Smiling is Contagious

Natalie - Centerville, Ohio
Entered on December 11, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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This past summer, I babysat everyday for some good family friends, Maddie, Max, and Jack, were the kids. Jack was the trouble maker and the instigator of the family, but he is one of the most vibrant, fun loving people I have ever met. He is only in the first grade and would do anything to make the people around him laugh or crack a smile. The Miller’s lived next door to an elderly woman that Jack would visit regularly. He would ask if we could draw pictures for her, make her cookies, or call and tell her a funny joke he made up. At first, I thought it was a little strange for him to want to do that, but then I asked him why he wanted to do all these things for his neighbor, and he quickly responded, “‘Cause it makes her smile!” Jack, regardless of his young age, had the knowledge to recognize how the random acts of kindness were positively affecting his, not only neighbor, but also friend. And even though Jack was constantly picking fights with his older siblings, he truly loved making others around him smile and I believe that is one of the best qualities to possess.

Ricky D. Claar, author of the poem “Smiling,” agrees in the power of smiling, as his poem states, “Smiling is infectious you can catch it like the flu, when someone smiled at me I started smiling too! So if you feel a smile begin don’t leave it undetected, let’s start an epidemic quick and get the world infected,” I have never thought of how similar smiling and the flu were until reading this poem. Smiling gets passed on, just like flu, and infecting the world with smiles could ultimately be a good thing.

When I say I believe smiling is contagious, I literally mean when someone smiles at you, you cannot help but smile back. When I chose to write about this specific belief, I decided to conduct my own little experiment. Between classes, I would randomly smile at people to see the response I would get in return. Even though I could tell it made people a little uncomfortable, I was not surprised when mostly all of the people smiled right back. Of course, there were the select few that looked at me like I was some crazy person, but overall my experiment was a complete success. And from that day I truly realized how contagious a smile can be.