Driving down the road recently, I had a flashback to about twenty years ago. We were on a family vacation, driving to see family in my father’s village. I remember Mom and Dad, were looking for ways to keep me and my brother entertained and busy. The two things they kept saying to us throughout was "Smile" and, "Thanks!". Those 2 things are something that have stood in my mind even today. These were the memories I pondered as I drove last weekend, with my son in my car. I wondered if the exercise would build the same kinds of memories for my son as it did for me and my brother. I smiled as I drove and figured that was about that. It taught me something about human nature, sharing and giving, and the power of a smile and a thank you. Have you ever noticed how much better you feel when you are smiling? Scientists can tell us about real changes in our body chemistry when we are smiling, and most of us have heard about the fact that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. All of that is interesting, but not as important as the mental and physical feeling we have when we are smiling. It is very powerful. It is human nature to smile when we are happy or when things are going well, but did you know how easy it is to just smile (it is just a choice)? Also do you know how easy it usually is to make someone else smile? I do this all the time. Walking through an airport or down a hallway where other people are, if you make eye contact and smile, what happens? Invariably people smile back - regardless of how sour they looked before that! You don't have to say anything, just smile. And what happens to you when you do that little test? You keep smiling long after they pass. (And I suspect so do they.) They have benefited from your simple act, but you have benefited at least as much or more. The smile lesson is important, but no more so than the flipside, the thanks! My parents taught me the importance and value of gratitude, most easily expressed with a simple thank you. The story goes that a farmer took some of his corn to the State Fair and won the blue ribbon, for the best corn. A reporter asked him what he was going to do with the prized ears of grain he was holding. He said that he would share the seed with his neighbours. The reporter was visibly surprised and asked, "Why would you want to do that?" The farmer calmly answered that his corn was only as good as his neighbours. "Why sir," said the farmer, "didn't you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbours grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbours grow good corn." So it is with smiling. You are the wind. You can produce smiling faces by spreading your pollen. The cost to you is slight, but the fruits of your pollen will be felt all around. So who are you going to smile to today? (Right now?) Smile! :) Thanks! Don't you feel better? Pass it on!