I love demonstrating this at lunch. I’ll say to the kids I’m eating with, “Pick somebody for me to use my powers on.” When the victim is selected, I’ll stare in his direction until I’ve made eye contact, and then – with a serious look on my face – I’ll point at him. He’ll raise his eyebrows and point to himself, mouthing, “Me?” At which point I’ll rotate my hand and beckon with the same finger, often adding an ominous nod for effect.
It never fails: he will immediately untangle himself from the lunch table and head my way. When he’s close enough, he’ll ask, “Am I in trouble?” Seizing the moment, I’ll reply with, “Why? Do you want to confess?” Only then will I smile, as the poor victim lets out a whoosh of air and says, “Dude, you scared me!”
Most of my students will tell you that my pointing and “looking” at them is scarier than if I were to yell. I’m pretty sure none of them would ever consider ignoring me. What fascinates me is why they find it so scary. I don’t lose my temper or yell at students, and I’m known for being fair and reasonable, yet even when their consciences are clear, they’re filled with foreboding when I point and beckon.
If I were to analyze it, I’d probably discover their reaction is rooted in respect and relationship and a desire to please rather than to disappoint. And once in awhile I do have to use my powers to reprimand someone.
But most of the time I do it for fun, and the victim enjoys a laugh along with everybody else!