About Me

Van Walton

Fun Facts about Van Walton

My favorite smell: The way the earth smells after it rains.

My favorite sound: The first notes of a grand symphony.

My favorite way to relax: Sitting anywhere outside - on my front porch, on my deck, or by the lake, early in the morning with my first cup of coffee.

My favorite birthday dessert: a Peach cobbler baked by my husband. He’s my fave chef!

I will not eat: Avocado. They turn my stomach into a volcano that never erupts.

Technology I couldn't live without and why: My laptop - it takes me anywhere I want to go.

One thing that makes me smile: My sons' faces!

FacebookFriend Van on Facebook

My Resources

My book, From the Pound to the Palace, is available for $10
from Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Pound to Palace

My book, Little Halos, is available for $5.99 from Proverbs
31 Ministries.

Little Halos

Proverbs 31 Ministries


Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Yesterday my DH and I drove to visit our son in college. We had not seen him for 6 weeks and I needed a hug. A mother on a mission I needed to check out his eyes.

He hasn’t been complaining of blurry vision nor do we think he needs glasses. It’s just that every once in a while a mother has to peer into her child’s eyes.

There is a message in every set of eyes, a message waiting to be read, if you take the time.

When I was a child growing up in the developing country of Colombia in South America, the eyes of the poor children kept me awake many nights, haunting me. Their eyes weren’t scary. They were sad and serious, too serious for children, as they searched for food, money, and protection. I couldn’t imagine how they survived without mothers and daddies who worked, providing shelter and food.

I worked as a recreation director soon after college graduation. I wish I could say that the children I played with each afternoon were healthy and happy little ones whose parents loved them. No, I worked in a children’s shelter, a home for abused and neglected children. Most of the eyes that stared at me had a veil in front of them, a curtain drawn so I couldn’t see the terror of their lives. Those who did let me see their eyes only peered back vacantly. It seemed no one lived inside those little bodies.

Then I walked into a classroom of my own where I interacted with 120 (more or less) pairs of eyes every day. Some danced with clarity and intelligence filled with eagerness to learn and discover life. There were also the young people who hid behind their hair, who stared through unkempt strands of curls and locks, those who could never make eye contact with me, and the ones who stayed behind, shut off in a world of their own, but sent their bodies to class. They chose seats in the back of the room and slept if possible or sat motionless with blank looks that broke my heart.
Every once in a while a pair of dancing eyes lost clarity. Redness, exhaustion, and restlessness ruled where tranquility once reigned. Belligerence would take the place of curiosity and defiance began to win over innocence and charm.

I’m not sure which saddened me more - a child who came to me already beaten and lost or one who slipped away right under my watch.
And then one day – miracles of miracles, children of my own settled into my house.

“Please don’t slip away,” I would pray.

Every day I looked into their eyes. I smiled into the eyes. I studied the eyes. When I noticed sad eyes, I pulled the head that protected them and the heart that held their secrets close to me.

“I’ll never let you slip away,” I would say.

As they grew and worldly influence threatened to steal their innocence I looked deeper to read the messages in their eyes.

“Do I see pain? Is there some strain? Wanna’ talk about it? Not good to run from it. Is that fear? Do I see a tear?”

Open honest communication – my daddy used to say, “I need to have a man to man talk with you.” (I know, I’m no man. He must have known it’s a man’s world and no daughter of his would be ruled by men!”) He had his ritual, sitting in his great big chair, he would sit me down on the stool in front of him and taking my hands in his, say, “Eye to eye, now.” This was serious talk. He knew and I knew. I needed to be brought back from the edge, back from the brink where I was straying. As long as I had to face Daddy, I had to walk the straight and narrow.

I used the same tactics with my students and with my sons.

The first night each one of my sons stayed out late I sat up waiting for them to come home. When they walked through the door I invited them to have ice cream with me. The entire time we sat at the table eating and chatting, I peered into the eyes looking for messages. It became a routine. Either their dad or I was awake when they walked through the door at night.

“Come over here and sit with me. Tell me about tonight.”

I was looking, and listening, for shenanigans - possibly hidden in the eyes.

So… I just had to make a trip to see if there were any secret messages I wasn’t getting. Sometimes kids don’t know how to say what is on their hearts. They need help describing their concerns and a little urging to pour out their doubts. I need assurance that anxiety is under control, that stress is being channeled.

The eyes have it. They have a lot to say without speaking, not one little word.

So what messages did I find? Healthy and rested body. Intelligent and curious mind. Content and positive attitude. Best of all – eyes that said, “I love you mom. I’m glad you came.”


Laura said...

I love it! Late night ice cream as a parenting tactic. I knew there was a reason we clicked! I'll have to remember that in a few years. The singer/songwriter Sara Groves has a song called Song For My Sons that I love. It's more of a prayer and I've been singing it a lot lately! I guess they never get old enough that we stop being their mom, huh?

Anonymous said...

What beautiful eyes. I'll have to remember the ice cream tactic. Might not need it though, my 16 year old still want tme to tuck him in bed at night. He gets butterfly kisses a goodnite prayer and I love you, sleep good see you in the morining. I don't know what either one of us will do when he goes off to college?

Digging for Pearls said...

So glad you got to see your son Van. Thanks for this thought provoking blog.

Charlene Kidd said...

That was so sweet. It is funny you talked about looking into your sons eyes. I have been paying more attention to the expressions my kids have lately.
Thanks also for you profound advice on teaching the older kids about our faith. I had some great comments on transitioning from parent in control to coach/counselor.
You are a blessing.

Miss Sandy said...

Wonderful post! It is often said that the eyes are the windows to the soul and I think you saw straight into the soul's of the children who have passed through your life. How blessed they were to have someone who cared to reach out to them. My favorite pair of eyes these days are those of my little grandson. They light up every time they see me! Have a blessed week.

Laura said...

I love it! And what a great thing to do. I know my kids will always open up and talk when food is involved! :-)

Laura said...

I can't wait to see you in May! What fun! We will definitely have lunch!!
Thanks for praying!