This Is The Motto I Use With My Kids Every Day (And It Works)

by Kristi Hayes
Originally Published: 

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.

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.


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My intention with this saying, Eyes Wide, Lights 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 other’s feelings. And when they see someone who might need a little extra shiny light on 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.

But I read that repetition is key.


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So I’m gonna keep repeating this every morning and asking how they shined their light every week.

Another beautiful thing someone mentioned to me when I told them this phrase, was that when people keep their eyes open, when they really see people, they become open-hearted, and when our hearts open, our eyes shine.

Have you ever met someone who is just shiny? Their eyes glisten because their heart is wide open to others. They experience a deep love, a deep kinship with others, and their light gets brighter because of their need for others, their need for mutual reciprocation of lights shining on them too.

Not all of us will have lights to shine. Many of us will have days when it is dark, real dark, like when you stick your hand in front of your face in pitch black and can’t see it, kind of dark, and that’s when we will need to receive someone else’s shine, someone else’s light on us.

It’s a beautiful thing. All of us being light givers, and light receivers.

And one day my kids might say, “My mom used to say this phrase every single day, ‘Eyes Wide, Lights Shine,’” and so we did.

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