Last Friday afternoon, I had several errands to run with my daughters in tow. As we left the house, I began thinking of a way to help the three of us be more aware of the people with whom we would come in contact. With my list in hand, I tend to barrel through the stores, focused on getting done as quickly as possible. I was hoping to slow down and show a bit of friendliness. As we drove along, I invented the smile game.
I chose three of our stops at which to play this game – the post office (there’s usually a long line), the grocery store, and the drugstore. My daughters and I would compete to see who could get the most points; we got one point for making eye contact with someone and smiling at them, and two points if we also said “hello” (or “thank you” if they were holding a door for us, etc.) The only rule was that each of us had to get at least one point at each place.
This challenge was perfect for our daughter who has an outgoing personality, but not so much for our other daughter and I. However, it was fun to look for opportunities to share a smile.
It also provided a teachable moment. At the post office, both daughters commented on how grumpy one man looked, so we talked about how your countenance reflects what you’re feeling inside. It was good to note, too, that perhaps he was going through a difficult time and possibly needed our smiles and greeting more than anyone else.
As expected, our most outgoing daughter won the first smile game, but it gave us all a chance to focus more on others. I’m sure we’ll play the smile game again!