This I Believe

Amanda - Martinsburg, Ohio
Entered on December 1, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Grandpa’s Smile

I remember back to when I was in fourth grade and my grandfather died because of a surgery that should have been routine. At the funeral everyone was so gloomy, which was to be expected, but I wanted to remember the good things about my grandfather and so I asked if I could speak. My parents were worried and everyone was surprised that a ten-year-old asked to speak at a funeral. When I got up front the whole audience had tears in their eyes and looked so sad. I told them a story about a day that I had spent with my grandpa and he had taught me about life. He had said that life was not worth living unless you were happy and that to be happy you need to smile. He told me that smiles were contagious and I could not believe how this could be possible, so we planned out an experiment.

He, my grandmother, and I went into town one day and my grandpa and I had decided that we were going to smile at everyone we saw to see if this smile thing really worked. Sure enough everywhere we went the people smiled back at us even the ones who had looked sad or really serious up until the point we showed them our pearly whites. One lady, who looked to be in her eighties, working at the local drug store, told us that no one had smiled at her in what seemed like ages and that it had made her day. I did not know that a simple smile that just takes seconds to produce could do that for someone. If it did this for just this one person imagine what it could do for others. A smile does not take time out of anyone’s life.

By this time most of the tears had dried up on the faces of the grieving and they were smiling as well. It really was contagious! My grandfather taught me a really valuable lesson that day that I have carried with me for many years. No matter how rough my day has been or how bad it is going it is not the end of the world. There are too many good things to be thankful for, such as family and friends, that always puts a smile on my face. Life is too short to brood. Look at how much someone else’s life might be changed from just one smile, especially if that person has not gotten one in a very long time. You can help make someone else’s day better or vice versa and maybe that person will then do the same for someone else causing a smile chain reaction brightening the whole world.

This is the one event that has shaped my life and made it worthwhile. It is a simple thing to do that I would never have realized without the wisdom of my grandfather. He is why I believe that people should smile more. I have seen the proof myself and it has helped me brighten the lives of many family and friends as well as perfect strangers.