Reflecting on ‘The Look’ and other human interactions

Do OverMy grandson Malcolm (“Rocket”) gave me the coldest stare. I really hadn’t done anything. I was holding him and talking with his mom, Shavon, and his sister Maya.

Shavon asked, “Maya, did you pick that mess up in your room from last night?” Knowing she hadn’t completed the task, Maya quickly started to respond. With her head cocked to the side, a twinkle in her eye, and a devious smile, she suddenly stopped and said, “Okay, let me stop right now before that lie comes out of my mouth.”

The nonverbal responses were just as funny as what had come out of her mouth — you would have to have been there to see it. I couldn’t stop laughing. How often is it that a child stops mid-sentence and states the obvious? Not so often. The sheer virtuousness of a child feeling safe enough to speak truth shined brightly th

Well, my laugh was a deep belly laugh with guttural tones and very loud. Malcom, with a quick turn of the head and a look of disgust in his eyes, stared at me not flinching or moving his eyes. It was the kind of stare that would shut you down. This icy stare was coming from my eight-month-old grandson.

Yes, an eight-month-old who doesn’t appreciate anyone laughing unless it’s him. Needless to say, the more he stared the more I laughed. Of course I was joined in the laughter by Maya and Shavon.

So I think to myself, how often does a person stop mid-sentence and tell the truth? When does a child or anyone feel that the relationship is strong and safe enough to speak truth? When given the icy stare, how does one respond? Laughing from the belly — is that done every day?  Well, I would guess the responses to all three questions would be not often, with silence, not enough.

Today is a good day to reflect on the many times in a day that we will tell what is called a white lie. Now, where did that name come from? Colors for supposed purity — a lie is a lie. It’s a good time to think about relationships — honesty, safety.

Today, think about when you have swayed from the truth to supposedly spare someone, save yourself, or just plain lie for no earthly reason. Think about the many looks you get from a loved one, colleague or total stranger. What is your response and how we do respond? How often do you have that good ole’ belly laugh that feels so good?

Every day is a do-over. What will you do over?

Bob-e Simpson Epps has spent 40+ years leaning into life’s issues personally and professionally. She shares a revival of spirit, great hope and passion with others who have faced many of the same issues. She welcomes reader responses to, or visit her blog at