This I Believe

Thomas - Saint Charles, Missouri
Entered on August 27, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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Today when weapons determine superiority, I believe something different than most. I believe that when someone shots you a smile or bursts into laughter that these actions are more powerful than a gunshot or bombs bursting. Simply, I believe in being happy and sharing it.

Recently, I traveled to the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky to rehab houses. Here even though I volunteered in one of Kentucky’s poorest counties, the people smiled and waved at me everywhere I went. Their happiness in having what many consider less taught me the important lesson that teachers could not, that possessions do not necessarily make you happy. I also discovered how contagious happiness and smiling are. Every time someone waved or smiled at me I would wave and smile the rest of the day. Looking back at my pictures of that trip, I notice that everyone is smiling. Not fake half smiles but huge ones that take up the whole face.

Beyond my trip to Kentucky, I find that whenever someone smiles at me I immediately start feeling better. The best example always happens when I drive. I guess, truth be told, I am not the happiest rush hour driver. But when others reveal their happiness by waving or with a quick smile, I immediately feel happier.

While writing these things about the power of smiling, I have to wonder would smiling have prevented September 11 and other acts of terrorism? Supposedly, the terrorists believe that the United States and its citizens are beyond saving. If this is truly the reason behind terrorism then I think smiling can prevent terrorism. Smiling shows that we are open to new things and new people, and therefore could change our evil ways. I figure smiling is at least worth a try because face it when confronted with a terrorist it’s going to be your best weapon.

So next time when the line at the grocery store goes back as far as the eye can see, don’t sigh and complain, smile! Or try playing the smile game and see how many people you can get to smile.