The new school year is about to start, and to me this time of year was always more important than the New Year on January 1. I would make New School Year Resolutions. It just felt right. No matter how things went the year before, it’s like the summer wipes the slate clean and you’re given a second chance at redeeming yourself, or creating a new you.
Just before my senior year of high school, I made a New School Year Resolution to smile more. And my ultimate goal was to win “Best Smile” in the end-of-year senior poll; that would be my measure to know if I was successful. I took this resolution very seriously. It was my last year of high school and I wanted people to remember me for being friendly. Plus, I had been told that when I didn’t smile, it looked like I was angry. I just have one of those faces that either looks really happy or really grumpy no matter what. So I opted for really happy if I could help it.
Early in the year, the local newspaper published a photo of me grinning ear to ear. My smile was so big in that picture it’s almost freakish. I’ve tried recreating it in the mirror but to no avail. It occurred naturally in that particular moment and the newspaper photographer just happened to catch it. My friends teased me about it but I was proud to be teased for my smile. It showed my plan was working.
I did win Best Smile that year. And I know it’s not because I had the best-looking smile. In fact, I was told my runner-up, who has an absolutely gorgeous smile, was very close to winning that category instead. But I like to think I took the victory because my smile was seen more. I was so intentional about smiling that after a while I didn’t even have to think about it anymore; it just happened naturally. I’m glad to know people noticed.
Daughter, I’ve told you before that one of the basics every girl must know is to smile as much as possible. I tell you this not so you can win some silly poll. It’s because of what happens as a result of smiling more. That year, I made more friends than I ever have in my life. Classmates of all backgrounds and social levels talked to me and confided in me. New friends often would say, “You’re so nice. How are you so nice?” (I stopped hearing such compliments a couple years later… I’ll tell you that story another time.)
Your smile is an outward display of the best parts of your character. If you’re intentional about smiling it means you’re intentional about focusing on what makes you smile. You’re focusing on the good things in life, big or small, and that makes you a much better person to be around.
So, my dear, smile big, and often. 🙂