This I Believe

Emily - LaGrange, Illinois
Entered on February 25, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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The Difference A Smile Can Make

I believe that a smile has potential power. I can remember going to exercise class every Wednesday with my Grandpa when I was little. I would walk hand in hand with him into a room with huge exercise machines and lots of grouchy old people. And when I would walk in their grouchy moods never seemed to improve. As a matter of fact, they seemed to get grumpier. That was until I would quietly sit down against a wall, read a book and flash and innocent toothy smile at them. Once they saw that I would be no disturbance to their daily routine, they would start to smile too, and their grumpiness seemed to melt away. Every time I smiled, they got friendlier and friendlier.

As I got older I realized that a smile has the potential to turn someone’s day from terrible to splendid. The event that made me realize this occurred in Eighth grade when I went to a nursing home with ten other middle school students to pass out valentines and suckers to the Elderly people. We were instructed to hand out a valentine to every person, give them a smile and say, “Happy Valentine’s Day”. Most of the elders were very happy to see young people taking time out of their busy schedules to try to lighten their day with a little gift and a simple gesture.

However, there was one man who I remember vividly who did not seem to like the idea of us being there. The man was very intimidating because of the way he rocked back and forth, back and forth in a creaky, old rocking chair, while watching television and smoking a cigar. We were all too afraid to go up to him and give him his valentine, and continued handing out valentines to other people.

That is, until he looked over at me and questioned in a husky voice, “Why haven’t I gotten one yet?”. I timidly walked over to him, handed him his valentine, wished him a Happy Valentine’s Day, gave him a smile and briskly walked away. Right as I was about to walk out of the room the man was in, I heard him say, “Hey you” I looked around, and then he looked at me and said, “Yes you, come back here”. So I cautiously walked back to him and once neared him, he told me that I had made his day ten times better by smiling. He also told me to never stop smiling because he felt as if it had light the whole dreary room up. So if you every see someone who appears to be down in the dumps, or like they could use some cheering up, try using the power of a smile. It might change their whole day.