Monday, March 5, 2012

March Photo Challenge – Smile.

I didn’t think I was going to find one today. Usually the postman has one but he was side-tracked and busy. Usually the Wal-Mart greeter had one but she was tired and didn’t even get off her stool.

I was wishing this challenge had been three days ago when a former student stopped by with a great big smile. He’d come straight from the orthodontist’s office to show me his new, metal-less smile. He would have loved it if I’d have taken a picture and shown it to you, too.

But just when I’d decided to go to bed and look for a good smile tomorrow, I thought of our jar of salt up in the cupboard. I keep a ping-pong ball in it as a reminder to rise above adversity and discouragement. To smile. If you turn that jar of salt upside down and bury the ping-pong ball, then shake the jar up and down, the ping-pong ball will rise to the top. E.v.e.r.y.t.i.m.e. You can’t keep it buried. It’s a good object lesson when used with a great question: “How did coat-of-many-colors-Joseph keep from being buried in fear or doubt? How did he repeatedly rise to the top even when people tried to destroy him?  How did he keep the smile on his face?” or “How did Daniel-in-the-lion’s-den rise above the challenges of his day? What kept him from becoming cynical and defeated?  How did he keep a smile on his face?”

(And just as a side note: Scientists have discovered that your body doesn’t know the difference between a fake or a real smile and will respond to your happy face as if it’s the actual thing. And, a study conducted by UC-Berkeley found that women who smiled in their college yearbook photos led happier lives, had happier marriages, and had had fewer personal setbacks in the following 30 years.

Here are a dozen ways to put a smile on someone’s face:

  1. If you know someone is going out to dinner to celebrate a special occasion, call the restaurant in advance and say you’ll pick up the cost of his dessert.
  2. Bake cookies and deliver them
  3. Look at your kids’ baby pictures
  4. Hug someone
  5. Trade your low ticket number at the deli or driver’s license bureau with someone who seems to be in a hurry or has small children
  6. Pay for the drive-through order of the car behind you
  7. Let someone have the parking spot you were both hoping to get
  8. When an elderly person is crossing the street slowly, walk alongside him at the same pace so he isn’t embarrassed by being the only person in the intersection when the light changes.
  9. Go to the zoo and watch the animals
  10. Take a box of donuts for your building’s physical maintenance staff and leave them in their break room with a thank you note
  11. Every day for a year, jot down one thing you love about your child/husband/friend (his crooked smile, her snort when she laughs,)  Give them the list at the end of the year
  12. Clip newspaper articles highlighting the achievements of young people and send it to them, their family, or grandparents

Where did you see a smile today?  Or, what made you smile?


casey anderson said...

13. Read sister Payne's blog.

Michelle said...

I'm with Casey on this one. :) See? There's a smile.

Jill said...

I've never heard about the ping pong ball lesson before, how clever!

Amen to number 13!

Alisa said...

Yup- your blog makes me smile!
Another thing- Funny things 5 year olds say.

melanie said...

Reed can make almost anyone smile. Even yesterday when I gave him a beauty school haircut because he wouldn't sit still.

You have that gift too. Thanks for posting, I love Looking forward to your March posts.

Melinda said...

This is a really great post for me. I need to remember to smile more. I have actually had 2 older gentlemen stop me in Walmart at different times telling me to just smile. Both times I was taken aback startled almost. One of the times I was in a really bad mood but the other was just random.

Deidra said...

I go to lunch recess with a 1st grade boy who has downs syndrome. He is always happy to see his 'playmate', aka me. I can't help but smile when I see his excitement to see me, even if he wants to play tag for 25 minutes with only me.

michelle said...

I'm quite sure I don't smile enough. I often catch a glimpse of myself and wonder why I have a bit of a scowl on my face... thanks for the reminder!