My 8-year-old daughter is experimenting with kindness and smiles. She has been making her own colorful smile cards in all the colors of the rainbow and often takes them to school or stuffs her pockets with them when we go out to run errands. She makes them very carefully and takes great pride in her work :)
Last Sunday, I took the kids grocery shopping with me. My daughter packed her pockets with about 20 of her homemade smile cards. She was hoping to see John, who is an elderly man who gives out samples. We see him from time to time and he is so happy and friendly, that we can't help feeling good talking to him. John wasn't at the store on Sunday, so my daughter decided that it would be a good idea to distribute her smile cards to all the store's other employees.
As much as I have taught her about stranger danger, I have also talked to her about strangers being potential friends. So, after asking my permission, she proceeded to give her smile cards to various store employees. In the produce department, she gave a card to a young man who asked her where she found it (unsure what it was) and she told him she had made it and she hoped it would make him smile...and he smiled at her and thanked her. She came across an older gentleman who was shopping and looking rather grumpy and impatient...and she snuck a card into his cart on top of his groceries, remarking to me later that he looked at her suspiciously as if she was dumping trash in his cart. We talked about how when he saw what it was, he might smile and feel happier.
The biggest lesson I think she got from our shopping trip came when she had run out of cards. She was walking by a woman with two babies in her cart, the babies were fussing and she was looking tired. My daughter smiled at her and the young mother smiled back. That's when a light bulb must have gone off in my daughter. She came to me and said, "Mom, I just realized something. You don't need cards to make someone smile, all you need to do is make eye contact and smile into their eyes and they will smile back."
What a beautiful lesson my daughter reminded me of. It is so easy for us every day to make eye contact with people we pass on our travels and smile. To make a joke or offer a friendly word or two to the person pouring your coffee or driving the bus or to just say hello to a stranger...and you are never too young (or old) to experiment with kindness and smiles :)
Today's Tip: See how many people will smile back if you smile at them! It's makes all the difference in the world and the cost is FREE!