This I Believe

Caryce - Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Entered on January 29, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in smiles in the hallway. I believe that these simple, small, momentary delights can change an entire day.

High school is such a pain. We’re surrounded by peers who constantly judge and put down and spread rumors. Drama, cliques, and social hierarchy are part of our everyday lives. I believe that a reassuring smile can help ease the pain of these shallow critiques by serving as a boost of confidence and a short illustration that the world is not completely dark and bleak.

A smile is defined as a pleasant or agreeable appearance, as a favor or kindly regard. It is an expression of joy and satisfaction. A smile is contagious, like a yawn. It only takes one smile to set other smiles off. The first day of my junior year, I was finally able to drive myself to school. I put on my new clothes and made sure my hair looked good – the whole “first day” ordeal. I made it 0.7 miles before I drove into a ditch. I reached for my purse across the seat, swerved, and pitched the old Dodge into the culvert. I cried, called Mom, cried some more, and still had to go to school. I had mud all up my left leg and was completely embarrassed that I had done such a foolish thing. I wanted to be anywhere but at school. But, when I looked up to a smiling face as I walked to my locker, I had been looked on with favor and kind regard. Because smiles are so irresistible, I began to feel better. After another friendly face passed by, my spirits lifted higher still, and a grin formed on my face. I became a beam of light walking by, and now I was spreading the joy. Those who were in my once distraught position could look to me for the uplifting gift. Suddenly, I realized that my fender-bender was not the end of the world, and that I would make it through the catastrophe somehow.

There are over 6,000,000,000 people in the world. With such a population, someone is bound to feel like they are going unnoticed. It’s easy to do. Responsibilities, agendas, and bills to pay take away from the time that should be spent paying attention others. When it’s the middle of the week and I’ve been stretched to the limit and I feel like I can’t give anymore of myself away, I can still put on a smile. I can still look pleasant and have a positive impact on everyone who sees me. All I have to do is look people in the eye and smile. Let them know that it will be o.k. and they’re not alone because I’m giving the effort to smile at them. And when they return the smile, I know that my efforts weren’t wasted. We’re telling each other, “Hang in there, you’ve got a friend.”

I believe all this comes from a smile, passing by, in the hallway.