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Smiles

The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.  Mark Twain

Wandering around on the Internet, I ran into this extremely provocative quote from my favorite purveyor of wisdom. Having read Mr. Twain’s autobiography, a formidable feat in itself, I never identified him as a charitable or benevolent man. This proves that I was inaccurate in my conclusions, assuming that he was faithful to this statement.

One of my more colorful habits is that of making others smile or laugh. It’s what I do in the classroom, in my home, with my clients and anywhere that I see an opportunity for levity. There’s something remarkably simple about smiles. You can’t display one while feeling depressed, disappointed or dejected. And while many folks want others to share their gloom, it’s much more beneficial to share a joke or secret than embark upon a journey of negativity.

Cheering others has a variety of consequences. It diverts attention from whatever difficulties created despondency. It’s contagious. When I walk through the hallways of a school, I always smile at the students (and educators) who cross my path. Today I asked an employee where to find an item in the store, adding that it was easier to ask him than spend the next six weeks of my life looking for what I wanted. Most of the time, others return my smile and I feel as if I have deposited a brand-new moment to their happiness banks.

It’s also cumulative. When I am able to make someone feel better, happier or amused, I equip both of us to proceed with a cheerier attitude. You can be certain that I don’t wander aimlessly through life, looking for those with sour facial expressions. That form of random humor would have little value.

But for those I know, many whom I encounter and all I cherish, my joy is to do whatever fits the moment. From my standpoint, there’s no chance of having too much humor or cheer. If I can put a smile or laugh in your spiritual satchel, I’m delighted to do it. Shalom.

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