Recently my son was home on leave from military duty. We cherish these short visits and try very hard to find opportunities for deep discussion during each. This visit was a particularly sad time as we had just lost a dear family member. It afforded much time to reminisce and reflect.
One evening we sat listening to music and talking . Conversation turned to events that had been happening at my son’s workplace. He had been having difficulty communicating with a coworker due to personality differences. Since team work is an essential part of my son’s job, it was imperative that the issues be resolved rapidly which they were.
Interestingly enough, the resolution came with the simple gesture of a smile. He quickly realized that this relationship was going to need a little extra care and attention. Even when things were rough he tried his best to just be kind and smile often. Eventually the person came round and began to smile back. Soon there was a more relaxed flow of both work and conversation between the two.
As he was telling me the story he became rather excited in relating how powerful a smile could actually be. He expressed that it is a wonderful thing because it was giving of self and it could grow exponentially. It could change the course of events or even a life itself. I smiled a pride filled smile as he remembered me teaching him that as a child.
My memory fades a bit as I get older but I know that day well. My son was always smaller than most his age. He was never very athletic and his extensive vocabulary sometimes made it difficult for his peers to understand him. As a result, he often had a hard time “fitting in”. Occasionally he would come home from school feeling very blue. It broke my heart to see him so sad. He commented that he felt no one at school liked him. Knowing that he is a kind and polite child, I asked him why he felt that way. His response was that no one ever smiled at him. Giving the best motherly advice I could give, I suggested he try smiling at them first to see what would happen. Maybe they would think he was just being silly but maybe it would work. I told him to try a simple test and smile at other students in the classroom. Or perhaps a neighbor who always seemed so unhappy himself. Maybe he should even test is on a person in a car while riding the bus. It didn’t take long for him to come home beaming and confirming that it really did work.
A smile is something that everyone owns and it is free to share. It can make another person’s day brighter as well as your own. It can cheer up someone who is blue or possibly ease the pain of one who is suffering. I’d like to give you that same good bit of motherly advice. Teach your children the power of a smile and watch the magic begin.