Make Smiling Your Favorite

Over the holidays, we enjoyed one of our favorite movies, Elf. There’s a scene that always makes me chuckle.

The department manager sees Buddy’s big grin and asks, “Why are you smiling?”

“Smiling is my favorite,” he says with joy.

The department manager scowls, “Make work your favorite. Work is your new favorite!”

Work is certainly important. I happen to be in a very busy time at work right now, which has prevented much else, including writing my blog. Sorry.

As I’m working, whether it be for my job or at home, my face appears pretty serious. After all, I’m an introvert, so I’m all about the internal processing. With an unsmiling face, I’m usually working things out in my mind or even just recharging. It has nothing to do with what or who’s around me.

Now I know we don’t just walk around smiling all the time. That would be exhausting! Okay, it seems like some people do this, and they’re awesome! But I would be wiped out.

But I realize this can be a problem…forgetting to smile. And though family tops the priority list, I’ve noticed it missing at home.

41 - smiling

As I’m recovering from a long day at work, or mentally checking my to-do list, or sorting through laundry, I’ve got that serious grimace face.

So one random day, I tracked the number of times I caught myself smiling. It was six. Six, people! So not good. I’m hoping I just missed some.

I even noticed once when I gave encouragement, “Hey, you did a really good job of…,” I still remained straight-faced. Hmmm.

It got me thinking. When my kids are not with me, and picture their Mom, what does that picture in their head look like? Am I smiling in that picture? If not, this was definitely worth changing.

I remembered a company that uses unconventional methods to measure their business success. The customer service team measures success by number of smiles. Not the number they give…they measure success by the number of smiles received. How appropriate!

I decided to try this approach at home. Track the number of smiles I receive from my kiddos. If I didn’t get many, I would purposely smile at them…even for no reason whatsoever.

Being a mom feels like being a servant at times, am I right? With little gratitude along the way. Our brain is constantly processing all we need to do, and we sometimes forget what our faces look like while thinking. Or at least I do.

Reminding myself to be like Jesus, I imagine he always has a smile for children. And one way we can serve God is by serving our children. Doing it with a smile makes such a difference.


     “Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart,
and good news gives health to the bones.” 
                                       Proverbs 15:30


So I started smiling as often as possible, while doing chores, answering the kids’ requests, getting dinner made…

What an improvement smiling made. Not only with them, but also in my own perception of the day.

I’ve even found that a smile can make the difference between a command and a request, resulting in acceptance versus rejection. In fact, I took this a step further by combining a smile with super positive and unexpected words.

Here’s my new trick. When I want to get my kids’ attention, I say with a big smile on my face, “Beautiful faces!”

They turn, and beam up at me. I ask for a favor. It could be to pick up their puzzle pieces, or put away their breakfast dishes. So far, I keep getting the response I’m looking for – immediate action with no complaints.

I see the difference a smile can make. And it’s the lasting impression I want in my kids’ memories when they think of me.

Today, I asked my toddler, “When is your Mom happiest?”

He answered, “She smiles when she says, ‘Beautiful faces.’” Yes!

A constant smile for my greatest treasures (my kids) is a smile worth seeking.

Today, make smiling your favorite. 🙂

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