, they go invite, come alongside, shine bright.   

Do they always do it—probably not. I mean no, they don’t—let’s be real they are kids and they are human like the rest of us. 

But I read that repetition is key. So I’m going to keep repeating this every morning and asking how Jesus’ light shined through them or how they received his light from someone else.  

It’s a beautiful thing. All of us being light givers and light receivers.  And one day my kids just might say, “My mom used to say this phrase every single day, ‘eyes wide, lights shine,’ and so we did.” 

Consider a few extra resources:

Hockey, Slurpees, and Jesus: Everyday faith adventures with our kids

Teaching Kids to Love Their Neighbor

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Kristi Hayes

Kristi is the wife of Grant, and mom to Holden and Carter Mae. She is the founder of Be Strong Story a company dedicated to helping others Be. Love in their communities. Her passions include helping families love and serve the most vulnerable. She is the author of her first children’s book called, The Lunchbox Note: A Story of Loving Others, based on her family’s true story, and hosts a weekly podcast called Be Love. do good. She is a frequent contributor with Today Parents, and loves walking alongside other parents. She has worked with families and youth for over 15 years. Other fun jobs have included working on Capitol Hill and the White House Press Advance office during George W Bush’s Presidency. Her family currently resides in Waco, where you can find them hiking, mountain biking, or carpooling both of their kids to soccer and gymnastics. 

Read more about Kristi

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