At three, my mother and I were walking around down town, looking in the stores, and I was getting a chance to try on new clothes. In the midst of this fun activity, we ran into a person who knew my mother but had not yet met me. She looked at me and said, “You are a cute little girl. What’s your name?” To my mother’s surprise, I didn’t respond. In fact when she looked at me, I was displaying a frown on my face.Now giving me the clue as to what to say, my mother interjected, “Patricia, tell the lady your name.” Instead of picking up on the clue, I continued to maintain my frown, and did not utter a word. The unfamiliar lady said, “I know how children can be. Just when you want them to do something, they choose to do the opposite.” My mother was polite with the lady but I could tell by the way she was holding my hand when we walked away that she was not happy with me. As soon as we got home and settled, here’s the conversation that took place.
Mother: “Patricia, what made you frown and not respond to the nice lady that we met in town?” Me: “I don’t know.”
Mother: “Did you forget your name?” Me: “No”
Mother: “So what is your name?” Me: “Patricia Gail Larkins”
Mother: Next time, when anyone asks you your name, I expect you to tell them. So what are you going to say the next time someone asks you your name? Me: Patricia Gail Larkins
Mother: Patricia, when you greet people you want to make them feel happy and welcome. You can do that by smiling. And you have such a beautiful smile. Show me the smile that I like. Me: I put a broad smile on my face.
Mother:That’s the smile I like and want you to use every time you see someone; whether you know them or not. Do you understand? Can I count on you to share your beautiful smile?
I never wanted to disappoint my mother. From that day forward, I smiled at everyone. Fast forward to the 2nd Grade. I was nominated by my class to compete for the school title, “Miss South Street Elementary.” During that period in time, electronic devices didn’t exist; so voting was done by students casting a paper ballot. Our voting took place in the school’s auditorium. Each grade’s nominee sat on the stage with a ballot box in front of them. Students entered by class and cast their votes. Being that I was in the 2nd grade, I was the 2nd person they saw when they entered. As each student came toward me, regardless of their grade, I smiled, said hi, and gave my name. At the end of the voting, and when the votes were counted, I had WON.
I was Miss South Street, a second grader flanked by attendants from the 5th and 7th grades. When I shared the good news with my mother. I also told her that I had remembered to smile at everyone.
Your B.E.S.T. Thoughts
When you smile, how do you feel? How does your smile impact others?
How does smiling impact you “being your B.E.S.T.?”