It's the smiles on the faces that stand out to me after a busy month of June...
Our church hosted first a festival then a children's week-long day camp. There were rides, game booths, hamburgers and hotdogs, live bands, and a guy on stilts at the festival. Games and dance, songs and crafts, creative ways to share stories and lessons filled the camp. But overall, what impressions lingered? The memories of beautiful faces and big smiles.
Antonia, Ne'veah, Adam, and Anthony. Erin, Luke, Elana, and Michael. Nicholas, Andy, Gia, and Lily. Beaming faces of those I know and of those whose names now escape me. Fifty kids at last count, including a couple of grandkids--and their new-found friends. The welcoming, the inclusion, the team work, the enthusiasm--all stand out. A microcosm of what we'd like the world to be.
Can we build on this in families, friendships, community? In stories we write, in our books? Not ignoring or sweeping away the realities of the harshness of life, of course, but offering hope and a sense of caring? Can it all start with something so simple as a smile?
It seems like it's possible, especially when you read the evidence. Some examples:
The Day I Learned the Value of a Smile, by Maya Angelou.
Have We Forgotten the Value of the Smile?, Lynn Morrison
Researchers Measure the Value of a Smile, provided by Bangor University
The Value of a Smile, GetMotivated.
What has been your experiences with smiles? Does a smile--yours offered or one received--make a difference? What stands out to you in your summer so far?
Cheers to all. Here's to going forward on our writing goals as the summer marches on--hopefully with a smile.
But I think perhaps without the stilts?