A smile is a facial expression formed by flexing the muscles near both ends of the mouth. The smile can also be found around the eyes (See 'Duchenne Smiling' below). Among humans, it is an expression denoting pleasure, joy, happiness, or amusement, but can also be an involuntary expression of anxiety, in which case it is known as a grimace. Smiling is something that is understood by everyone despite culture, race, or religion; it is internationally known. Cross-cultural studies have shown that smiling is a means of communicating emotions throughout the world. But there are large differences between different cultures. A smile can also be spontaneous or artificial. (http://en.wikipedia.org)
At my church coffee break social this morning, my friend Laura brought her three boys. They all have big blue eyes and long curly eyelashes which already makes them cute. But what makes them even cuter is their smile. It lights up their face. I shouldn't be surprised because Laura also has a beautiful smile -- and not just beautiful, but gentle and genuine.
Such a small expression can make such a big difference; if only more people would use it. When I was in Teacher's College twenty years ago my associate teacher said that what she liked about the way I taught her class was that I smiled at the students. I used facial expressions to reassure them. Growing up with a mom who frequently flashed a beautiful smile as well as two sisters, it was second nature to me. When I worked at Baskin-Robbins as a teenager, I greeted every customer with a smile. On the street, I greet people with a smile. And so it surprises me when I don't get a smile back. The older I get, the more often that seems to happen. It's like people don't understand my language. We live in Brantford, for goodness sake, not Toronto! Why do people feel the need to act so guarded? Or is it that they are just too lazy? Someone should tell them that it takes fewer facial muscles to smile than to frown.
So, it was nice to see Laura's boys this morning: people who speak my language. They made my day!
Facsimile courtesy http://rummuser.com