When I was in second grade my classroom was at the end of the main long hallway of classes in our elementary school. Every morning I’d have to walk by all of the kindergarten, first & second grade teachers. I remember passing by teachers as they stood outside their classroom and smile at them. I later found out that many of those teachers made a point to tell my mom that they purposefully always made sure they were around in the hallway to see me walk by because my smile always brightened their day. This has been a theme that has played out many many times in my life. How my one smile could brighten a room and cheer up someone’s day.
This memory came to mind recently as I was reflecting on some of my first memories of helping people. Even though I may not have helped them in a major significant way I feel it was a beautiful reminder as to the simplicity of brightening someone’s day. That it really doesn’t take much of ourselves to show and extend kindness to others. I know that sometimes I forget this and will get in my own head and be having a bad day and not wanting to connect with anyone so my head is down or I completely avoid eye contact. It is those days I probably most need to bring a smile to my face or maybe be on the lookout for a smile towards me.
I’ve been practicing giving more of my smiles away lately and it really begins to stir up more joy and makes smiling contagious. It’s funny how we can forget the power of our smile.
There is a lake near where I live that has a huge nice walking path around it and because we’ve been treated with some really nice weather lately (I still can’t believe it’s been in the 60’s in November in Missouri!) and I’ve been finding so many people wanting to make that connection of a smile as we walk past each other. It feels like a simple yet powerful gesture. I love the surprised faces of some when I smile at them unexpected, and others I can feel their sadness and how being seen and acknowledged just reminded them of their innate worth.
As we head full steam ahead into the holiday season let’s gift others with our smiles more often. If you aren’t in a place to lift up others in this way then be on the lookout for someone to smile at you. This can be a season of utter joy and happiness for some and for others a time of loneliness and missing friends and family. This one simple act that takes nothing away from us can have a ripple effect that we may never know about from that one smile. I’d like to leave you this week with a cute little poem from Russell H. Conwell:
Smiling is infectious
You catch it like the flu
When someone smiled at me today
I started smiling too
I passed around the corner and someone saw my grin
When he smiled I realized I’d passed it on to him
I thought about that smile
Then I realized it’s worth
A single smile just like mine
Could travel round the earth
So, if you feel a smile begin
Don’t leave it undetected
Let’s start an epidemic quick
And get the world infected!