Thursday, May 18, 2017

To Blink, or Not to Blink


He who blinks first, loses.

This is what I learned as a child when facing down a brother or another aggressive boy on the playground. Hold your ground. Invade personal space. Close in for the kill. AND never blink first. 

This is important:  He who blinks first, loses.

Olin Kreutz leads the Bears into battle and a staring contest with their mirrors in Green Bay. LCpl. Kreutz is claiming that his mirror engaged.
Oh, yeah.
The skills honed in the fires of sibling conflict and playground battles have carried me through many tough situations. Okay—not necessarily rough, but definitely confrontational. 

As a young mother, I learned the importance of holding my position on naps (everyone takes one in the afternoon, including me) until my oldest child was almost 9 years old.  Having three stair-step children, I bent over and drew my eyes level with theirs.

 “You will take a nap today. A good long nap.” They blinked. I didn’t. The nap wars fought and won, because I didn’t blink first.

When teaching, the teacher must hold the line on so many discipline issues:  raising the hands to speak, asking permission, respecting another student’s right to exist, etc. Staring down thirty + children requires practice and experience. It must be done with firmness and, most of all, with kindness.


Timothy Olyphant stare
He is the hands-down champion of  full on stare.

This villain does blink in entire movie.
There was always one student who challenged blink contests “You will not steal anyone's pencils. Do you understand, mister?”  Blink, blink, “Yes’m.”

That was when all the skills in the first paragraph had to go into the game. The teacher has to win this—rest of the class has to know that standards of behavior are listed on the wall for a reason.

When not playing poker for big bucks, or trying to convince a three-year old that he will stay out of the flour canister, blinking is fine. Blink away to your heart’s content. 

But, when one absolutely must win a situation, keep those eyes open, piercing into the other eyes with deadly aim, and impose your will.  Good luck, soldier.

27 comments:

  1. Give them that hard, Clint Eastwood stare!
    That doesn't work on your spouse though. Blinking or not, she'll still probably win.

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    1. Clint Eastwood is world class when it comes to a stare.

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  2. I love it, great advice
    Have you ever tried to outstare a cat?

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  3. I admit, I blink first when it comes to the cat. They can stare forever haha, but people. Nope.

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    1. How do cats do that?? Is it hunting instinct?

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  4. I've found it helps to recount what's going to happen to them in your head while you stare them down. It's like they know what you're thinking, and they think twice about crossing you.

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  5. All you can do is give them the benefit of wisdom and logic. All the rest is up to the student. The smart ones will listen and obey.

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    1. Usually works, students know they need to do.

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  6. I will try this on Samson, my sweet dog, who is a Nordic breed, and as such, always knows best. Not blinking and lots of patience may just do the trick.

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    1. I'd cradle that fluffy white furry face in my hands, touch noses, and do the eye thing.

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  7. I had brothers. Blinking (or in anyway taking your eye off them) was dangerous.
    I still blink first though.

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    1. I learned poker face early on. and you are right, never turn your back on them, until they run away.

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  8. I couldn't win a blink contest even if $1000 was on offer. I blame my mother.
    Naps until age 9?? My kids gave up naps very early and I never seemed to need one either, so we compromised: quiet time while the youngest napped, everyone in a chair or on a bed reading for those who could, looking at picture books for the one who couldn't yet read.

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  9. 9 year old had quiet time with a book, but 6 and 4 year olds were napping. All had fans blowing, incl. me. Victorville, CA, in Mojave Desert in summers were about 100 deg. every single day.

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    1. ...100 degrees and more. we also had 113+ a few times. Summers really really were awful.

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  10. I loved this post, Susan! And so true:)

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    1. Did you hold your stare when it needed to be held?

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  11. There's always one little sweetheart who challenges the rules and I agree, you can't blink because everyone else is watching (and later reacting) to that one moment. USUALLY turns out that the one or two defying the rules end up being the ones who love you most if you set the rules and lovingly enforce them all year long. :) There are exceptions. I know one teacher who has 21 boys and 1 girl. Her class is very 'busy.' ;)

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    1. Totally true!!
      About the 21 boys and 1 girl...I feel sorry for that girl.

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  12. Interesting to think about. I have cats and when they have a staring contest one-on-one, whoever blinks or looks away first is the loser for that round...and the non-dominate cat. Animal nature, so I am now thinking about that in the teaching and beyond world. We are animals afterall. Kim in PA

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    1. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Kim! We, too, are hunters.

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  13. Dear Susan, I know the blink you are talking about, but is a face with no blink like a glare? I'm not sure. Peace.

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    1. I think that depends on emotions attached to the event. I have glared many times at my husband, never at a student. Good point, Dee.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!