Smiles Always Win The Day

Smiles Always Win The Day


Let’s be honest—life in Africa can be tough, really tough.

In the course of our travels, I’ve met people who don’t have jobs but who want to work. Others have been employed, but don’t have enough money to send a brother or sister to school. Some find it hard to look after a parent who is blind or unwell. And way too many are generally unwell.

There are people who have lost family members to AIDS or horrific road accidents. We came down a mountain road to find an overturned/crushed pickup that had been fully loaded with passengers. It had toppled over a missed curve. Hard to believe that anyone survived.

Yet, in the face of all this hardship and heartache, Africans still manage to smile.

The Power of a Smile

I believe in the power of a smile. A smile can be a subtle twitch of the jaw muscles or a large grin with both rows of teeth showing much like a third-grader on picture day.

Smiling is contagious. One of my goals every day is to smile, whether to myself or to someone else, even a complete stranger. I have a neighbor, an elderly Chinese woman, I have no clue as to what her name is, yet every day when I leave my house I see her on her morning walk and we smile to each other. I once was on the bus on my way to campus and I smiled to a person sitting across from me. I later realized the person was in one of my classes and I introduced myself as the guy that smiled to her on the bus. This person and I have become the closest of friends. I recently had a friend pass away, and at his funeral his parents had put up his senior portrait from high school. This was no ordinary senior portrait, however; it was him smiling with a set of joke teeth in his mouth. His parents knew it was the way he would have wanted us to remember him because he had the power to bring a smile to the faces of his family and friends.

Smiling is what grounds me; it stabilizes and makes me feel more in control every day. It reminds me that, despite the fast pace of life, I must always remember to be happy and appreciate the little things in life. Smiling helps me overcome times of fear, anxiety and nervousness. Smiling helps me express to others my proudest moments. Smiling helps me convey love for others. Sometimes, when no words can be spoken, a smile is all that is needed to fill the air.

The smile is a universal sign of happiness. I believe it is the ultimate connection between all humankind. No matter how big or small, if a smile is genuine it creates an ineffable feeling in the atmosphere. I believe in the power of a smile to make the saddest of circumstances a little better. I believe in the power of a smile to enrich the happiest experiences in life. I believe in the power of a smile to transcend all barriers between individuals and to create special moments in life.

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